In our house, everyone helps out with chores. For the most part, I do the cooking and my wife does the clean-up because that’s where our strengths lie, but we aren’t locked into those roles. But the idea of “women’s work” is not new — there is a reason there is so much humor based on the idea of men not cleaning up after themselves or trying to get them to help out. In our culture, housework is not seen as masculine. Well, if you’ve had a hard time getting your partner to help out around the house, things just got a whole lot worse.
Fertility expert Dr. De-Kun Li, of Stanford University, has found that some types of housework can reduce the quality of a man’s sperm. Dr. Li says his “is the first study to show a link between measured electromagnetic fields and poor semen quality in humans, which may provide a logical explanation for why we have seen reductions in sperm quality in men over the past century.”
Dr. Allan Pacey, a fertility researcher at Sheffield University in the UK and a member of the British Fertility Society, agrees. “I believe there might be something in it,” he said. “If these results are repeated in a bigger study, we need to start thinking seriously about promoting advice about avoiding exposure.” I can imagine that would be perhaps the most successful ad campaign of all time: “Men — Save your sperm! Stay away from housework!”
Now, admittedly, the study was small and focused on the effects of electromagnetic fields — meaning taking out the trash is still okay — but if you’re trying to get pregnant it might be worth switching off the vacuum cleaner and handing him a broom instead. Or better still, hire a cleaning service while you work on the baby thing.