We share advice on improving male fertility with our top tips on how to make healthy sperm if you're trying for a baby.
When couples are trying to conceive a lot of the onus can be placed on the female partner to take care of her body so that she's in the best shape possible to conceive and carry a baby. While it goes without saying that this is important, its also equally important for the male partner to take care of himself too as healthy sperm is just as important as a healthy egg when you're trying to get pregnant.
While the quantity and quality of sperm will vary naturally from man to man, environmental and lifestyle factors also play a big role in determining male fertility.
Research has shown that there are certain practices a man can adopt to enhance the quality of his sperm and while they're not guaranteed to make getting pregnant any easier or quicker, they're certainly worth a try.
Give up cigarettes
- The toxins in cigarette smoke have been shown to damage to the DNA code encased in sperm increasing the potential for birth defects. Smoking has also been shown to have an impact on male fertility by reducing the motility of sperm and also potentially lowering sperm count so giving up really pays. What's more, by giving up smoking before you and your partner conceive you'll not only have healthier sperm but your baby will be a whole lot healthier as they develop and grow through pregnancy and beyond.
Cut back on alcohol
- Alcohol can also have an adverse effect on male fertility not least because excessive drinking can lead to impotence which obviously causes problems on the baby front. While you're trying to conceive, try to cut back to a maximum of two alcoholic drinks a day for the most sperm-friendly results.
Say no to drugs
- If you're taking regular, prescribed medication it will be worth talking to your doctor about whether it affects the quality of your sperm. If this is the case, they may be able to suggest a more suitable alternative while you are trying for a baby. Illegal drugs of any kind can lower your sperm count and foster the development of abnormal sperm so if it's not legal it's best to steer clear.
Watch your weight
- Being significantly under or over weight can impact both the quality of your sperm and therefore your chances of conceiving. Try to follow a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and watch your intake of junk food for the best results. You could also take a supplement that contains folic acid and zinc to make sure you getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy sperm.
Take plenty of exercise
- Regular exercise is not only good for improving your general health but, as a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a reduction in male fertility, it can help to combat this problem. Exercise can also be a great outlet for the stress that many couples feel when trying to conceive. Do watch out if you're a keen bike rider though as prolonged periods on a bicycle has been linked to sperm issues.
- Sexually transmitted diseases can impact sperm quality and over time can cause infertility if left untreated. As most sexually transmitted diseases can be eliminated quickly once discovered it's well worth getting things checked out as this can save a lot of stress and heartache later on.
- Mother nature intended for sperm to be kept cooler than the rest of you which is why it's stored outside in the scrotum. You can help things to stay at an optimum 'sperm friendly' temperature by avoiding tight fitting or synthetic pants or trousers and going for loose cotton boxers instead. You should also try and avoid working with a laptop placed directly on your lap (instead resting it on a table or desk) and steer clear of hot tubs and long soaks in hot baths for a while.
Have a question about getting pregnant or simply need to vent? Why not visit the AskBaby Forums and chat to other members who are trying to conceive.