When talking about fertility, the main focus is usually on women, as they’re the ones who get pregnant, but if you’re going through IUI, ICSI or IVF, it’s also important to improve sperm quality. Having good quality sperm doesn’t only increase its chances to fertilise the egg – it can also reduce the risks of miscarriage, as the woman’s body could eventually reject an embryo with faulty DNA.
Read on to find out more about improving sperm quality and how to increase fertility in men.
How to increase fertility in men
There are some lifestyle changes men could take to improve their sperm quality and increase their fertility.
The reason male testicles are outside their bodies is that sperm needs to be kept at a lower temperature than the rest of the body, otherwise, it loses its motility and viability. If you work in a hot environment, take regular breaks to cool down, or if you’re working in a seated position, make sure to stand up and move around once in a while.
Avoid wearing tight clothing and underwear, as it keeps testicles closer to the body and increases their temperature. If you’re using a laptop, keep it on a desk or table rather than on your lap as the heat from your legs will also slowly heat up your testicles.
A balanced diet and maintaining a healthy body weight are very important for keeping the sperm in good condition. Make sure to include enough of these fertility-boosting nutrients in your diet:
– Protein – lean meat and poultry, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds
To increase fertility, men should introduce regular exercise to their routine. If you are overweight, you should try to lose weight as it could lower your chances to have a baby – read more about how weight affects fertility here.
– Omega 3 – DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, found in marine fish such as tuna and salmon, helps to increase sperm quality and motility.
– Selenium – free-oxidising radicals can cause up to 40% of sperm damage, so taking selenium is vital to protect the sperm, reduce clumping, and abnormalities and increase motility.
– Zinc – an antioxidant that plays a big role in sperm health. Zinc boosts motility and helps to remove excess oestrogen from the body (high levels of oestrogen are linked to low sperm count), and is commonly lacking is most people’s diets.
– CoQ10 – a powerful antioxidant helping to protect the sperm and increase its motility.
– Vitamin B12 – this important vitamin can help to increase the sperm count.
– Folate – helps to boost sperm health.
Male hormonal imbalance
High levels of oestrogen lower fertility-boosting testosterone and can lead to erectile dysfunction and decreased sperm count, libido and seminal fluid. A high fibre and liver-supporting diet is crucial to help the body clear any excess hormones – increase your intake of green leafy vegetables, quinoa, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.
Alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs and stress can negatively affect fertility in men. When trying to conceive, it would be useful to look into your lifestyle and adopt some healthy habits:
– Keeping caffeine to a maximum of two cups a day. Don’t forget caffeine is also found in chocolate, green or black tea and some soft drinks.
– Limiting alcohol to 3 units a week. If you are undertaking fertility treatment, abstain from alcohol for 6 weeks before the treatment.
Here at The Evewell we give equal weight to male fertility and consider this at the start of every patient journey. We have a combined focus on assessing, advising, treating and supporting both partners, so we can maximise your chances of conceiving. If you have any concerns or are considering starting your fertility journey, please get in touch with us by either emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a call on 020 3974 0950.