Sperm counts have been declining year on year since the 1930s. 4 in 10 men now have impaired fertility and 40% of all conception problems are down to defective sperm. Here are 10 simple measures that can give your sperm a boost.
1. Keeping your testicles cool
The best sperm-making temperature is between 3 -5C, and an increase of just 1 degree can hinder production.
You can keep your testicles cool by:
– Choosing showers over baths.
– Choosing non-synthetic boxers over briefs.
– NOT using your laptop on your lap. Laptops are bad news for sperm counts. They can increase scrotal temperature by almost 3 degrees in just 15 minutes. Use it at a desk instead, or position it on the sofa next to you. If you absolutely must have it on your lap, then try to keep your legs apart and get up every once in a while to air things out.
2. Taking supplements and vitamins
Zinc is vital to sperm production: it’s needed to make the outer layer and tail. Consuming just 15mg per day has been scientifically proven to increase fertility. You can get your zinc naturally from oysters, lamb, veal, liver, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. Or in supplements which come pretty cheap from most health food shops.
Try to meet your daily allowance of Vitamin C too, as that’s another important factor for fertility. Drinking 4 glasses of fresh orange juice a day can help defective sperm drop from 20% to 11%.
3. Avoiding stress
Emotional stress can interfere with the sperm-producing hormones. Light exercise, relaxation techniques and spending time doing the activities you enjoy can all help with stress.
If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, don’t get hung up on it and talk about things out in the open, pent up emotions will only lead to more stress and anxiety.
4. Exercising (but in moderation)
Moderate exercise boosts fertility by keeping body weight at normal levels and relieving stress and anxiety. But too much can lead to testosterone deficiency and low sperm count. You should aim for 1 hour of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise (this includes gardening and walking) three times per week.
5. Having sex frequently
Human beings are actually pretty infertile. A young, healthy couple only has a 20 – 25% of falling pregnant from one sexual encounter. So, the more you do it, the better your odds! Daily ejaculation also improves sperm quality (by 12%) by reducing the amount of time sperm are exposed to damaging molecules in the body.
6. Keeping clean of STIs
It isn’t just women who are at risk of lasting infertility from STIs. Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia can cause testicles to shrink and lose their function. Always wear condoms with casual encounters and get tested for STIs regularly.
7. Avoiding tap water
Tap water has loads health benefits, but boosting male fertility isn’t one of them. There are chemicals in tap water called ‘anti-androgens’ which can block testosterone and inhibit sperm production and function. It’s even caused some male fish to grow female organs. Stick to bottled water or invest in a water filter when trying for a baby.
8. Stopping smoking
Male smokers are 30% more likely to struggle conceiving. The harmful products of tobacco smoking can kill sperm cells. Cut back if you’re trying to get pregnant.
9. Not doing drugs
Regular cannabis smoking lowers sperm count and decreases the volume of seminal fluid (the fluid that carries sperm). Cocaine and heroin deplete libido, reduce sperm mobility and create abnormally shaped sperm that raise the risk of miscarriage, even if you do conceive. Anabolic steroids cause testicular shrinkage and infertility.
10. Having sex early
Testosterone levels are highest in the mornings and that’s when semen has the highest sperm count too. It can often take a while for a couple to have a baby, so it’s important to keep trying and not get disheartened if it doesn’t happen right away.