Male Fertility: How To Improve Sperm Quality?
There has been a discussion for many years on fertility. However, the main focus of it is directed towards female fertility with male fertility largely overlooked. In this blog I will be looking into some recent studies conducted on male fertility, outlining some tests that can help indicate a man’s fertility potential and defining some steps a man can take in order to improve the quality of his sperm and overall fertility.
Fertility Trend Issues
Woman are harassed with unlimited messages about getting pregnant. Initially, in their teenage years, girls are taught that teenage pregnancy is better avoided. Then the advice changes on its head the moment they are out of the education system. They are then advised to monitor their fertility and plan for the future.
The perception can be; “if you don’t do it soon, your chances could be gone forever”. This creates a sense of urgency that prompts women to get their fertility potential checked out.
Men never receive this treatment. They are advised to always use protection and that’s about it. And in terms of having kids? There’s no rush…
According to recent studies, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sperm counts of men from developed countries are at a record low that poses a potential threat to human fertility in general.
“This Study Is An Urgent Wake-Up Call”
The study was conducted between 1973 and 2011, the results of which were published in a journal called “Human Reproduction Update”. They showed a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count among North American, European, Australian and New Zealand men.
“This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count,” said Hagai Levine, who co-led the work at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem.
The rate of decline is not decreasing and these findings point towards a potential decline in both male fertility and health.
Potential Symptoms and Causes of Male Infertility
The study did not explore the causes for this steep decline. However, the researchers involved have said that falling sperm counts have previously been linked to various factors such as exposure to certain chemicals and pesticides, smoking, stress and obesity.
For the most part, there are no clear symptoms of male fertility problems. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation will usually present no difficulty. The quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally appear normal.
Medical tests are needed to find out if a man is infertile or has issues with fertility.
Male Fertility Tests
In order to diagnose any issues with sperm production, you must visit your local physician to take a sperm analysis, otherwise known as a sperm count test. This test analyses the health and viability of a man’s sperm by looking at the amount, the shape and the movement of the sperm.
Home semen tests are available. However, they only test the amount of sperm. They don’t analyse sperm movement or shape.
Other issues with male fertility, such as hormonal imbalances and erectile dysfunction can easily be tested for with a finger-prick blood sample.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found in humans being primarily made in the testes in men. Women’s ovaries also make testosterone, though in much smaller amounts. Testosterone is most often associated with sex drive and plays a vital role in sperm production. It also affects bone and muscle mass, the way men store fat in the body, and even red blood cell production. A man’s testosterone levels can also affect his mood.
Testosterone deficiency can be a cause of infertility in men. Causes of testosterone deficiency include:
- Injury or infection of the testicles
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment from cancer
- Genetic abnormalities including Klinefelter’s syndrome
- Hemochromatosis (overproduction of iron)
- Dysfunction of the pituitary gland
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Curious about your testosterone levels or trying for a baby? Test your key male hormones with one of our home tests at www.LetsGetChecked.com
How can you Improve your Sperm Quality and Overall Fertility
1. Keep it cool
Sperm temperature is an important factor in its viability, so keeping things cool is important. If you work in a hot environment, try to take regular breaks. If you sit for long periods at a time, try to get up and move around.
Excessive drinking is going to have an effect on your fertility potential. More than 14 units a week may decrease your production of testosterone, increase the rate at which testosterone is cleared from your bloodstream, and increase your estrogen levels. This lack of testosterone can seriously affect the quality of your sperm.
Unsurprisingly, drugs aren’t good for your fertility. The worst candidates are cannabis, cocaine, anabolic steroids, amphetamines and opiates such as heroin or methadone.
For those of you that don’t consider cannabis a dangerous drug: THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, decreases sperm production and weakens sexual drive by interfering with the production of testosterone. THC also has a direct harmful effect on the movement of sperm.
For a complete list of the effects that drugs can have on a man’s fertility, check out this piece by Cleveland Clinic.
4. Diet & exercise
It may seem obvious, but being unhealthy in your diet or overweight can make it harder to conceive. Furthermore, being overweight can also cause testosterone deficiency, another barrier for a man’s fertility.
Stress lowers your libido, making it less likely that you’re having sex which obviously presents an issue in terms of becoming pregnant. Severe stress can also inhibit sperm production by causing testosterone deficiency.
For more information on personal health testing, please visit www.LetsGetChecked.com
Written by Matthew Hennessy