It takes two very important ingredients to make a baby, so while we ladies can make sure that we’re eating well, cutting back on alcohol and taking folic acid like there’s no tomorrow, what can chaps do to boost your man’s fertility and maximise your chances of conception? Getting his little swimmers ready for action doesn’t have to be a big deal, there are some quick and easy steps that he can take to bring you both a step closer to that little blue line….
There are two main things to think about in maximising chances of conception from a male perspective: sperm count and sperm motility. It’s not rocket science. The more swimmers, the bigger the chance of success; the more motile they are, the more likely they are to reach their destination. A low sperm count is below 40 million per cubic centimeter,which sounds like a lot until you find out that the average sperm count is between a whopping 120 and 350 million per cubic centimeter!! In terms of motility, your guys are likely to succeed if at least 50% of them are moving properly. So how can you get those numbers up and get them moving?
Boosting Male Fertility
1. Keep them cool….
In order to keep your sperm count as high as possible, make sure that you avoid hot baths, sitting for long periods of time and also give tight-fitting underwear a wide berth until you have a positive pregnancy test in your hands. Think about how you use your laptop too – if it sits on your lap for long periods, it’s going to produce a lot of heat… All of these factors can elevate the temperature down below, which reduces sperm production.
2. Keep calm and rest up
Stress can interfere with sperm production (and be a bit of a libido killer too), so it’s really important to deal with any stress in your life as much as possible. Get plenty of sleep (your body is at its sperm-producing peak when you sleep), along with regular exercise and think about relaxation techniques: meditation, deep breathing, massage and reflexology are all great ways to de-stress.
3. Say goodbye to bad habits
Alcohol and cigarettes are not a good recipe for healthy sperm. They reduce not only sperm quality, but quantity too. As few as two alcoholic drinks per day can have adverse effects on sperm production. While you’re at it, cut out marijuana and other illegal drugs if you like to dabble as these will also negatively impact on sperm production.
4. Diet and nutrition
We should all be doing this anyway, but a healthy diet = a healthy body. Fill your tum with plenty of protein, fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses to help boost your fertility. In the meantime, refined carbohydrates, coffee, tea and foods with artificial additives are a no-no! We think you guys get off lightly – you only have to stick to these guidelines while your trying to conceive – your partner has a full 9 months!!
5. Watch your weight
Being overweight can be associated with a low sperm count and impotence, which could be due to the excess fat around the legs and groin raising the temperature of the testes.
Being underweight isn’t ideal either. Food deprivation in men can lead to a loss of sex drive as well as infertility due to structural changes in the reproductive tissue.
Exercise is a great way of making sure that your weight is healthy, relieving stress and so it’s not surprising that it enhances fertility. Exercising 5 times a week for at least 45 minutes will improve your baby making odds, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine so it’s worth giving it a go, but don’t over do it as excessive exercise (marathon running and training for example) can actually result in a lower sperm count.
7. Have sex!
Yes, we know, it’s a pretty important element of getting pregnant, but actually male fertility research suggests that having sex once a day (if you have a normal sperm count), every other day (if your sperm count is low) will maximise your chances of conceiving. There’s no merit in abstaining to try and build up your supply, as although this may increase sperm count, it will decrease motility. Similarly, more than once a day won’t give you long enough to ‘restock’, so your count will be reduced.
While you’re getting jiggy, once a day, make sure that any lubricant you use is sperm friendly! Standard lubricants that you may have used in the past are likely to be full of ingredients which will actively seek out to destroy your little swimmers! There are specific sperm friendly lubricants, which help with sperm viability and motility by providing a more sperm friendly environment. Upon ovulation, a womans pH level becomes more alkaline (a pH of between 7-10), sperm prefer a more alkaline environment so this aids their survival. Whilst standard lubricants have a pH of around 4-5.5, fertility friendly options will be higher to mimic the fertile friendly environment.
The most important nutritional supplements for sperm production are Vitamin C and zinc. A supplement of Vitamin C daily will prevent sperm from clumping or sticking together, whilst zinc taken daily will increase testosterone levels, sperm count and sperm motility.
In addition to these, deficiencies of selenium, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A,D,E and B12 can also interfere with sperm production. There are an array of multivitamins containing all of these, specifically for improving male fertility.
10. Go herbal
If you’re going all out in boosting your baby making prowess, there are some herbs that are recommended for not only improving erections and sexual desire, but also blood flow to the sexual organs and general sexual health. Worth a go? We think so!
- panax ginseng (Korean ginseng)
- saw palmetto berry
- muira puama
- ginkgo biloba extract
- rhodiola rosea
- horny goat weed
- antler velvet
- tribulus terrestris