Men's fertility and infertility
Studies on male fertility and infertility show that sperm counts generally are decreasing. We do not know exactly why this is . It may be due to lifestyle choices or possible things in the our environment. It may be due to the fact that many couples are putting off having children until a later age. Male fertility also declines with age as it does in women, but not quite as dramatically, so try not to put off having children too long.
The good news is there are lots of simple things that you can do, to increase your sperm count naturally and keep your sperm healthy.
Normal sperm count
For a healthy adult male the sperm count is considered normal if it is above 15 million per ml. Below this level is regarded as low. This does not mean that you can not conceive just that it your count is suboptimal.
Male fertility tips to increase sperm count
Up to 1 in 6 couples experience problems conceiving , and in around 30-50% of cases the fertility problem is with the man, either the sperm count is lower than ideal or the motility of the sperm (how well they move) is poor, or a combination of both.
The good news is that many causes of reduced male fertility are reversible with lifestyle changes which produce great improvements in both sperm count and motility within just a few months.
How to improve your sperm count and motility
Avoid anything that causes overheating in the groin area. Heat applied to the testicles is bad for sperm, as it causes damage to them.
Things that can cause overheating to the testicles:
- Tight skinny jeans
- Prolonged cycling
- Tight underwear
- Hot tubs
- Hot baths
- Mobile phones overheating in trouser pockets
- Being overweight
- Over exercising
Some drugs can affect your sperm count and /or motility
- Prescription medicines-If you are taking any prescription medicines talk to your doctor about whether they could reduce your fertility.
- Anabolic steroids can reduce male fertility
- Recreational drugs including alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs can affect sperm adversely
General health measures that can improve sperm count and sperm quality
- Have sex regularly. This is particularly important when it comes to sperm quality ie how healthy the sperm are. Using a sperm friendly lubricant for your love making can also help.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
- Stop smoking completely or at least reduce your consumption
- Reduce your weight if you are overweight
- Maintain a healthy weight (being underweight can be bad for your fertility)
- Eat a healthy balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Moderate exercise is good, overexercising is bad
- Get plenty of sleep
- Taking a vitamin supplement that is designed to increase male fertility
- Reduce stress and make plenty of time for rest, relaxation and fun
Important : If you and your partner have been trying for over 12 months without success it is advisable to make an appointment with your GP or doctor so that they can talk to you and run some laboratory tests. They may also refer you for further investigations.
Male fertility information page last reviewed and updated by Dr Kate Garside 10/2/22
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