If you are planning a family it is worth spending a few moments to read this article. It could help you maximize your fertility.
How men make babies!
50 million sperm are discharged during just one ejaculation in a normal healthy male. It can take that many to begin the journey to the vagina, the cervix and on to the fallopian tubes. From all those millions of sperm only one or two will make it to a mature egg that is ready to be fertilized.
The state of sperm health research
Until recently the health of sperm was identified by microscopic observation of their speed and shape. Advances in genetics looking at the composition of sperm are leading to more accurate identification of healthy sperm.
Current research indicates that male sperm counts are declining in many parts of the world, including America and Europe. In one Danish study a 1 per cent decline per year in the sperm count has been recorded over the last 50 years. Such findings have their critics particularly in the face of more recent studies that suggest no such decline. On balance however the current wisdom suggests there is some decline in sperm counts and there seems to be consensus on at least most of the causes; the most important of which are listed below:
What can I do to make my sperm fit, healthy and potent?
It is important to remember that there is still a lot to be learnt about male fertility. We do know that a lot of the things that make sperm healthy are the things that are healthy for men anyway. So even if it takes a while for your partner to get pregnant you are not wasting your time!
Tight trousers and underwear, synthetic material and heat.
It has been suggested that all these affect fertility so get out those baggy cotton boxers! Keep the family jewels cool. It is known that the scrotum area needs to be 4 degrees lower than body temperature.
Some experts suggest that climate and seasons, countries, regions and different years may all have an influence on sperm counts and fertility. One piece of research showed the sperm count in New York was much higher than Los Angeles, that Finland’s was higher than Britain.
Frequent hot tubs have been shown to lower sperm counts. Have a shower instead.
Alcohol can damage sperm. Limit your alcohol intake when you are trying to improve your fertility.
There are a number of drugs that affect fertility, amongst them are steroids, cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatments and opiates. Contact your family doctor if you are on any long term medication that you are worried may affect your fertility. Doctors should always inform you of any side effects but it is always easy to check if you have forgotten.
There is quite a lot of conflicting evidence about the substances that may cause damage to sperm. It is known that radiation causes damage and birth defects. Other substances thought to have a detrimental effect on sperm are some perfumes containing phthalates, some types of pesticides, organic mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, estrogens in water supply. Many of these substances are still the subject of on-going research.
Smokers have been shown to be up to half as fertile as non smokers.
Time of day
Sperm counts are higher in the morning so a.m. intercourse is best for baby making!
Excessive ejaculation and prolonged abstinence.
Both are known to affect the number and quality of sperm. Intercourse every 2 to 3 days helps maintain volume.
A healthy balanced diet is important. Healthy body healthy sperm!
Folic acid in combination with zinc sulfate has been shown to have often dramatic effects on sperm counts. Some men when taking these supplements increased their sperm count by as much as 74 per cent.
If you are concerned about your potency and think your sperm are not fit and healthy contact your family doctor. Some simple tests on your semen and a look at your general fitness will provide some answers.