Want to be a dad? Wear boxers, not skin-tight briefs

Kenny Tucker
August 12, 2018

"These results point to a relatively easy change that men can make", Lidia Minguez-Alarcon, lead author of the study said in the press release.

The study was conducted at the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, a team of researchers from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology has analysed the link between what type of underwear a man wears and his semen quality.

Studies on the impact of underwear styles on sperm production have been inconsistent, though research has shown elevated scrotal temperatures can adversely affect testicular function, the Chan School said in a statement.

Men should go commando - or at least wear boxers - before they start a family as wearing tighter trousers really does damage a man's fertility, a new study found.

Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. The generous lads supplied researchers with a semen sample and a blood sample on the same day, as well as answering a questionnaire about the types of undies they had worn in the previous months.

While the age-old locker-room debate among men - boxers vs. briefs - is more aesthetic than medical, the question has always been raised: do tight-fitting shorts overheat the family jewels?

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As it turns out, those who wear boxer shorts were found to have higher sperm concentrations that those who opt for tighter-fitting underwear.

"The study provides reasonably strong supporting evidence that wearing tighter underwear might cause mild, but significant, impaired sperm production in men", noted Richard Sharpe, an honorary professor from the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Reproductive Health who was not involved in the research. Higher levels in men who didn't wear boxers could be evidence of the body trying to compensate for the challenge to sperm production wrought by tight underwear, Chavarro said. "We set out to take a deep, broad look and the effect of self-reported underwear choice on sperm".

Other lifestyle activities of these men were also seen. "I think we still have a lot to learn about men's contribution to fertility".

The findings suggest that the lowered sperm concentrations and total sperm count associated with tighter underwear triggers physiological mechanisms that lead to an increase in the FSH levels.

Other factors that might affect scrotal heat - such as the type of pants worn and underwear fabric - could also affect the results.

However, the study does not explore whether the occupation of the men and the length of time that they spend seated were also important, he said.

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