The pressures of starting a family can be notoriously tough on couples.
And a new study has suggested the stress and strain of trying for a baby could even be leading to impotency amongst men.
Four out of 10 men suffered from some kind of erectile dysfunction after six months of ‘timed intercourse’ during which couples try to conceive, according to the findings.
Perhaps more shockingly, researchers also found that the pressures of performing were leading to 10 per cent of men having affairs.
Scientists said the potentially damaging effects to a relationship of timing attempts to conceive during a woman’s menstrual cycle had not been properly explored.
The study, which appeared in the Journal of Andrology, urged doctors to warn couples about the downsides to the technique:
‘Doctors should acknowledge the potential harmful effects of timed intercourse on men.
‘Both men and women should also be cautioned about the increased possibilities of erectile dysfunction and extra-marital sex.
‘Stress incurred by the thought of obligatory coitus, or compulsory sexual behaviour, causes sexual dysfunction in men facing timed intercourse.
‘It imposes a great deal of stress on men.’
None of the 400 men who took part in the study monitoring sexual behaviour and performance over six months had any previous history of erectile dysfunction.
The report recommended that couples hoping to start a family should try the technique of ‘timed intercourse’ for a maximum period of three months before taking a rest.
Dr Simon Fishel, managing director of Care Fertility, said the study was ‘important’.
Dr Fishel further said: ‘This highlights further the social and psychological impact of infertility and its treatment.
‘Stress affects both partners, and the way they deal with this can affect their relationship and further impact their physiological difficulties.’
The difficulties of trying for a baby are well known, and couples resort to many different techniques to increase their chances.
A study from earlier this year suggested that drinking two cups of tea a day may help boost a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.
It found women were 27 per cent more likely to become pregnant if they regularly drank tea compared with those who did not.
The findings contrasted with the chances of those drinking fizzy drinks twice a day whilst trying to conceive, who reduced their chances by 20 per cent.
The author of the previous study, Professor Elizabeth Hatch, said:
‘We found that women who drank tea two or three times a day did have a 27 per cent increased chance of becoming pregnant.
‘We don’t know how they took the tea or if they added milk or lemon, but they had this increased chance of getting pregnant over women who did not drink tea at all.’
by Susan Floyd