Sleep Apnea and Infertility in Men

January 24, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

Are you trying to conceive with no success? Infertility is a serious issue that affects approximately 15 percent of couples across the globe. The inability to conceive can be emotionally and mentally exhausting for many people. Unfortunately, infertility can often go unexplained. Infertility can occur in either partner of a couple. In fact, male infertility affects an estimated 20 to 30 percent of all couples.

Though there are many reasons men may be infertile, one long-suspected cause is the quality of sleep a man receives. In fact, some experts believed that the sleep disorder sleep apnea may affect male fertility.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when the airway becomes blocked when the patient is in a reclining position. There are several types of sleep apnea, though the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Sleep apnea can be dangerous, increasing a patient’s risk of depression, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart problems, just to name a few.

Recently, that suspected link between sleep apnea and infertility prompted a new study from the Department of Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center in Taipei, Taiwan. Using data from the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database in Taipei, researchers closely examined the link between male infertility and sleep apnea.

What they found was that sleep apnea indeed did cause some infertility in men. According to the study, men with sleep apnea were not only more likely to have infertility issues, the longer those men left their sleep apnea symptoms untreated, the higher the risk of infertility.

The good news is that with the treatment of sleep apnea, no higher infertility risk was reported.

So, what does that mean for you? If you are struggling to conceive, it may be worth it to look into a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, especially if you snore or your partner notices you stopping and starting breathing when you sleep. Other warning signs may include depression and daytime lethargy.

If you do have sleep apnea, there are treatment options available, including a custom sleep orthotic from Dr. Mingus, which will prop your airway open and allow you to breathe in a reclining position. To learn more about sleep apnea, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Mingus today.