Before you go down the path of expensive fertility treatments, check out these tips for how to make sperm healthy for pregnancy.
While finding out about fertility issues is always a worry, there are some simple things that can be done to naturally boost male fertility and to increase sperm count, motility and testosterone levels before resorting to ICSI or other medications.
Male factor infertility makes up well over 30% of all infertility diagnosis in the USA and just like, female infertility, it seems to be increasing. Unfortunately there are so many things in our environment, diet and modern way of life that can really mess with male fertility cause damage to sperm DNA.
Luckily, there are some natural cures for male fertility that can increase your chances of getting pregnant quickly and most of them involve simple lifestyle changes that you can start today.
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What Is Male Infertility?
As part of your fertility checks, a sperm analysis or workup will be done.
The purpose of the analysis is to check 3 key factors of the sperm:
- Sperm count (how many sperm are present in a sample)
- Motility (whether the sperm move correctly)
- Morphology (the shape of the sperm which indicates how healthy they are)
Low sperm or motility counts can indicate a problem as can abnormally shaped sperm.
Key Goals In Boosting Male Fertility
In women, increasing fertility typically means
- Improving egg quality
- Regulating the cycle to ensure ovulation
- Facilitating implantation by improving the uterine lining
- Preventing miscarriage and maintaining progesterone levels
In men, when we talk about boosting fertility, we are want to:
- Increase sperm count
- Improve sperm motility
- Fix any sperm morphology issues
- Boost low testosterone levels
What Causes Male Infertility?
There are a number of things that can affect a man’s fertility and many of them are easily avoided with lifestyle changes and a healthier approach to food and wellness.
Some of the common causes for low sperm counts and other fertility issues include:
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drugs
- Environmental concerns such as pesticides and chemicals & heavy metal exposure
- Alcohol use
- Genetics & chromosomal problems
- Varicocele & other medical conditions
- Hormone imbalance
- Celiac disease
- Certain medications
How To Make Sperm Healthy For Pregnancy
Men produce millions of sperm each day which makes it easy to see how simple lifestyle changes can make a drastic difference and improve pregnancy rates.
Even men without a diagnosis of male factor infertility can benefit greatly from making some easy changes to improve their overall health and fertility.
Although sperm are produced every day, it will still take 2-3 months for any lifestyle changes to make a big impact and increase sperm count and testosterone levels so make sure to view this as a marathon and not a sprint!
Read on for my tips on how to make sperm healthy for pregnancy.
Natural Supplements to Boost Male Fertility
There are some great natural supplements on the market that may help to boost male fertility.
The three below are all from Fairhaven Health, the leading producer of fertility supplements. Shipping is free from their site to the US. (Use promo code SEASIDE for 10% off your order).
CountBoost for Men – designed to increase sperm count naturally.
MotilityBoost for Men – for improving motility readings
FertilAid for Men– this is an all-round fertility supplement for men and can be used in conjunction with ether CountBoost or MotilityBoost.
11 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Fertility For Men
1. Get More Sleep
Optimal testosterone levels are crucial for male fertility. As men produce the majority of their testosterone when they are sleeping, it makes sense that lack of sleep can have huge consequences on pregnancy outcomes.
In addition, lack of sleep or disrupted sleep cycles may affect sperm production. The Boston University Pregnancy Online Study Society showed that *either restricted or excessive sleep may impair semen quality. Troubled sleep is also associated with reduced male fertility.
*P80 – American Society For Reproductive Medicine, 2016 Conference
2. Eat More Healthy Fats
There are certain foods that have been shown to boost sperm count.
Increased intake of healthy fats such as walnuts and avocados have been shown to have a positive impact on male fertility and a 2010 study showed that infertile men often have lower concentrations of omega-3 FAs in their sperm than fertile men.
What should a man eat to increase his sperm count?
The fertility diet that has been shown to improve female fertility outcomes is also perfect for men. The Keto diet is also thought to help to increase sperm count because of the high fat content.
3. Avoid Soy Products
Soy products contain phylates that can interfere with zinc absorption which is essential for sperm production. Soy also contains isoflavones which can “mimic” estrogen in the body.
A Spanish study* showed that increased soy related food products was related to increased percentage of chromosomal abnormalities in sperm as well as a lower sperm motility count.
Common foods that contain soy
*P29- American Society For Reproductive Medicine, 2016 Conference
4. Reduce your exposure to EDCs
No article on how to make sperm healthy for pregnancy would be complete without talking about EDCs.
EDCs are endocrine disrupting compounds that disrupt the body’s hormone levels and can have devastating affects on fertility and sperm count.
EDCs are found everywhere we go and in many household items such as:
- Plastics (Bisphenol-A)
- Personal Hygiene products (Parabens)
- Food (pesticides and chemicals)
Some easy switches ways to cut your EDC exposure:
- Instead of dryer sheets consider getting Wool Dryer Balls which don’t use any chemicals. (you can also use them on baby clothes!)
- Instead of traditional, chemically made cleaning products, try an all-natural product like Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner or a plain old vinegar and water solution.
- Switch to organic fruits and vegetables, especially the dirty dozen which include nectarines, peppers and strawberries.
Another thing you can do is consider a fertility cleanse or detox using herbs to clean out your body of toxins before trying to conceive.
If you are interested in doing a detox, you might find this video informative as it talks you through the steps to do detox without going extreme.
5. Cut Down Your Alcohol Consumption
While a little alcohol in moderation won’t necessary affect male fertility, it most certainly won’t help to increase sperm count. Numerous studies have shown that heavy drinking can have a huge effect on a man’s fertility and sperm health so cutting back is the one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of pregnancy.
Affects from cutting back on alcohol are normally seen very quickly, especially in testosterone levels.
6. Avoid Overheating
Sperm need to be at a temperature around 4 degrees cooler than the body in order to maintain optimal health.
Any warmer and decreased motility starts to affect sperm analysis results.
Prolonged heat exposure results in low sperm counts and reduced pregnancy rates so it is best to avoid overheating as much as possible.
What can cause overheating?
- Tight boxers or shorts for a prolonged period of time
- The heat from a laptop or electronics
- Hot tubs
There is no need to completely avoid using a laptop or grilling this summer but make sure to take regular breaks and do everything in moderation.
If you already have a low sperm count, consider changing the style of your boxers and abstaining from cycling and other heating activities to see if makes a difference.
7. Take Regular Exercise
Exercise has been shown to increase sperm counts in men, likely due to the increased blood flow throughout the body and higher oxygen levels in the blood.
Exercise is also great for weight maintenance which is a huge fertility risk factor in both men and women.
What kinds of exercise are good for increasing sperm count?
Swimming and working out in cool temperatures are great as they help to avoid the overheating that sports such a cycling can cause. Yoga is also awesome for controlling stress levels and increasing blood flow to the pelvic area.
There are certain fertility yoga poses that are great for helping to increase sperm counts and overall reproductive health.
8. Get Support
While most women who are struggling to get pregnant join online forums, read blogs and research all they can, men report a lack of social support for their infertility diagnosis.
It’s not often something that men talk about with their friends and there are not as many online communities and support groups that there are for female infertility.
Plus, men are often concerned with supporting their partner and helping her work through her own struggles.
There are a few good online resources specifically for male fertility than can help to provide support and guidance:
9. Control Stress
High stress levels can affect male fertility by decreasing testosterone levels and affecting sperm counts.
Although studies have shown that men are not as affected by an infertility diagnosis as women, in general, men tend to have higher stress levels either due to work or the tendency to “bottle things up” and lack of social support.
It’s hard to eliminate stress entirely but there are a few things you can do to relax:
- Listen to music or a podcast.
- Try acupuncture. It doesn’t hurt at all and is great for stress.
- Go out with friends (easy on the beers)
- Take a yoga class or try fertility yoga together in the comfort of your own home.
- Go to the gym
RELATED POST : How To Relax While Trying To Get Pregnant
10. Reduce Caffeine Intake
While certain drinks like caffeine free fertility teas can naturally boost male fertility, it is generally believed that large amounts of caffeine are not great when you are trying to increase sperm count and mobility.
A 2017 Italian study found some evidence that excessive use consumption of caffeine (more than 4 cups of coffee a day) can actually damage sperm DNA fragments which can cause male infertility.
It’s worth remembering that drinks such as cola, caffeinated black and green teas and energy drinks all contain caffeine and should be considered when adding up your total daily intake.
To cut back on caffeine you can try switching to decaf as much as possible and cutting soda out completely.
Here’s a quick guide to the caffeine levels in common drinks:
11. Stop Smoking
Smoking affects all three sperm analysis factors (count, motility and morphology) but the good news is that levels will go back to normal around one year of quitting. If you do smoke, the best thing you can do is to stop as soon as possible to help your body start the recovery process.
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