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What’s the Prostate and Does it Impact Fertility?

prostate and male fertility

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The prostate, a small yet significant gland nestled just below the bladder in men, remains a subject of intrigue when it comes to male reproductive health. It serves not only as a part of the urinary system but also as a key player in male fertility. The prostate’s multifaceted roles include producing seminal fluid, which nourishes and protects sperm, as well as aiding in the ejaculation process. In this comprehensive exploration, we dissect the intricate relationship between the prostate and male fertility, addressing commonly asked questions such as the impact of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH) and prostate cancer on fertility. We delve into these aspects of men’s health and provide insights into preserving fertility when faced with prostate health issues.


What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder in men. It plays a crucial role in both reproductive and urinary functions. The primary functions of the prostate include producing seminal fluid, nourishing and protecting sperm, and aiding in the process of ejaculation. This article delves into the intricate relationship between the prostate and male fertility.


The Role of the Prostate in Male Fertility

The prostate’s involvement in male fertility is multi-faceted:

1. Seminal Fluid Production: One of the vital roles of the prostate is to produce seminal fluid, which is a major component of semen. Seminal fluid provides nourishment and protection for sperm as they journey towards the egg. It also enhances sperm mobility, facilitating their ability to reach and fertilize the egg.

2. Sperm Activation: The prostate contributes enzymes and proteins to semen that activate and energize sperm. This activation process is crucial for sperm’s ability to penetrate and fertilize the egg.

3. Ejaculation: The prostate’s muscle contractions help propel semen through the urethra and out of the body during ejaculation. This is a critical step in the reproductive process.


Prostate Health and Its Impact on Fertility

Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – BPH)

An enlarged prostate, often referred to as BPH, is a common condition in older men. It’s caused by the non-cancerous growth of the prostate gland, which can lead to urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, weak urine flow, and difficulty emptying the bladder. While BPH does not directly affect sperm production, it can indirectly impact fertility by causing sexual dysfunction, including erectile difficulties. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for BPH that can help alleviate these symptoms and improve sexual function.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It often grows slowly, and treatment success rates are high, especially when detected early. While prostate cancer treatment can affect fertility, there are options available to preserve fertility before undergoing treatment. Cryopreserving sperm (sperm banking) is a viable method that allows men to store sperm for future use, ensuring the potential for biological fatherhood after treatment.


Preserving Fertility During Prostate Health Issues

Men diagnosed with prostate cancer or facing treatments that may affect fertility should consider fertility preservation options. Sperm banking is the most common method. It involves collecting and freezing sperm samples for future use. Additionally, some medical centers offer experimental techniques like testicular sperm extraction (TESE) for men with severely impaired sperm production.

It’s essential for men facing prostate issues, whether BPH or cancer, to consult with healthcare specialists, including urologists and oncologists. These experts can provide guidance on treatment options, potential effects on fertility, and steps to preserve reproductive capabilities.


Other Commonly Asked Questions

Does an enlarged prostate affect fertility?

Although often linked with difficulty urinating, an enlarged prostate (BPH) may obstruct the flow of semen and therefore affect male fertility. An enlarged prostate (BPH) does not directly affect sperm production, however one study found that of those over 50 suffering with BPH-related lower urinary tract symptoms, half also had an ejaculatory disorder. While prescription medications have demonstrated effectiveness in addressing urination problems or reducing the size of an enlarged prostate, it’s noteworthy that some of these medications can introduce their own set of fertility-related complications. This complexity further complicates the landscape of fertility treatments in this particular context. Seeking guidance from a specialist experienced in managing this situation is the most effective approach to navigate through it.

Can prostate cancer affect fertility?

Yes, prostate cancer and its treatments can impact fertility. For example, hormone therapy and radiotherapy can reduce or prevent sperm production. Sperm count and motility can also be negatively affected by prostate cancer treatments. It’s essential for individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer to explore fertility preservation options, such as sperm banking, before undergoing treatment. This allows the potential for biological fatherhood after treatment.


There’s no doubt the prostate plays a crucial role in male fertility by producing seminal fluid, activating sperm, and aiding in ejaculation. Issues like an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer can have varying impacts on fertility, but there are strategies and treatments available to address these concerns while preserving reproductive capabilities. Consulting with healthcare specialists is key to managing prostate health and its effects on fertility. If you want to check if prostate issues have affected your male fertility, it’s always best to have a sperm test. Now you can do this from home without needing to go into a physical clinic, thanks to portable sperm tests like the ExSeed Health At-Home Sperm Test, which you can learn more about here.

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.