A research that was conducted by French scientists found out that men who had worked on a nuclear submarine were almost 3 times more likely to be infertile than men who had not, and the infertility factors was in correlation with decreased sperm production. There are other studies available that suggest that radiation exposure not only affects testicular function and spermatogenesis. There is another study available that was conducted on Gulf war veterans. Men who participated in the 1990-1991 Gulf war were more than 40% more likely to be infertile comparing to servicemen who were not deployed to the Gulf region. Additionally, Gulf war veterans had almost 20% higher chance of needing more than one year of trying to conceive a baby.
The authors of this study believe that fertility related problems in Gulf war veterans was caused by impaired spermatogenesis, caused by toxic exposure during the war. And last, as many of you already know an exposure to radiation during radiotherapy for cancer treatment is also a known risk factor that can cause testicular related problems in men. At this point it is essential to bring out that impairment of sperm production is dose dependent which means that the higher the dose or longer the direction of radiotherapy, the more likely sperm production is to be impaired. Recovery is of course possible, but the recovery of testicular function following radiotherapy typically takes more than five years.