Top 10 ways your man can boost his fertility
Infertility is most commonly associated with women, but around one third of infertility cases are down to a problem with the man, with another third being down to a problem with both partners.
Recent studies have suggested that male fertility problems are on the rise. A major French study published a year ago found that average sperm counts fell by one-third between 1989 and 2005.
The researchers at the Institut de Veille Sanitaire in St Maurice tested samples from 26,000 men.
At the beginning of the study, the average sperm count for a 35-year-old man was 73.6 million sperm per millilitre; by 2005, it had dropped to 49.4 million per ml. Anything below 20 million per ml is considered low.
Luckily, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can persuade your man to make today to help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Here Valentine Akande, fertility expert at Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol, shares his advice:
Stop smoking. “This is always a good idea, but it really is crucial if you are struggling to conceive, or if your partner has a low sperm count or issues with the mobility or morphology of his sperm. Smoking contains hundreds of chemicals which can prevent fertilisation of the egg and therefore reduce the chances of conception. Whether he does it cold turkey or uses nicotine replacement therapy, it’s time to pack in the fags.”
Cut back on booze. “The link between alcohol and male infertility is clear. If your partner wants his swimmers to be in tip top shape, he must cut right down on alcohol. It affects sperm production and lower testosterone levels which impacts fertility”.
Keep cool. “The testicles are on the outside of the male body for a reason- to keep them cool. Overheating from hot baths or tight pants can reduce sperm function. Your man should opt for showers and loose fitting boxer shorts instead.”
Exercise in moderation. “You might think that the more physically fit your partner is the better, but that is not always the case. Overdoing it in the gym or doing any kind of exercise to excess can actually impair your fertility, rather than help it. That’s because too much exercise can affect sperm production. It’s still important to exercise, just keep it in moderation.”
Avoid long distance cycling. “Riding a bicycle for long distances or competitively can have significant detrimental effects on sperm function particularly with tight underwear. As such this should be avoided if you are experiencing difficulties conceiving.”
Lose weight. “Carrying excess pounds not only affects how you look and feel, but can also impact your fertility. Obesity creates an excess of oestrogen (the female sex hormone) and a lowering of testosterone, which reduces sperm count. Being overweight can also reduce your man’s libido which has obvious implications on trying to conceive.”
Get your vitamins. “A healthy diet plays a key part in optimising your fertility. Zinc is particularly important as it ‘activates’ sperm and helps them swim towards the egg. To ensure you get a good range of essential fertility vitamins, eat lots of leafy greens and a range of nuts and seeds. If there are deficiencies in your partner’s diet, additional antioxidants and vitamins such as vit C, folic acid and selenium can be beneficial for sperm function.”
Cut back on caffeine. “Small amounts of caffeine do not appear to adversely affect fertility, but if you partner drinks cups of coffee all day long then cutting back is definitely worth considering. He should stick to no more than two or three cups of coffee a day.”
Talk to your GP. “If getting pregnant takes you more than a year (or more than six months if your partner is over 35) then it is worth a visit to your GP to arrange some basic fertility testing. This is less invasive for the man and will usually involve simple blood tests and a sperm analysis. It might sound daunting but the sooner you know if anything is wrong, the sooner you can take steps to help.”
Know your partner’s fertile window. “You have a period of up to five or six days before the day of ovulation when you are able to conceive. Timing sex within these days is absolutely crucial in order to conceive. If you are unsure when you ovulate, ovulation predictor kits (which can be bought over the counter) can help.”
by Taryn Davies for www.femalefirst.co.uk