For once, today's article is not only aimed at our female community, but also specifically at the men of creation. Today we are looking at what they can do to improve their sperm quality and increase their fertility. Because, as we all know, it always takes two to fulfil a desire to have children.
When we write about the desire to have children, it's usually about the right time to get pregnant (attentive readers will already know that a woman can get pregnant at any time). only about 6 fertile days per month has) and what "women" can do to get pregnant faster. This includes, for example, organising your cycle with the smart femSense ovulation tracker and thus be able to better narrow down her fertile days. However, whether or not a pregnancy is successful does not only depend on the woman, the man also contributes to a considerable extent, even 50%.
Whilst there can of course be numerous medical indications for a woman, such as endometriosis etc., which can make pregnancy difficult, one reason for the failure to conceive can also be due to low sperm quality in the man. However, to give the all-clear in advance, in not too drastic cases a man can already improve his sperm quality through a healthy lifestyle.
So let's take a brief look at why sperm quality is so important, the reasons that can affect it and what "man" can do to improve sperm quality:
Why is sperm quality important?
Sperm cells, also known as spermatozoa, are formed in the testicles. Doctors speak of "normal fertility" when there are at least 15 million sperm cells per millilitre of ejaculate. Of these 15 million, around 32 per cent must have good motility to ensure that the sperm can reach the egg. If there are too few sperm, they will not reach the egg at all, whereas underdeveloped sperm often lead to early abortions because the placenta or embryo do not develop properly. As you can see, both the number and quality of sperm must be right for fertilisation to take place.
Good to know: If a man wants to find out more about the quality of his sperm, he can have a spermiogram carried out. Among other things, this provides information about the quantity, vitality, motility and appearance of the sperm cells. These factors are essential for sperm quality and these parameters can ultimately be used to assess a man's fertility.
What can affect sperm quality?
There are many factors that negatively affect sperm quality, some of which can be traced back to an unhealthy lifestyle. For example, smoking/nicotine is the number one sperm killer; men who smoke produce less seminal fluid, so sperm are less protected, less mobile and even have more genetic damage. It probably comes as no surprise, but the consumption of alcohol and drugs such as cocaine, cannabis etc. also has a negative effect on male fertility.
There are also some medications that can impair sperm quality. These include anabolic steroids to build muscle, but antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure and gastrointestinal medications can also have negative effects.
There is also evidence from scientific studies that being overweight can lead to lower sperm quality and sperm count. Regular exercise, on the other hand, has a positive effect on fertility. However, it is important to exercise with moderation and purpose, as extreme physical exertion can have a negative effect on fertility. The same applies to stress, heavy physical labour, shift work, night work and lack of sleep.
Also interesting: while for women the biological clock starts ticking louder at the end of her 30sMen often believe that their fertility is almost unlimited and that they can conceive until old age without any problems. Well, that's not quite true. From around the age of 40, fewer sperm are produced and their ability to fertilise can also decline.
Also good to know, There are also certain lubricants that restrict the movement of sperm and thus reduce their ability to fertilise (this also applies, for example, to saliva as a "natural lubricant"). So if you want to have children, you should definitely use specially developed personal lubricants that have no negative effects on sperm quality.
Last but not least, a low testicular temperature is important for the quality of the sperm. Did you know that? The testicles are located outside the body precisely because a temperature slightly below the average body temperature is best for the quality of the sperm. This is why "man" should avoid heat, for example in saunas or hot baths, if he wants to have children. However, the type of underwear "man" wears does not play a role here. Studies have not yet been able to prove that airy shorts make a big difference to the temperature of the testicles compared to tight-fitting underwear.
How can sperm quality be positively influenced?
You can probably already guess the answer, but as with so many things in life, a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle is the be-all and end-all.
Iron, zinc (normalises testosterone levels in the blood and stimulates sperm formation) and folic acid are just three of the important nutrients that are good for fertility. Vitamin C and E are also essential for men. Their antioxidant effect protects against free radicals and has been proven to improve sperm quality. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholemeal products and valuable vegetable oils (rapeseed, olive or coconut oil) and nuts should also be included in a man's diet.
Do dietary supplements such as carotenoids, carnitine or coenzyme Q10 help to improve sperm quality? Only to a limited extent, so far there are no scientific studies that confirm this.
Sperm quality can also be improved with sex. Sex every two to three days is optimal to give the sperm cells enough time to regenerate and ensure that there are enough healthy sperm available.
The most important thing at the end
If there is a medical explanation for poor sperm quality or low sperm count, this is no reason to despair. The exact diagnosis should definitely be clarified by a doctor and then there can be a variety of treatment options. If, for example, the sperm ducts are blocked or severed, an operation can improve sperm quality. Incidentally, with today's reproductive medicine techniques, one potent sperm cell is sufficient for artificial insemination, which can be surgically removed from the testicular tissue.
As you can see, a fertility journey can also be a real marathon from the male perspective, but with patience, knowledge and the necessary medical support, there is a good chance that you and your partner's desire to have children will one day be fulfilled.
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Ross et al (12/02/2024), A systematic review of the effect of oral antioxidants on male infertility
Wendler (12/02/2024), Improve sperm quality