According to statistics published by the Office on Women’s Health, about 6 million, or 10%, of the female population of childbearing age, experience infertility. However, infertility is not just a “woman thing”. About a third of all diagnoses of infertility are male factor. That means the male partner experiences issues with sperm health, due to reasons such as an underlying physical condition or injury.
Medicine defines infertility as the inability to conceive after twelve consecutive months of unprotected sexual intercourse. If the woman is over 35 most physicians recommend an evaluation of fertility after six months of trying. In either even the diagnosis reveals whether the issue is male factor, female factor, a combination of both or an unknown reason.
What Causes Male Factor Infertility?
Sometimes doctors link male factor fertility to semen/sperm quality and other times, sexual function. Here are some reasons that may be behind male factor infertility:
- Hormones: Low levels of the male sex hormone testosterone may link to infertility.
- Sperm Count: Doctors base your semen quality partly on the number of sperm you release in your ejaculate. Normal sperm counts range from 15 million to 200 million per milliliter, or about a fourth of a teaspoon.
- Sperm Motility: Sperm have quite a trip ahead of them when fertilizing the egg is their goal. With that in mind, sperm movement (motility) is very important to fertility.
- Sperm Morphology (shape): While some sperm are abnormally shaped and still manage to get the job done, a high number of misshapen sperm contribute to infertility.
- Libido: A common cause of low libido (sex drive) is hormonal imbalance and contributes to infertility.
- Erectile Dysfunction: A male partner must get and maintain an erection in order to impregnate his female partner.
Seven Ways to Boost Male Fertility
While control over your fertility is not always possible there are ways men can boost fertility and increase the opportunity for healthy sperm. Healthy sperm is essential to the success of fertility treatments such as IVF. Here we offer seven ways to boost male fertility.
Tap the Brakes on Your Vices
Alcohol, cigarette or other smoking or any kind of recreational drugs, even high amounts of caffeine all contribute, in excess, to inflammation which interferes with reproductive health. Both cannabis and alcohol impact sperm count, and quality and smoking cigarettes affects semen quality and overall sperm health.
Smoking also has a negative impact on fertility treatment outcomes, especially IVF. And secondhand smoke affects your partner as well.
Regular exercise impacts fertility in so many ways. Number one, it’s good for your overall health and that means reproductive health as well. In addition, when you exercise you boost testosterone levels in your body which in turn improves semen quality. And exercise helps you maintain a normal BMI which also contributes to better reproductive health.
A word of caution: too much exercise may have the opposite effect. Never work out to the point of exhaustion, or your testosterone levels could dip.
Protect Your Immune System
Antioxidants are a great way to ensure your immune system is strong and protect you and your fertility. In fact, studies show antioxidants not only guard against viruses and disease they also help your body produce optimum sperm. Natural antioxidants such as zinc, folate, vitamin C and E, CoQ10 and others are beneficial to healthy semen production. However, it’s not always easy to get the right amount of antioxidants through your diet so we recommend taking a supplement meant for male fertility.
Stress plays a significant role in male fertility, and you may not even realize your stressed. Prolonged stress, from work, family, relationships and so forth, raises your cortisol levels. When cortisol levels go up your testosterone plummets.
Try reducing stress through relaxation exercises and meditation, go for a walk-in nature, take a digital detox, or turn off your phone. Try to engage in things that feel happy. Pursue a hobby or simply hang out with your friends. You’ll be happier, healthier, and you’ll light up your libido.
Maintain Good Dental Hygiene
There is a bacteria evident in the semen of some men called bacteriospermia and it is linked to male infertility. Doctors treat this bacteria with antibiotics, but sometimes that isn’t enough. In a recent study doctors found improving the dental hygiene and overall dental health of the patients who did not respond well to the antibiotics improved the patients’ fertility.
Semen quality and sperm production are best when the testicles maintain a temperature slightly cooler than body temperature (98.6°). For that reason, when you are trying to conceive male fertility improves when you avoid hot tubs, saunas, hot showers, keeping a laptop on your lap, cycling, or sitting for long periods of time. Wear loose-fit trousers and don’t wear constricting underwear or bicycle-type athletic shorts.
Maintain Overall Good Health
One of the best ways to boost your fertility is by maintaining your overall health. Eat a clean, whole foods fertility diet and limit your intake of red meat. Eat sperm-healthy avocados and walnuts. Get plenty of quality sleep. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and avoid being around toxic chemicals such as heavy metals, agricultural toxins, and insecticides. If your work involves any toxic substances, wear a mask, safety glasses and gloves and don’t let the toxins come in contact with your skin.
If You’re Concerned Talk to Us
If you’re concerned about infertility or have reason to suspect an issue with your own fertility or that of your partners’, please contact LA IVF. Patients trust our professional team when it comes to diagnosing and overcoming matters of infertility. Reach out today and let’s begin the journey.