Men who wear boxer shorts have better sperm, Harvard study suggests

Men who wear boxer shorts have higher sperm concentration than those who wear tighter fitting underwear, according to new research from Harvard University

The findings of the study, conducted in the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggest that certain styles of men’s underwear may inhibit production of sperm.

Lead author of the study, Lidia Minguez-Alcaron, of the Harvard Chan School, said: “These results point to a relatively easy change that men can make when they and their partners are seeking to become pregnant.”

Researchers collected information and semen samples from 656 men who were part of couples that sought treatment at a fertility clinic. The men were aged between 32 and 39 and completed a survey that included questions on the type of underwear they had worn in the previous three months.

Among the study participants, 53 per cent reported usually wearing boxers. Analysis of semen samples showed that these men had 25 per cent higher sperm concentrations and 17 per cent higher total sperm counts when compared with men who did not primarily wear boxers.

Men who wore boxers also had higher percentages of motile sperm, or sperm that are capable of moving through the female reproductive system and fertilising an egg.

The most significant difference in sperm concentration was seen between men who wore boxers and men who wore jockeys and briefs.

In addition, analysis of blood samples collected from 304 of the study participants showed that men who wore boxers had 14 per cent lower levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) compared with men who didn’t wear boxers. FSH is known to play an important role in male fertility and is associated with sperm production.

Jorge Chavarro, senior author of the study and associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, said: “Beyond providing additional evidence that underwear choices may impact fertility, our study provides evidence, for the first time, that a seemingly random lifestyle choice could have profound impacts on hormone production in men at both the level of the testis and the brain.”

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