When it comes to fer­til­ity, size does mat­ter

Men who are strug­gling to con­ceive tend to be less well-en­dowed, con­cludes first study of its kind

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Vic­to­ria Fletcher in Den­ver, Colorado

SIZE re­ally does mat­ter when it comes to fer­til­ity as a new study sug­gests men who are in­fer­tile are also less well en­dowed.

Hav­ing a shorter ap­pendage was more com­mon in men who were strug­gling to con­ceive than in those with other gen­i­tal health prob­lems.

The re­search, to be pre­sented at the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Re­pro­duc­tive Medicine con­fer­ence in Colorado this week, is the first to link pe­nile length with fer­til­ity.

It found that on av­er­age, men who were in­fer­tile were around one cen­time­tre shorter than their fer­tile coun­ter­parts. Those with­out re­pro­duc­tive is­sues had an av­er­age length of 13.4cm while those in the in­fer­tile group were 12.5cm. Dr Austen Slade from the Uni- ver­sity of Utah, Salt Lake City, who led the study, said healthy men should not be­gin to fret over their size and their chance of be­com­ing a fa­ther.

He said un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions that caused in­fer­til­ity, such as hor­monal is­sues or prob­lems in the testes, may also lead to a shorter pe­nile length.

“This is the first study to iden­tify an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween shorter pe­nile length and male in­fer­til­ity,” he said.

“It’s pos­si­bly a man­i­fes­ta­tion of con­gen­i­tal or ge­netic fac­tors that pre­dis­pose one to in­fer­til­ity. For now, men with shorter penises don’t need to worry about their fer­til­ity.” The study looked at data on 815 men vis­it­ing a health clinic be­tween 2014 and 2017. There were 219 men seek­ing help for in­fer­til­ity and 596 seek­ing help for other con­di­tions such as erec­tile dys­func­tion and tes­tic­u­lar pain.

The men were all mea­sured us­ing a stan­dard test called “Stretched Pe­nile Length” that es­ti­mates length when erect.

When they took into ac­count weight, race and age, those be­ing treated for in­fer­til­ity were just un­der one cen­time­tre shorter than those who were fer­tile. “One cen­time­tre may not be a strik­ing dif­fer­ence but there was a clear sta­tis­ti­cal sig­nif­i­cance. It re­mains to be de­ter­mined if there are dif­fer­ent pe­nile length cut-offs that would pre­dict more se­vere in­fer­til­ity,” Dr Slade added.

Pre­vi­ous re­search has shown that phys­i­cal prob­lems with male gen­i­tals can af­fect fer­til­ity.

Men with a con­di­tion called cryp­torchidism – where the testes do not de­scend prop­erly – have poorer sperm pro­duc­tion. This is be­cause the testes are lo­cated too close to the body, al­low­ing the sperm to be­come too hot. Men with small testes have also been found to pro­duce less sperm.

Pro­fes­sor Sheena Lewis, an ex­pert in re­pro­duc­tion from Queen’s Univer­sity, Belfast, said the study raised more ques­tions than it an­swered.

“Doc­tors would not want to mea­sure this in clinic, so as a study the find­ings are not re­ally clin­i­cally us­able.

“This is a very novel idea, but the study does not tell us what a nor­mal pe­nis length is.

“It does not say if the shorter pe­nis found in the study is ab­nor­mal. More re­search is needed.”

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