To make fertilisation happen, a man must be able to have and keep an erection, have enough sperm that are the right shape and move in the right way, and have enough semen to carry the sperm to the egg, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health (OWH). A problem in any step in this process can prevent pregnancy.
How can you improve sperm quality?
It takes 74 days to make a completely new batch of sperm cells. It is during this stage prior to conception that they are most vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies and toxicity. Studies have shown that damage to sperm DNA may increase the risk of miscarriage or even cause infertility.
Take a preconception multivitamin
A severe deficiency of vitamins A, D, E and zinc has been linked with decreased male fertility. Certain nutrients improve sperm quality. Vitamin A, C, E, D, folate and B12, co-enzyme Q10, selenium, zinc and alpha lipoic acid. We recommend you take a high-quality multivitamin in conjunction with a healthy diet. Just ensure the multivitamin does not contain copper. Copper antagonises zinc and you need the zinc for optimal health benefits. NaturoBest has a preconception multi for men which contain everything you need and none of the fillers you don’t.
Follow a preconception care plan for 4 months
This is essential to ensure a healthy conception and influences the health of the pregnancy. You can learn more here.
* Studies have shown that exercise can have a positive effect on male fertility. There are a number of studies showing that a training program of 14 to 24 weeks may improve semen quality and your chances of pregnancy. Positive effects were seen in mainly inactive males, starting a program with exercise 3 times a week for around 45 minutes. Both aerobic and resistance exercise were shown to have a positive effect on semen quality and reproductive hormones. The studies also showed some decrease in oxidative stress. Importantly, doing exercise increased the chances of the males becoming pregnant with their partner.
Many experts recommend he wears loose underwear to avoid restricting and overheating the testes.
Test thyroid function
If you have hypothyroidism, the longer it is left untreated, the more damage can be done to the testes. For many years the testis was thought to be a thyroid-hormone unresponsive organ. However, studies have demonstrated that thyroid dysfunction is associated with abnormalities in sperm morphology, function of testes, decreased fertility and alterations of sexual activity in men.
The quality of sleep you have can affect your fertility. According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), lack of sleep – which more than one third of Americans experience – can affect the hormones related to fertility. The part of the brain that regulates “sleep-wake hormones” in both sexes is also responsible for triggering the daily release of hormones that affect ovulation in women and sperm maturation in men.
Effectively managing chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, may improve a man’s chances of getting his partner pregnant.
Lose excess weight
Studies have suggested that couples in which the man is overweight or obese take longer to conceive than couples with no weight problems. Research has also indicated that being overweight or obese affects a man’s sperm quality, reducing sperm counts and decreasing their ability to swim, as well as increasing damage to genetic material (DNA) in sperm, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. A 2012 study found that overweight and obese men were more likely to have low sperm counts or a lack of viable sperm compared with normal-weight men, possibly making it harder for these men to father a child. The researchers suspected that too much body fat was linked with changes in testosterone and other reproductive hormones in men.
Eating a healthy and well-planned diet to support fertility and increase your chances of falling pregnant, is so crucial in maximising the possibility of conception. Nutrition plays a huge part in balancing hormones and improving fertility. Nutrients help to produce hormones and support the health of sperm and eggs. Increase the amount of organic fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Pumpkin seeds and kale can help to boost zinc and folate. Simply add these to a daily smoothie or a stir fry to boost these nutrients in your diet.
Avoid spas and saunas, using laptops on your lap and mobile phones in pockets.
Switch to organic food to reduce your intake of pesticides which contain xenoestrogens (foreign oestrogens). This can affect hormone balance and fertility.
This article does not replace medical advice. *Consult your doctor if you haven’t exercised for a long time or have chronic health problems.