Have a closer look at your pants…are they doing more harm than good?

Have you heard the joke about men avoiding tight pants if they want to be fathers? Well, it’s not just an old wives’ tale – there’s some truth about choosing the right pants to help with fertility. So, if you are finding yourself with a lot of free time whilst you are in lockdown, why not have a clear out of your underwear drawer and get rid of anything on the tight side. 

Although the studies that have been done have not been huge, they have concluded that wearing tight-fitting underwear does increase the temperature of the testicles enough to significantly reduce motility and sperm count and. That, combined with the fact that many fertility clinics suggest that men who are trying to conceive should wear boxer shorts, is enough for us to sit up and listen.

Because sperm are constantly being made and growing on around a six-week cycle, they are much more susceptible to little environmental changes than the egg. 

The plus side of this is that a man’s fertility can quickly benefit from a few simple changes. And one of those changes, believe it or not, really is your choice of pants.

Health and fitness, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, stress and environmental issues like pesticides and chemicals in the water supply, can all affect the production of sperm. Bigger issues like genetics are also in play of course, but many factors can affect a man’s fertility. Any one little factor could be the tipping point from viable sperm to infertility.

Sperm benefit from a steady body temperature, in fact the optimum temperature for sperm production is a couple of degrees cooler than the body’s temperature of 37 degrees. Wearing tight pants raises the testicles closer to the body, which in turn raises the temperature and makes for less than optimal conditions. This warm environment can lead to less active sperm, known as poor sperm motility, and eventually the production of fewer and abnormally shaped sperm.

Our favourite quote comes from Dr Gillian Lockwood who explains that the modern penchant for close-fitting undergarments went against thousands of years of human practice:

“If you imagine during the evolutionary time, our chaps would have been strolling across the Savannah with a bit of bearskin tied around their middles, otherwise going commando. Then you put them in a hot bath, or in tight Lycra when they go cycling – it’s not very good for their sperm.”

There’s another factor in male fertility that the right pants can protect men from. There are now lots of studies that show how mobile phone radiation can cause infertility in men.

This radiation can damage cells and DNA, including the vulnerable developing sperm. Research has shown how mobile phone radiation affects sperm motility and viability, as well as testosterone levels. It can kill or damage sperm so they are no longer able to do their job. On a large enough scale, and combined with other factors, it can lead to infertility.

To combat mobile phone radiation you can actually get underwear with special protective fabric to shield against radiation from phones as well as Wi-Fi , like the SYB Shielded Boxers   The innovative design utilises an incredibly high level of pure silver that deflects the radiation. Richard Branson has described these kinds of innovative pants as “superhero pants”!

It’s a fact that if you overheat your testicles, you could be damaging sperm production, so it wouldn’t hurt to switch to loose-fitting boxer shorts. When you are trying to conceive, it feels good to know that you are doing everything you can to enhance your chances of success. 



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