Conceiving a child is a joint effort, it takes two to tango as it were. When couples are trying for a baby and things do not happen quite as quickly as they had expected the pressure is often put on the prospective Mum to Be to discover what is “wrong” with her. That however is a very unfair presumption to make as healthy sperm is not always a given, even for prospective Dads to Be who like to think of themselves as super fit and strong!
What Makes Sperm Healthy?
Overall sperm health is judged by several different factors:
Quantity: To be considered healthy a man’s ejaculate – the semen that is discharged on a single occasion – should consist of at least 15 million sperm per milliliter. This is the number that most doctors all over the world use to judge whether a potential Daddy’s sperm count is “low” or “high” (or just right)
This is not something you can count for yourself of course – unless you happen to be a scientist with an electron microscope lying around the house – but it would be one of the first things a specialist will check if a couple seeks help because they are having difficulty conceiving.
Quality: The more “normal” Sperm a man can produce the better. An example of normal is considered to be sperm that have long tails and oval heads. These two factors help the sperm swim better and reach their goal alive. Some abnormal sperm are inevitable but the more healthy ones there are the better.
Movement : A sperm’s job is to swim, and keep swimming, until it reaches the ultimate prize – the egg waiting to be fertilized. The better they move the more likely it is that they can get their job done.
What Daddy Can Do to Improve His Sperm
Even if you have just begun trying for a baby, or its still a part of your plan for the future, its never too early to start trying to ensure that your sperm are as healthy as possible. Here are some simple steps you can take to do just that:
Each a Healthier Diet – A diet that contains plenty of fruit and vegetables is a good idea in general but just like a prospective Mum to be is advised to clean up her diet and cut out the junk then the same is true for a Dad to be. Choosing to add foods that are high in antioxidants is a great move as well as a lot of recent research has indicated that a higher level of antioxidants in the body help to improve sperm health.
Move More – If you are not a big fan of the gym, or of even walking too far down the street then if you and your partner are trying to conceive then it is time for that to change as a healthier overall body leads to healthier sperm.
Try to Drop Those Extra Pounds – Research has found that the more overweight a man is the more likely it is that they are not as fertile as they could be, especially if they have a BMI that is 30 or higher. Extra weight affects both sperm mobility and sperm count and even a small amount of weight loss can make a positive difference.
Manage Stress Better – Its very hard, we all live stressful lives, but finding ways to cut your stress level when trying to conceive is very important. It does not really matter what you do to relax – meditate, work out, play a video game – as long as you try to let go of some of all that stress.
What Daddy Might be Doing to Damage His Sperm
There are some habits that you may have that may be damaging the health of sperm without you even realizing it. all of the following can affect sperm health and damage your fertility:
Not Making an Effort to Stay Cool – Most guys have heard that tight fitting underwear can have an adverse effect on their fertility and may have thought that was an old wives tale but extensive research has proved that really is the case. So can many other things that raise the temperature of the scrotal area including hot tubs and saunas and even remaining seated for long periods of time every day. Another more recent issue is the use of laptops. If you must use one don’t use it on your lap, find a table or even a book for support instead.
Smoking – Smoking cigarettes is terrible for your health in general but it really can affect the quality of your sperm. Giving up is a good idea anyway as you won’t want anyone smoking around your new Baby once they finally arrive.
Smoking tobacco is bad but researchers have found that smoking marijuana is even worse and will often result in a higher than usual number of abnormal and misshapen sperm.
Heavy Drinking – Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts – about 3 to 4 units a day for a man – is unlikely to affect sperm health but heavy drinking can cause serious sperm damage and heavy drinkers often have a much harder time “performing” in the bedroom anyway, something that is rather counterproductive to trying to conceive!
Spending too Much Time at the Drive Thru – Guys do have a tendency to be drawn in by the siren song of the fast food window. The problem is that the average fast food burger and fries meal, especially the super sized ones, have about the same amount of good nutritional value as the cardboard boxes they come in and junk food certainly has no place in a healthy preconception diet.
Leaving it Too Late – Women have “biological clocks” and so do men. Usually by the time a man reaches the age of 50 their sperm count has significantly decreased. More worryingly though perhaps research has shown that women who conceive with an older man (over 50) are at higher risk of both miscarriage and of having a baby afflicted with autism and schizophrenia.
These are just a few of the major things that can affect sperm health. Men who are concerned about their fertility should discuss the issue with their doctor, especially so that a more serious cause that might exist can be ruled out.