How to Optimize Male Fertility While Trying to Conceive
Infertility is just as common in men as it is in women, yet many men may not be aware that their fertility, like women’s, declines with age. Pervasive myths and misconceptions, such as the idea that male fertility is linked to masculinity, haven’t helped.
Not only do men need to understand that their fertility is just as subject to decline as is women’s, but they should also know that they can make several lifestyle changes to optimize their fertility.
Optimal male fertility means a high sperm count, but it also means good-quality sperm. Sperm that is abnormally shaped or low in motility (which refers to the ability to “swim” toward an egg) are less likely to lead to conception.
Below are some key tips to increase both the quality and quantity of your sperm.
Staying Healthy to Optimize Male Fertility
One of the most important things you can do to optimize fertility is to stay healthy.
Watch your weight — Being overweight, as well as being underweight, can make it harder to conceive. You should visit your doctor to determine your ideal weight for fertility. Exercise often to lower your body mass index (BMI).
Eat well — A healthy diet, high in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, can increase your sperm count and motility. Folic acid, found in leafy greens and many vitamins, may lower sperm abnormalities.
Reduce stress — It’s important to get plenty of exercise, get enough sleep, and reduce stressors in your life in order to optimize male fertility.
What Men Should Avoid When Trying to Conceive
Just as there are foods you should eat and vitamins you should take, there are several things to avoid in order to optimize male fertility.
Drugs — In addition to hard drugs, tobacco, caffeine, and too much alcohol all can reduce testosterone production, sperm count, and sperm motility.
Heat — Studies are inconclusive as to whether wearing boxers instead of briefs makes a significant difference in sperm counts, but it’s widely accepted that overheating male genitals is cause for concern. Don’t spend too long (more than 15 minutes at a time) in a hot tub, and avoid keeping your laptop on your lap.
Health conditions — Some types of cancer, cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, and sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can significantly decrease your ability to conceive. Check with your doctor to determine whether your medications or medical history may affect your sperm count.
Toxins — Pesticides, lead, and other toxins should be avoided, as they can reduce your sperm count and motility. If you have to be exposed to these toxins, use the proper safety equipment. Household items like paint, perfume, canned goods with BPA (bisphenol A), and soaps with parabens can contain toxins that negatively affect your hormones. Even some sexual lubricants should be avoided.
Talk to Your Doctor About Male Fertility
You can always ask your doctor about what changes you can make to increase your likelihood of conceiving.
The team at Male Fertility & Sexual (MFS) Medicine Specialists has worked with couples and individuals dealing with infertility and sexual dysfunction around the world for more than 25 years.
Get in touch with MFS to talk about your male fertility concerns today.