There is a common misconception that the fertility journey is very much about the female. Making sure she ovulates, her hormones are all balanced, lining the right thickness, all before menopause comes along.
However, this is just not true. Males are equally as important when it comes to fertility. One study showed that of all infertility cases, approximately 40–50% is due to “male factor” infertility.
Artwork by Elena O'neil
That means you dear husband/partner/bf, are very important. After all you are 50% of the picture. So how you live your life significantly impacts your sperm.
There has been a documented decline in sperm quality over the past decades. With studies showing a whopping 50-60% decrease in sperm count between 1973- 2011, it's a sobering trend that continues.
So what can you do to make sure your sperm are nice and strong?
Let's start with basics ...
1. Stop smoking
Come on lads it's not the 70s, smoking is not cool. There are much better ways to de-stress without negatively impacting your sperm volume, count and motility.
2. Decrease alcohol intake
Studies have found that the daily consumption of alcohol led to lower sperm volume and decreased morphology.
3. Have a semen analysis
IMO, this is crucial in the initial stages of your fertility journey. If you haven't had one in more than 3 months, odds are your results are going to be different to what's actually going on now. Incidentally, just because your GP says your results are "fine" it may not be the case! Scoring 50% on a test and passing is very different from scoring 98%. It may also be helpful to check your Vitamin D levels and thyroid function as they impact reproductive function.
4. Ditch the tight trousers, lycra and ill-fitting underwear
It's a well-known fact that generating too much heat around the crotch will fry your sperm. So keep it cool and ventilated with well-fitting underwear. Avoid spending long periods in your work/exercise gear is tight-fitting. Sleeping naked is a great habit to get into with many benefits like improved male fertility, better sleep quality, and oxytocin release (when you have skin to skin contact with your partner).
5. Avoid putting your phone in your pocket
A systematic review of 1492 samples and found a decrease in sperm motility and viability when exposed to mobile phones. Alternative places to store your mobile device include in a bag, your partner's bag, a tesco bag, a treasure chest, you get it just not near your prized jewels.
6. Eat well
A diet high in selenium, zinc, omega 3, and coenzyme 10 (coq10) has been found to positively affect sperm quality. Whereas a diet high in processed meat, soy foods, potatoes, full-fat dairy and total dairy products, cheese, coffee, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages were found to be detrimental to sperm quality. Include more of these foods in your diet: Nuts (especially brazil nuts), oysters, crab, fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines) and legumes.
So I've covered the basics, but I often give individualised advice based on Chinese Medicine diagnosis. I've seen how acupuncture and herbal medicine can drastically improve semen quality within a few months. So shoot me a message to see if I can help you!
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