Most men never want to think about their mothers when it comes to matters of the bedroom. But if they encounter problems with sperm production and infertility, they just might have to.
A study conducted in Scotland has found that a male's sperm production could be more affected by his mother's lifestyle choices when he was in the womb than by his own.
Richard Sharpe, a fertility researcher at the Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh, conducted a review of previous studies that looked at factors that had adverse effects on testis development in in the womb and sperm production in adults.
''There is growing evidence that prenatal exposures of males - which are reflective of maternal lifestyle and exposures - can have a major impact on capacity to produce sperm in adulthood,'' he said.
Professor Sharpe found that smoking during pregnancy was one factor that appeared to affect sperm production. Several large studies had found a reduced sperm count - by up to 40 per cent - in some men whose mother's had smoked heavily during pregnancy.
There was also evidence to suggest obesity and a sedentary lifestyle have a negative affect on sperm production, Professor Sharpe said.