Men’s fertility - What you need to know

Published: 22/09/2022

How to increase male fertility, what lifestyle, supplements and vitamins make the perfect blend to boost male fertility.

What can you do as a man to improve your fertility and stay healthy?

In this article, we'll share what men can do to improve their level of fertility through lifestyle changes, outline particular supplements they might take, and highlight the indicators that affect male fertility, improving sperm count, sperm health, and sperm production.

Did you know sperm regenerates approximately every three months, and various factors can affect male infertility and healthy sperm?

These include: 

  • Smoking – Smoking exposes sperm to oxidative stress, which can impair the function of sperm and cause DNA damage.  

  • Increased alcohol intake – Alcohol can interfere with the production of hormones and testosterone, leading to decreased sperm production and male infertility. It can also play a part in erectile dysfunction, as can most items on this list. Lowering alcohol intake can affect fertility, encouraging healthy sperm production and sperm motility.

  • Using recreational drugs – Recreational drugs such as cannabis, steroids, and opiates act on the hormones that produce sperm and can lead to a zero or low sperm count.

  • Obesity – A healthy weight can help achieve better sperm production. Being overweight, with a high body mass index, can affect sperm quantity and quality and has been linked to impaired sperm production. Losing weight using healthy eating practices and exercise can lower stress and improve libido.

  • Stress – Stress can cause suppression of the male sex hormone testosterone, which affects the production of sperm. Stress – caused by various lifestyle factors – also impacts male sexual function. Discussing the root of the problem with the female partner or a mental health care professional can help to alleviate the typical symptoms.

  • Diet – A healthy diet plays an important role in maintaining good health and an appropriate weight, conducive to producing healthy sperm and sperm count. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help maintain semen quality. Diets containing high levels of processed and red meats, alcohol, saturated fatty acids and trans fats have been linked to low-quality sperm. Eating vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and fish is linked with healthy sperm production and sperm motility (swimming ability).

  • Age – As men grow older testicular function and metabolism deteriorate, causing sperm that is produced to be abnormal. 

Improving sperm quality

What can you do to improve the quality of your sperm and hopefully improve your chances of conceiving naturally?

A few suggestions include the following: 

  • Lose weight (be within the ideal BMI for your age)

  • Stop smoking 

  • Reduce alcohol intake

  • Avoid recreational drugs 

  • Manage stress levels 

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet 

On a side note, genital heat stress is a lifestyle factor that can affect the production and quality of sperm. The steps below can help keep your testicles cool and improve sperm quality. 

  • Avoid excessive cycling 

  • Avoid tight underwear 

  • Avoid working with a laptop on your lap

Suggested supplements to improve male fertility 

Several supplementary vitamins are recommended for men to take to help with the oxidative stress that can affect sperm quality and regulate normal hormonal function. These include vitamins C, D, B12, E, Selenium, Zinc, and Folic Acid. 

Always do the research for yourself, and if you're unsure, seek the medical advice of your doctor. However, taking a general men's conception supplement such as Pregnacare, Impryl, or Proxeed won't do any harm – all of which can be found on the shelves in your local pharmacy.

What do urologists and fertility specialists look for in a semen analysis?

If you're trying for a baby and are struggling to get pregnant naturally, you may be worried about whether your sperm function is optimal, contributing to fertility problems; the first step is to have a semen analysis done. Depending on the outcome of your semen test, your doctor might refer you to a urologist or fertility specialist.

Usually, the clinician is checking: 

  • Sperm concentration – number of sperm per millimetre

  • Sperm motility – the ability of sperm to swim towards the egg 

  • Sperm morphology – size and shape of the sperm

  • Semen volume – the amount of semen in the sample

If you have had surgery on your testicles or cancer as an adult or child, it is recommended to do a semen analysis sooner rather than later. 

If you are interested in reading further articles on this topic, please look at Fertility 101 - Lifestyle Factors to Boost Fertility

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