The magic potion that will ensure the fertility of your spouse does not exist. But with good lifestyle habits, you can put the odds in your favor.
About 10-15% of couples are infertile, and in nearly 50% of cases, the cause is male. Male infertility can be linked to an obstruction in the genital tract that prevents sperm from reaching the female. But it is also often linked to poor sperm production.
Good news: by changing a few habits, your partner can improve the quantity and quality of his sperm. Two specialists offer their best advice: Dr. Serge Carrier, a urologist at the Mc Gill Reproduction Centre, and R.-Marc Pelletier, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal and specialist in spermatogenesis.
1. Avoid heat near the testicles. “Spermatogenesis – the birth of spermatozoa – is completed at a temperature of 35° Celsius. This is done in the testicles, which are precisely located outside the body to provide an appropriately temperate environment,” says R.-Marc Pelletier. Keeping the testicles warm interferes with sperm production. This is why the professor suggests not taking hot baths every day, avoiding working long hours with a laptop on your thighs, and not wearing too tight underwear.
2. Have a balanced diet. A good diet keeps you healthy and allows all systems to function well, including the reproductive system. “On the other hand, a poor diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies, which harms fertility, points out Dr. Serge Carrier. We often recommend that men who come to see us in a fertility clinic take multivitamins, in particular, to ensure that they have enough vitamins A, C, and E, which are beneficial for fertility. Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can also have a positive effect on sperm quality and quantity.”
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity affect the secretion of testosterone, says Dr. Carrier, a hormone that affects the production and motility of sperm. European researchers have also demonstrated in 2011 that the concentration of spermatozoa drops by 10% in overweight men compared to those of normal weight and by 20% in obese men.
4. Reduce stress. Finding ways to decrease stress and better manage it helps improve fertility. Everyone has their own method: you can exercise more or learn relaxation or meditation techniques. One thing is certain, stress reduces the chances of conceiving. It affects erectile function and fertility in men. “Placed in a constant state of alert, the body expends a lot of energy. It performs the essential functions, but is no longer very available for spermatogenesis”, summarizes Mr. Pelletier.
5. Limit exposure to pesticides. “These poisons target the fertility of insects and we realize that they also affect male fertility,” notes Professor Pelletier. “I had a farmer patient whose programs were always better at the end of winter than in September, after a season in the fields, adds Dr. Carrier. Pesticides affect sperm production.” Organic food is, therefore, an excellent idea for boosting fertility.
- Do not expect too much: the fertility of the man, like that of the woman, declines from the age of 35.
- Quit smoking, because tobacco harms the quality and vitality of sperm.
- Consult after a year of unsuccessful trial, or after 6 months if you are 35 and over.