November, it’s the time of year when men across the globe ditch their razors to support the main cause sponsored by the Movember Foundation. It is an annual charity event that takes place across the month of November, where men grow a mustache to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.

Men’s Health Awareness Month is an incredibly important time for people to learn more about how men can prevent, recognize and treat a range of different health challenges, from prostate cancer through to mental and reproductive health issues.

Reproductive health checks are hugely important. In forty percent of couples who experience infertility, possible direct causes for male infertility include: Damage to the testicles because of disease or trauma, ejaculation problems, low levels of testosterone, a sperm blockage, low sperm count, and decreased sperm mobility.

The most important test for male fertility is a semen analysis, the results of a man’s semen analysis can be related to their medical history, physical exam, etc. Allowing your doctor to analyze and suggest treatment options will help boost your chances of conceiving.

A semen analysis measures factors of sperm health: Number of sperm, shape of the sperm, sperm motility, fructose level, semen PH level, color and viscosity, sperm Vitality, and white blood cell infiltration.

Movember advocates for prostate and testicular cancer treatment, fertility becomes a huge issue. Following most forms of prostate cancer treatment, patient fertility is compromised. Patients who undergo surgery or radiation are at an increased risk. During this surgery, the prostate is removed as well as the seminal vesicles, which carry semen out through the penis. When these tubes are removed, ejaculation is no longer possible, so the sperm has no way of reaching the woman’s egg. Other treatments, such as hormone therapy, display less fertility risk but might be less effective in treating cancer.

Infertility can also be indicative of more serious health conditions in men, including an increased risk of developing testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes later in life. In other words, guys with poor sperm health should be evaluated for other health issues as well.

If you’ve been trying to have a baby for a while, fertility experts recommend that even guys with a “normal” score meet with a specialist to explore further.

With so many potential causes of infertility, the important first step is undoubtedly gaining a comprehensive understanding of your overall health, to make sure your body is in optimum working condition. The complex issue of fertility is a case of the more you know, the better – whether you want to try for a baby, or simply be aware of your current fertility levels to start planning for the future.