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You are here: Home > Fertility & Trying to Conceive > Fertility Concerns

Male Fertility Basics

by Katlyn Joy
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When trying to conceive a child, usually the focus quickly becomes about the woman. However men can do a lot to help conception be a success usually with simple lifestyle changes. If after a year, pregnancy is not achieved consultation with a doctor about fertility issues is recommended. For the man, simple semen analysis will be the major source of information about potential problems.

Lifestyle Issues: Healthy Habits

If a man wants to start a family, good habits should be started. Eating a nutritious diet especially rich in antioxidants and minerals such as folic acid, zinc and selenium and omega 3 fatty oils help sperm health. Taking a daily vitamin that contains vitamin E and vitamin C are good choices for men who want families. However even too much of a good thing can be detrimental, as too much exercise that pushes a man to his limits can result in lowered sperm counts temporarily. Being overweight can affect both sperm count and sperm quality so aim to keep your weight in a normal range to protect fertility.

Lifestyle Issues: Stopping Bad Habits

Besides adopting a healthy lifestyle, it's also important to avoid bad habits such as smoking. Tobacco may alter sperm and result in damage to a baby's growth and development and may be linked to cancer in offspring. Drink no more than a couple alcoholic drinks a day as alcohol affects sperm quality and quantity. Recreational drugs pose risks for men as well as women wanting to conceive. Marijuana increases the risk of abnormal sperm while cocaine and other drugs can cause problems having sex due to erectile dysfunction.

Lifestyle Issues: Keeping Your Cool

Anything that raises the temperature of the scrotum results in lowered sperm production. Some things that should be avoided include biking beyond a half hour, particularly when wearing tight bike shorts. Besides being questionable fashion-wise, they raise the temp too high. Taking regular breaks can help while bicycling.

Avoid overly hot baths or hot tubs for the same reasons. To avoid an issue, limit exposure to less than 30 minutes and keep the temperature at 104 degrees or less.

Holding a laptop or other high tech gadget above the scrotal region will also affect sperm by raising the temperature. Studies have linked cell phones in pants pockets to reduced fertility in men. Even a fever can change sperm production.

Besides physical heat issues, it's also important to keep your emotional cool. Stress is linked to lowered male fertility. Meditation, relaxation exercises and simple breathing techniques are all helpful.

Lifestyle Issues: Other Tips

Don't use lubricants during sex. Lubes, lotions and even saliva are all off limits. However, you can use vegetable oil safely.

Working in an overly warm environment or in places that may expose you to toxins can all lower male fertility. Pesticides and chemicals should especially be avoided. Safety measures like appropriate clothing, masks and gloves should always be used.

If you want to start a family, discuss any prescription drugs with your physician. Certain drugs are problematic for men wanting to get their partner pregnant. Antibiotics, steroids, hypertension drugs, and many cancer treatments are among the offending medications.

Doing the Deed

If you want to get pregnant, you need to have sex. And plenty of it. Those with a good sperm count should have sex daily to increase conception odds, while those with lowered counts should aim for sex every other day to give sperm a chance to build back up. If you have sex more than once daily the sperm supply will be diminished.

Should tests indicate a problem with sperm, often there are treatment options available. The type of treatment depends on the reason for infertility. Often simple lifestyle changes are all that are needed, however.


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