As blokes we are all aware that there are a range of steps, pills and behaviours that the women in our lives can take in the effort to conceive. An often-neglected part of the equation is how we as men look after our own health in order to maximise the chances of a successful conception. You know what they say, “It takes two to tango!”
Age: Blokes are quite capable of producing sperm well into their seventies as Pablo Picasso and Charlie Chaplin famously proved. Unfortunately, the quality of sperm declines as men age. Blokes over the age of 45 might find that their partners take longer to fall pregnant and that the risk of miscarriage increases. As dads get older, they also start to run a slightly higher risk of having children with a range of mental health issues or autism compared with younger dads. Obviously, our age is beyond our control, but if you are considering starting a family, start trying sooner rather than later!
General Health: Get active as physical activity is good for your health in general and will also help you maintain a healthy weight and improve the health of your sperm.
- Maintain a healthy weight as being overweight can impair sperm production. Testosterone helps sperm production; however excess fat increases the presence of oestrogen.
- A healthy balanced diet including plenty of fruit and vegies. Antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats improve sperm motility.
- Include foods like nuts, poultry, fish and meat in your diet or consider a selenium supplement to increase sperm production and concentration.
- Limit soy products which contain a natural version of the female hormone oestrogen.
- Limit alcohol consumption as alcohol negatively affects the production of male hormones which are needed to produce healthy sperm.
- Abstain from illicit drugs. They reduce the sperm count and affect the production of male hormones. Steroids also have a negative impact on sperm and therefore should be avoided.
- Prescription and over the counter medicines you use may affect your fertility. You may need to change some medications while you’re trying to conceive.
- If you are a smoker, then quit. Smoking affects sperm motility and the DNA within.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals both in the workplace and in everyday life can affect sperm. Limit exposure and use protective clothing.
Temperature: Jocks too tight? Laptop sitting on top of your crown jewels? Either way, temperature regulation is imperative to sperm health, and overheating is a leading cause of low sperm counts.
Trying to conceive can be difficult, hopefully these steps may help take the pressure off what should be a joyous time.
Glen and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277