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June is Men’s Health Month, so I wanted to be sure to post an article about male fertility and ways to increase sperm quantity and quantity!
The “To Make a Mommy” fertility plan is primarily focused on preparing the mother physically and spiritually to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. But, as we all know, it takes two to tango! The “male fertility factor” is often ignored unless a problem is detected by a doctor. BUT, even if a problem isn’t detected today, you could still be shooting “blanks,” if you don’t follow some basic guidelines. That is why it is so important for men who have perfect lab results to still follow these tips. These guidelines can help improve sperm quantity and quality for those with an identified problem as well!
- Never drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day, and ideally no more than 1-2. Sperm are made on a 74 day cycle and alcohol is linked with lowered sperm production and sperm abnormalities! This means if you go on a bender tonight, you could be shooting irregular little boys two and a half months from now. It will be harder for a healthy sperm to meet the egg, and if they do, it runs the risk of an early chemical pregnancy or a “blighted ovum” if the sperm isn’t of good enough quality. Recent research shows that just five alcoholic drinks a week could lower sperm quality.
- Don’t go in hot tubs or sit in hot baths. You don’t want to boil your little soldiers. Research shows that heat decreases sperm counts. The good news is, that this only affects your sperm for 3 months or so, so your hot tub past is not going to hurt your fertile future.
- Eat a nutritious, organic diet, packed with lots of nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts are the best, but all nuts and seeds are helpful. Ensure you are consuming lots of leafy greens to get enough folate in your diet. Don’t forget your fatty fish to keep up your Omega 3s! Until I write a blog on this, here is a website with good info.
- Ejaculate no less than every other day and no more than once a day (unless instructed otherwise by your doctor). Ideally, have sex with your wife every day she isn’t menstruating. During her period, find creative and enjoyable ways to ejaculate at least every other day, preferably every day (unless otherwise instructed by your doctor). Studies show that sperm quality improves with daily ejaculation!
- Avoid tight fitting underwear or work out clothes. Don’t compress the gentlemen! Compression and heat are enemies of healthy sperm. This is not a myth. Here is the research that backs it up.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking destroys sperm health. Plus, you don’t want to be smoking around your pregnant wife or infant child, that can lead to all sorts of problems for the baby!
- Consider supplements to support testosterone and sperm health. The most important are a whole-foods based multivitamin, a fish oil/Omega 3 (fermented cod liver oil is the best), and a high-quality antioxidant. My husband gets his antioxidants through a green super food powder he adds to his daily veggie smoothie. We use the Amazon Subscribe & Save tool to save money on all our supplements and smoothie boosters. You can find links to all the supplements I had my hubby on here.
- Consider starting a mind-body program if you have serious sperm health issues. Consider acupuncture, yoga, hypnotherapy, or other psychotherapy work.
- Exercise in moderation. Exercise keeps you healthy, keeps your weight in check, and helps you manage stress- all of which increase your fertility. Don’t overdo it though- some studies show that some endurance trained male athletes have changes in their hormones. Definitely don’t wear tight exercise tights and bike ride for 30 miles- or you risk that high-heat problem again!
- Eliminate Toxins. Help your partner rid your house of anti-fertility toxins and remove any parabens, phthalates, or other fertility-harming toxins from your personal care routine. Research shows that these toxins hurt male fertility even more than female fertility!
And, of course, if you are struggling as a couple with infertility, be sure to go to your doctor and be checked out for everything- not just a semen analysis, but get a hormone workup and make sure you don’t have any underlying infections. More than 30% of all fertility issues are related to a male fertility factor!
My friend Brian struggled with male infertility and he and his wife did IVF with Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to successfully get pregnant. He says,
The best advice I can give: trust your instincts. If you think that something isn’t right – if your libido seems off, if you have trouble maintaining an erection, if you can’t grow facial hair to save your life – get it checked out. Talk to a doctor. They have ways to figure out what’s happening, but it’s not like a broken arm – you have to be honest with the doctor to give them a chance to work with you to get it fixed.
Have you struggled with male factor infertility? Please leave a comment and let us know what worked for you, or what you have tried!