MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Experts are weighing in on a study claiming sunscreen and products that protect you from damaging UV rays could affect male fertility when you're trying to conceive.
Fertility doctors say it's an interesting idea, but don't toss out all your UV blockers like sun screen and lotion just yet.
"We do know that lots of chemicals and environmental exposures have been known to decrease fertility in the past," says Heather Cook, a fertility doctor for Coastal Fertility Specialists.
This study suggests some of the chemicals in products that help protect skin and hair from sun damage affect body's hormones. And the results showed men who used sunscreen had a much lower ability to reproduce, which means it could take longer for a couple to get pregnant.
"I think the idea that there are certain chemicals and products that we use on a daily basis may affect fertility is a good one," Cook says. "I think there is a lack of evidence, you know, really to say which things are definitely going to cause impacts in fertility."
Cook says this study is the first she's heard of about the effects of UV-blockers on fertility. "I think what the study shows is a correlation. But I do think further research is needed to see if it's actually causative."
For that reason, don't swear off sunscreen. "Clearly the risks of skin cancer which have been studied much more and Correlate with mortality is a bigger risk factor than the potential correlation with fertility. So I think really weighing the risks and benefits, if you're going to be out in the sun for a long period of time, it's probably beneficial to use sunscreen."
As for couples trying to conceive, Cook says, "The real point here is to try and maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle. Things that are very important are maintaining a normal body weight, being healthy, getting antioxidants, eating fruits and vegetables."
Do cut out things that you know have an impact on fertility- smoking, tobacco, alcohol and also try to cut down on caffeine use.