Optimizing Male Fertility
5 Changes Men Can Make to Increase Their Fertility
Here are 5 five most important changes men should make to optimize their chances of fertility. It most likely comes as no surprise that the healthier your body is, the better chance you have of being fertile.
- Take off (or gain) those extra pounds. There is a direct correlation between weight and fertility. Being underweight – as well as overweight – can affect sperm quantity and health, as well as feelings of self-esteem, libido and sexual performance. Men should aim for a body mass index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.9. You can use the NIH’s online BMI calculator to get a close estimate of your own BMI and then make conscious decisions to alter it in the right direction. If you’re an extreme athlete (the most common reason to have a BMI in the 18 and under bracket), it might be time to tone down the workouts especially if you and your partner are trying to get pregnant
- Stop smoking (and drinking excessively and taking recreational drugs). Yep, all those habits you know you should kick? Now’s the time to take that knowing seriously and actually kick them. From smoking cigarettes to excessive drinking (3 or more drinks per day), and every illicit drug - all have a proven, negative effect on fertility. While marijuana is legal in Washington, pot has a negative effect on sperm so it’s worth forgoing the high in the name of fertility. You might realize your dependence on these substances was stronger than you thought, which makes it the perfect time to speak with a healthcare professional or a licensed therapist as these issues are best left behind before you become a parent.
- Make a few changes your diet. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), healthy diets – that include lean proteins and fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and minimal processed foods – are integral to optimal fertility. Make the appropriate changes to your diet and your body will thank you. Other ingredients or nutrients shown to positively impact male fertility include Vitamin C and antioxidants, Folate (folic acid), zinc, vitamin E and selenium. Taking a high-quality multivitamin is a good way to make sure your body is getting what it needs.
- Don’t wait too long to have children. It turns out that women aren’t the only ones who are susceptible to a biological clock. While women’s biological clocks might be ticking faster and louder, studies show that the older men are, the more likely they are to have fertility problems, babies born with chromosomal and/or genetic birth defects and the more likely it is for their partner to suffer a miscarriage. If you’re 45-years or older, do all you can to optimize your fertility chances by living a healthy lifestyle, and be aware that it will probably take you longer than the typical 6 to 12-months for your partner to get pregnant.
- Schedule a physical with your physician. Our busy lives and work schedules often prevent us from seeking routine preventive care. Latent health issues – like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, pre-type 2 or type 2 diabetes – can negatively impact fertility. Fertile couples typically get pregnant within the first 6- to 12-months of trying to conceive.
If you think you may have a fertility issue, give our Urology department at Palouse Specialty Physicians a call.
Published on August 2, 2018