30 May Tips for Optimizing Male Fertility
Those of us in the fertility world are very aware that women bear the brunt of the scrutiny, blame and responsibility when a couple can’t get pregnant. Since infertility factors are shared evenly between women and men, this is a major injustice.
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, we recommend that while she prepares her body for baby, he is doing the same.
5 Changes HE Should Make to Increase Your Chances of Fertility
Here are some of the five most important changes men should make to optimize their chances of fertility – increasing sperm count, motility and morphology. It should come as no surprise the healthier your body is, the better chances both of you have of being fertile.
- Take off (or gain) those extra pounds. There is a direct correlation between weight and male fertility – and it works in both directions, and for both men and women. Being underweight – as well as overweight – can affect sperm quantity and health, as well as feelings of self-esteem, libido and sexual performance. Both men and women should aim for a body mass index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.9. You can use the NIH’s online BMI calculator to get a close estimate of your own BMI and then make conscious decisions to alter it in the right direction. If you’re an extreme athlete (the most common reason for a male or female to have a BMI in the 18 and under bracket), it might be time to tone down the workouts until your partner is pregnant.
- Stop smoking (and drinking excessively and taking recreational drugs). All those habits you know you should kick? Now’s the time to take that knowing seriously and kick them. From smoking cigarettes to excessive drinking (3 or more drinks per day), and every illicit drug – all have a proven, negative effect on male fertility as well as a woman’s. While marijuana is being legalized in many states, pot has a negative effect on sperm so it’s worth forgoing the high in the name of fertility. You might realize your dependence on these substances was stronger than you thought, which makes it the perfect time to speak with a healthcare professional or a licensed therapist as these issues are best left behind before you become a parent.
- Make a few changes to the diet. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), healthy diets – that include lean proteins and fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and minimal processed foods – are integral to optimal fertility. Make the changes to your diet that you know you should and your body (and baby) will thank you. Other ingredients or nutrients shown to positively impact male fertility include Vitamin C and antioxidants, Folate (folic acid), zinc, vitamin E and selenium. Taking a high-quality multivitamin is a good way to make sure your body is getting what it needs.
- Don’t wait too long. It turns out that women aren’t the only ones who are susceptible to a biological clock. While women’s biological clocks might be ticking faster and louder, studies show that the older men are, the more likely they are to have fertility problems, babies born with chromosomal and/or genetic birth defects and the more likely it is for their partner to suffer a miscarriage. If you’re 45-years or older, do all you can to optimize your fertility chances by living a healthy lifestyle, and be aware that it will probably take you longer than the typical 6 to 12-months for your partner to get pregnant.
- Schedule a physical with your physician. Men are notorious for forgoing their annual physical as well as seeking medical attention when they need it. Latent health issues – such as high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, pre-type 2 or type 2 diabetes – can negatively impact fertility. While you’re there, ask your doctor about pre-conception genetic screening. These screenings are very affordable and may even be covered by your health insurance policy (especially if your family has a history of chromosomal or genetic disorders). Knowing what you may be up against ahead of time can help you and your partner develop a more personalized fertility plan.
Do you suspect male factors may play a role in your inability to get pregnant? Contact us here at Fertility Center of Dallas. Fertility tests are the quickest and most accurate way to determine how we can work with you to facilitate conception and a healthy pregnancy.