MEN are unaware that getting older, drinking too much and being obese can reduce their fertility, according to a new poll.

The research revealed that four out of 10 men in Scotland believe they have fertility problems but the subject is such a taboo many refuse to speak about it with their partners or GP.

In approximately 40 per cent of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility but many do not know the causes.

When discussing the impact of lifestyle, results showed that over 40 per cent of Scots men surveyed were not aware of the negative impact that smoking or being overweight can have on their fertility.

Half of the Scots questioned were not aware of the impact that sexually-transmitted infections can have on their fertility.

The survey, which questioned 2000 men from across the UK, found that, although 40 per cent of Scots who participated have considered that they may have a fertility issue, it remains a sensitive topic as nearly 40 per cent said they would not discuss their concerns with their GP.

The research also found more than half, 52 per cent, said they would not discuss their concerns with a partner.

The joint survey by Infertility Network UK and Nuffield Health in Glasgow is designed to raise awareness of the fact that fertility issues affect both men and women and encourage men to speak out about their issues or concerns.

Susan Seenan, chief executive of the leading patient fertility charity Infertility Network UK, said: “Men are half of the fertility equation; they experience the pain and grief of struggling to become parents too.

"However, the male perspective can be overlooked."

Helen Lyall, fertility expert and consultant at Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital infertility clinic, added: “From personal experience, it is clear that men may be embarrassed to talk about fertility problems and it’s generally women who make the first step towards addressing fertility concerns.

"However, with one in six couples facing fertility issues, it is important to reassure men that this is not a taboo subject and to take away the stigma around discussing fertility."