Infertility has, for a long time, focused largely on the female. However, more and more research is now uncovering the important link between the health of the male’s sperm and fertility.
Sperm health has reached an all-time low, with statistics showing that the male sperm count has fallen more than 50% in the last 50 years. Sperm count is believed to be declining at an accelerated pace, estimated to be 2.64% per year. With statistics like this, we are heading for a global male fertility crisis.
With one in four couples struggling to conceive, it is now more important than ever to prioritise the health of your partners sperm in your preconception care.
What can he do?
On average, sperm take 72 to 76 days to develop, mature, be stored and ejaculated. So, a man's health two to three months prior to conception can significantly influence fertility. Just like our female clients, we advise our male clients to do everything they can during this preconception period to ensure that the best information is passed on through their sperm.
Top tips for better sperm health
Reduce toxin exposure!
For men trying to conceive, limiting toxin exposure should be at the top of the list! This is because there are many environmental toxins that are hazardous to our reproductive health.
As an absolute must, men should avoid cigarette smoking and vaping and limit/avoid alcohol consumption and recreational drug use. Alcohol reduces testosterone levels, decreases sperm count, increases abnormal sperm, and lowers the proportion of motile sperm. Smoking damages sperm DNA and increases the chances of miscarriage. The use of recreational drugs and some prescription drugs can decrease sperm quantity and increase the number of abnormal sperm and even halt sperm production.
We are also exposed to many environmental agents that are harmful to our fertility. Both the male and female reproductive function is known to be highly sensitive to many chemicals and physical agents that are present in both occupational activities and in the general environment. These include pesticides, solvents, chemicals, heavy metals and plastics.
Opt for a diet rich in natural, whole, and unprocessed foods!
Research shows that when a male follows a healthy diet in the preconception period it helps to improve semen parameters and chances of conception. A healthy diet for better sperm health includes the following:
- Lots of vegetables and therefore antioxidants
- raw nuts and seeds
- grass fed meats, organic chicken
- small, oily cold-water fish
- good fats such olive oil, coconut oil, avocado
- legumes and pulses
- low levels of processed foods and sugars
- plenty of water
Stress is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to preconception care. Looking at ways you can best manage stress is vital as stress has a huge impact on sperm parameters, particularly motility and morphology. This is due in part to the impact of cortisol on hormone levels.
The easiest way to de-stress is to do something you love every single day! Incorporating relaxation practices such as walking, yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, taking a bath, reading a book, watching a movie, or anything else that puts a smile on your face!
Improve metabolic health
The male’s metabolic health can also play a part in fertility outcomes. Being overweight or obese as a male can lead to lower levels of testosterone and reduce sperm concentration and motility as well as an increase in DNA damage. Inflammation associated with obesity can also damage sperm, which can change the genes that are passed on from you to your child. Exercising for around 60 minutes per day is recommended. A combination of cardio, weight bearing and stretching is ideal.
Avoid heat stress & tight-fitting clothes.
Male testicles need to be able to move freely to regulate a healthy temperature for sperm development. For men trying to conceive it is recommended to avoid long distance bicycle and motorbike rides, as well as avoiding tight fitting underwear/clothing and stop putting your phone in your pocket.
Book in with a Naturopath!
If you have been struggling to conceive, it’s time your partner gets on board to get him in the best state of health for healthy conception. This will involve getting the appropriate testing done as well as a tailored treatment plan addressing all parameters of health that can affect fertility.
If you are waiting on an appointment with us, this the perfect preconception bundle to get your male partner started on Shop Now