Enhance your sperm health for the best chance of pregnancy
Planning and starting a family is deeply personal, emotional and exciting. But sometimes it can be a stressful experience when your plans for a family are not going as expected, and days of significance that bring families together, like Fathers’ Day, can be tough.
Future dads, as you know, you’ve got an equally important role to play in achieving a healthy pregnancy, and your sperm needs to be just as healthy as women’s eggs to get the best chances of a pregnancy. This is just as true whether you’re a sperm donor or wanting to become a parent through surrogacy.
The good news is that there are some practical things you can do to enhance your sperm health.
Dr Andy Stamatiou, fertility specialist at City Fertility Brisbane CBD, says, “there’s no doubt about it, sperm quality impacts on fertility, and the lifestyle choices men make for up to three months before conception can have an effect.”
Lifestyle to improve your sperm health
You might be an active outdoors guy or the stay-at-home type. Whether you love to cook, have a few drinks with your mates or jamming at home on a guitar, there are some changes you might need to make to your lifestyle to enhance your fertility health:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid smoking
- Limit your alcohol intake by drinking in moderation for at least 3 months before conception
- Quit recreational drugs, including marijuana and anabolic steroids
- Review your prescription medications and consider a vitamin supplement to improve your sperm’s DNA quality
- Reduce stress
- Keep cool – avoid hot spas, saunas, tight jeans or even sitting with your computer on your lap
- Manage exposure to toxins and use protective safety equipment in the workplace to avoid chemicals in pesticides, paints, flame retardants and diesel fumes, among others.
What can affect your sperm health?
Reduced sperm health has been linked to decreased fertilisation rates, poor embryonic development, miscarriage and birth defects.
The most common factors recognised as having a negative effect on sperm quality are:
- Poor diet;
- Body mass index (BMI) – too low and too high
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs;
- Medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes;
- Environmental factors, including exposure to chemicals, toxins and heat;
- Recent illness (before, during or after 3 months of treatment) resulting in high fevers;
- Advanced age; and
Check your sperm health
Dr Stamatiou says “there is more to sperm quality than sperm count (volume) and sperm motility (speed) and morphology (size and shape). We now know through research that sperm with high levels of DNA fragmentation have a lower probability of producing a successful pregnancy, higher chances of miscarriages and reduction in term pregnancies.”
“You can have a semen analysis to evaluate the amount and quality of your semen and sperm to determine potential fertility and then look at possible treatment options.”
“Sperm DNA Fragmentation is a test that provides a reliable analysis of sperm DNA integrity and may help to identify men who are at risk of failing to initiate a healthy, ongoing pregnancy. Information about sperm DNA integrity may help in the clinical diagnosis, management and treatment of male infertility.”
“The desire to become a parent is independent of sex, sexuality or gender identity, and there are also many different paths to parenthood, whether as a couple or sole parent, and it also includes adoption, foster care and surrogacy.”
“On Father’s Day, we celebrate all kinds of dads, and wish those future dads the best fertility health for their parenting journey,” Dr Stamatiou said.
At City Fertility we recommend you seek medical advice from your GP or a specialist if you have been trying for a pregnancy without success after 12 months of unprotected intercourse, or six months if you are over 35. If you are a sperm donor or part of a surrogacy arrangement, it’s also important to know that your sperm is healthy. Read more about sperm health here.
Book an appointment or contact our team on 1300 354 354 to organise a sperm health check.