It is a huge misconception that women need to do all the preparation when it comes to making a baby. It's estimated that half of couples having issues falling pregnant are related to male factor infertility.
Fertility is a couples goal and luckily these days men are more involved that ever before.
Male factor infertility is the second most common cause of infertility after female age.
Infertility can be a sign that you have other (possibly undiagnosed) health problems, so it’s important that you have a full health check before trying to conceive.
The good news is that 1 in 8 infertile men have a treatable condition and there is so much that can be done to treat male infertility.
Male infertility can be due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. It can also be related to genetics, illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems and poor dietary and lifestyle habits.
Men also have testosterone that declines with age.
From about the age of 30 men tend to lose about 1% of their testosterone each year – this is normal. However, as average peak testosterone levels in men have dropped by approximately 20% over the past 40 years, more and more men are experiencing the negative effects of lower testosterone as they age.
Known factors that can compromise male fertility
Environmental and occupational factors
Your occupation counts. If you are exposed to air pollutants, passive cigarette smoke, toxic chemical exposure and residue on food and in water such as fertilisers and pesticides. Chronic exposure combined with poor detoxification increases oxidative damage to sperm.
Short-term stress can result in little or no sperm being added to the ejaculate. Long-term stress can adversely affect hormone levels decreasing sperm quality and count, as well as depleting nutrients needed for sperm production like B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
Being overweight or obese
Reduced sperm motility and morphology is associated with higher body weight. Men with a BMI over 30 have up to a 50% higher rate of sub-fertility compared to men with ideal body weight.
Alcohol, drug and caffeine intake
Excessive intake increases essential nutrient loss such as both zinc and folate (that protect sperm against oxidative stress and DNA damage) and testosterone clearance, resulting in reduced sperm concentration, motility, morphology and semen volume.
Some prescription medications impact spermatogenesis. Other adverse factors include increased heat to the testes via saunas/cycling/spas, as well as increasing age – which is associated with reduced sperm quality and increased DNA damage/fragmentation.
Electromagnetic and WIFI exposure
This deserves a special mention here. Guys love their gadgets and there is ample research showing we should take a precautionary approach when it comes to WIFI and electromagnetic exposure along with radiation from mobile phones, laptops and frequent international flights decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Keep laptops and iPads away from scrotums and mobile phones out of pockets.
Some simple ways you can begin to improve your fertility
Limit packaged processed and refined foods: Eat mostly raw, fresh foods and remove processed, pre-packaged foods of all kinds. This will ensure you avoid artificial food additives, including any sweeteners and food colourings.
Include plenty of good fats: e.g. oily fish such as sardines, trout, salmon (wild only); flaxseed meal, chia seeds, avocadoes
Protein (animal and plant) at each meal: Aim for 0.8 – 1.2 g protein/1 kg body weight for good sperm structure
Exercise: Moderate exercise at least 2-4 hours per week for at least 3 days improves motility, morphology, testosterone and testosterone/cortisol ratio.
Go organic: As much as possible, buy and eat organic free-range foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides and fertilisers.
Minimise caffeinated beverages: Limit coffee to 1 or less per day. Completely avoid energy drinks due to the high caffeine, sugar and artificial additives they contain.
Moderate your alcohol intake: 1-2 standard drinks and no more than 4 days per week.
Do not smoke cigarettes, marijuana or use other recreational drugs. These substances are known to cause DNA fragmentation in sperm.
Take some good quality supplements including Zinc, Vitamin C, Ubiquinol, Selenium and Activated B’s. These are essential nutrients for sperm health.
If, you need some guidance and direction in investigating and treating your fertile health, please feel free to get in touch by booking a complimentary Base Chat or Simplify Session here.
Carmen Cooper, Adv Dip Nut Med, Adv Dip Nat
Carmen is a qualified nutritionist & naturopath with a focus on IVF, fertility, male factor fertility, endometriosis and adrenal health
Learn more about Carmen here
Book a session with Carmen here