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HOW TO IMPROVE MALE FERTILITY
Globally, 1 in 6 people will be impacted by infertility and will have trouble conceiving. As most of the attention when it comes to having a baby falls to women, it is often assumed that infertility is a woman’s issue. But the importance of male health when it comes to fertility and conception is often overlooked. Here, we take a look at how to improve male fertility. It’s time to draw attention to the importance of mens’ role in conception, and in infertility – after all, the male factor contributes to around 30% of infertility cases in heterosexual couples. You may be surprised to learn that in the last 50 years human sperm counts fell by 1.2% each year between 1973 and 2018 across 53 countries. That equates to a huge drop of more than 50%.
What causes infertility in men?
A considerable proportion of fertility problems in heterosexual couples are as a result of a fertility issue with the man. One of the biggest risk factors for infertility in men, like women, is age. As we get older our fertility declines. Although this drop in fertility is slower in men than women, the risk of birth defects and genetic issues increases for men over 40.
A condition called azoospermia accounts for 10-15% of male infertility. Azoospermia is when no sperm is found in the ejaculate. This could be because there is an obstruction, or because there is an issue inhibiting sperm production. Other common reasons for infertility include hormone problems, infections, undescended testicles, genetic abnormalities, scarring or damage to the testicles, chemotherapy and radiation, and even exposure to toxins in the environment. STIs are another common cause of infertility – this includes the likes of syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV, and even chlamydia. Many STIs can go undetected for years because they have no symptoms. Unfortunately, around half of male infertility is unexplained. This means that after fertility testing and sperm assessment, no medical cause can be found. Although this sounds disheartening, many people with unexplained infertility go on to conceive with the help of a fertility clinic. If you do have fertility problems then a clinic will have the knowledge and expertise to uncover what is going on. If issues with sperm are found, the good news is that there are treatments that could help. If you are looking for a fertility clinic in London you will be spoilt for choice! London is home to some of the world’s finest fertility doctors.
How to boost male fertility
There is a strong link between overall health and reproductive health. Here are some lifestyle changes you can apply at home in the first instance if you are concerned about your fertility:
- Drink only in moderation
- Reduce stress where possible
- Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking
- Avoid recreational drugs
- Review antibiotic medications as some can impact sperm
- Avoid being in hot temperatures for extended period of time (i.e. a hot tub)
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a varied diet rich in omega 3, lean meats, and vegetables
If you have applied the above changes and are still having trouble conceiving, it’s time to seek help. In some cases, lifestyle changes are not enough because the underlying issue is the result of a health condition. In these instances, professional help is likely required to help you and your partner conceive.
Getting help conceiving
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant and you have any reason to suspect you may have issues with fertility you should seek advice from a fertility clinic as soon as possible.
You should also seek guidance from a healthcare professional if:
- You are a man over 40
- Your female partner is 35 or older
- You have been trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully for 12 months
Any fertility clinic will carry out a range of fertility tests to understand if there are any underlying issues for yourself and/or your partner with the goal of resolving problems and helping you achieve your goal of becoming parents.