Male Fertility     

Male infertility is the most common reason for couples attending an IVF clinic and while IVF/ICSI provide a bypass procedure, they are not a cure for male infertility.

Approximately 1 in 20 Australian men are affected by infertility. This figure is slowly increasing and is thought to be a result of changing environmental conditions, and increasing age of men who are trying to conceive. Male fertility also decreases with age.

A man aged 35 years has only half the chance of conceiving compared to a 25-year-old man.

The good news is, there is a lot that you can do to improve your sperm. You may need to modify some aspects of your diet and lifestyle for a few months – however you will feel better for it and if your sperm respond well then you may not need to use IVF.

Smoking

If your sperm quality is compromised ceasing smoking ( of any sort) is a must. The evidence is in that all smoking has a negative impact on sperm quality.

Diet 

Keep it simple;  just eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and have adequate protein. This is also one challenge where supplements can benefit:

Supplements

Seminal fluid needs high levels of antioxidants to protect the sperm from oxidative damage to sperm membranes and DNA during their 90 day development. Zinc, vitamins E and C, CoQ10, selenium and carnitine have all been shown to improve sperm quality, as have a number of Chinese herbs.

Exercise 

No need to suddenly start running marathons, simply keep up regular exercise. It also goes a long way to help manage:

Stress

Infertility causes stress and in a cruel vicious cycle, stress has been shown to reduce sperm quality. Manage stress by taking some time each day to relax or exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep. Regular acupuncture may assist in reducing stress hormones.

Sex

Frequent sex improves the quality, while a few days abstinence increases the quantity of sperm. If your partner knows when she ovulates then sex daily around this time is recommended. If not, then it is advisable to have sex every second day from when the period finishes and continue for 10 days (or more if your partner has a long cycle).

Fumes

We know that men exposed to chemicals or fumes at their work place have lower sperm counts and poorer morphology. Try and limit exposure at work and at home.

Varicole and anti sperm antibodies 

A number of clinical studies have shown the beneficial effect of acupuncture and Chinese herbs in improving sperm quality and fertility in both these conditions.

Clothing

The manufacture of sperm works better at cooler temperatures (hence the testicles are carried outside the body) so you may benefit by avoiding wearing tight jeans and tight underpants.

Some further Reading:

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