24 Jun How to Increase Male Fertility
Male Fertility and Sperm Quality
What you need to know
In 30% of infertile couples infertility is the result of the male factor alone, and in 20% it is a combination of male and female factors. In fact, approximately 40% of all couples undergoing IVF are doing so because of male fertility issues.
Many men, although not infertile, may be subfertile due to factors that can affect sperm quantity and quality:
- Environmental and occupational factors: Air, water and food pollution, toxic chemicals ( such as fertilisers and pesticides), heavy metals, excessive heat, WI-FI, and electromagnetic exposure and radiation.
- Lifestyle factors: smoking, alcohol, caffeine, recreational drugs, prescription medication ( blood pressure medication, steroids, antidepressants, anti psychotics, antidepressants, gout medication), poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, saunas/spas
- Age: associated with modest decreases in sperm quality
- Emotional stress
- Disease and ill health e.g, genitourinary and systemic infections
- Overweight and obesity
There is an up to 50% higher rate of sub fertility with overweight men compared to ideal weight men.
These factors above can contribute to infertility, miscarriage, and ill health of the child. Sperm are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, this can be caused by environmental toxins, drugs, smoking, heat, radiation, and electromagnetic radiation. When this stress exceeds the antioxidant capacity of seminal plasma, oxidative stress amnd damage will be the result, effecting sperm quality.
The creation of sperm is temperature dependant- increased scrotal temperature can impair fertility- e.g. chefs, bakers, long distance drivers, athletes, pilots. After exercise ensure you have a cool shower and change out of tight exercise pants.
The process of creating sperm takes about 72-117 days
How to improve your fertility and sperm quality
- Drink plenty of water each day, filtered is best. Aim for 30ml to 1kg of body weight
- Increase whole plant foods (high in antioxidants) such as legumes, beans, seeds and grains, 8-12 serves of vegetables per day and at least 3 serves of fruit
- Minimise processed and refined foods
- Maximise dietary sources of good fats (fish such as sardines, trout, salmon, anchovies, walnuts, flaxseed meal, and coconut oil)
- Aim for adequate protein intake, 0.8-1.2g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. Eat protein with each meal
- Give up smoking and alcohol entirely until stable pregnancy has been achieved– not much to ask for when your partner is carrying the baby! Alcohol is associated with reduced sperm concentration, motility, morphology and semen volume. Cigarette smoking decreases sperm count, motility and number of normally shaped sperm
- Eliminate recreational drugs
- Be a healthy weight– start a healthy weight loss programme if necessary
- Exercise– aim for at least 2-4 hours per week of cardio exercise. Avoid excessive exercise as it reduces sperm quality, such as high intensity cycling
- Minimise caffeinated beverages– Limit coffee to one cup or less per day. Avoid energy drinks as these have high amounts of caffeine, sugar and artificial additives.
- Reduce electromagnetic and WIFI exposure– Use of laptop computers connected to the internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation, therefore keep laptops, ipads away from scrotums and mobile phones out of pockets.
- Stress management– use meditation, yoga, mindful breathing and exercise
There are a number of nutritional and herbal medicines which have been shown to improve sperm quality. For more information please give us a call at NatMed and speak to one of our naturopaths.