If you’re suffering from infertility, follow these four tips to increase your chances of pregnancy.
Although female infertility is more often discussed, approximately one-third of all infertility cases can be attributed to male reproductive issues. Therefore, if a couple is unable to conceive after a year of trying, both partners should undergo fertility testing.
If a man is experiencing infertility, there are several ways to increase the chances of pregnancy. The first step is determining the underlying cause of infertility in order to best address the problem.
What Is Male Fertility Testing?
Male fertility testing centers on three factors: sperm count, sperm quality, and sperm motility. The majority of male infertility is due to poor sperm quality and low sperm count.
- Sperm Count. Fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or 30 million sperm per ejaculation is considered a low sperm count.
- Sperm Quality. Sperm quality or morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm. To fertilize an egg, about 30% of the sperm must be of good quality.
- Sperm Motility. A sperm motility test assesses the percentage of active sperm. Fertile men have at least 50% of their sperm classified as active.
The causes of male infertility range from medical issues such as a varicocele (a swelling of the veins in the testicles), infection, undescended testicles, blockages in the reproductive organs, and hormonal imbalances. There can also be lifestyle factors, including obesity, stress, and alcohol and drug use. Working in overheated environments and having undergone radiation treatments can also affect male fertility.
The good news is that men have several options available to enhance their fertility. Some health conditions may be reversed with medical treatment or lifestyle changes. Varicocele, for example, can be treated by removing the swollen veins, and antibiotics can cure an infection.
Ways to Increase Male Fertility
Men looking to boost their fertility can start with these four tips:
1. Exercise. Regular exercise increases testosterone levels, which also increases semen quality. Plus, working out helps to control weight and therefore improve fertility. However, high intensity workouts or exercising too much could reduce testosterone levels. The best option is for men to stay physically active, but not overdo it.
2. Supplements. Some dietary supplements have been shown to boost male fertility. For example, a study of D-aspartic acid (D-AA), a form of aspartic acid, found low D-AA levels in infertile men. As a result, some studies have suggested that taking D-AA could increase testosterone levels and therefore fertility. A medicinal herb from India, ashwagandha, has also been studied for its effect on male fertility. One study found that it increased sperm count by 167%, semen volume by 53%, and sperm motility by 57% after 90 days of treatment. As with any medicine, men should discuss using these supplements with their doctors.
3. Vitamins and Minerals. Vitamins and minerals may have an effect on male fertility as well. One study found that vitamin D may raise testosterone levels, and another study concluded that the antioxidant-fighting qualities of vitamin C can improve semen quality, count, and motility in infertile men. Further, taking zinc supplements to counteract low zinc levels may increase testosterone levels and sperm count.
4. Healthy Lifestyle. In general, a healthy lifestyle supports male fertility. Cutting out harmful habits like smoking, illicit drugs, and excessive alcohol intake will likely strengthen reproductive health.
Overcoming Male Infertility
If you’ve been diagnosed with a low sperm count or another cause of infertility, the specialists at New York Reproductive Wellness can recommend effective treatments or help you pursue alternative solutions. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), for instance, are two methods that can assist a couple in conceiving a child. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.