Dr Derek Lok shares tips for improving the health of sperm
When it comes to conception, if there is a problem, many assume there is an issue with the woman’s reproductive system. But, male infertility is real and it’s more common than you might think.
In about 40 per cent of cases where couples have trouble conceiving, the problem lies with the man. It’s normally the quality or quantity of sperm that affects his fertility.
There will be a decrease in fertility if the sperm are:
- Not being produced in adequate numbers or not swimming well
- Do not have the right shape to penetrate an egg
- Being produced, but an obstruction prevents them from reaching the outside world
- Carrying faulty or damaged genetic material
- Stimulating antibody production in either partner resulting in the destruction of the sperm
For many men the reason for these abnormalities is not able to be explained. Factors such as genetic disorders, undescended testis, infections, heat, drugs or radiation damage are known to disrupt the production of healthy sperm. In many cases there are no treatments to correct poor sperm production which means that assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation treatment are required.
Here, Dr Derek Lok a specialist at fertility group Genea shares his top tips for improving the health of sperm:
Maintain a healthy BMI. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly; being overweight can affect sperm quality.
Don’t smoke or take recreational drugs as both can affect sperm health and can impair your sex drive.
Excessive alcohol can reduce the quantity and quality of sperm. Try not to drink any more than eight standard drinks per week.
Check any prescription medications with a GP, as some can affect sperm health and sexual function.
The testicles need to be a few degrees cooler than normal body temperature. If not, they can have trouble making sperm. Avoid spas, saunas and hot baths.
Ensure you have a healthy balanced diet. Providing your body with the right nutrients will encourage healthy sperm production.
Male fertility can be affected by age, so plan parenthood before the age of 35-40.
Have sex two or three times a week, particularly around the time of ovulation. Regular ejaculation helps increase the quality of sperm.
“If you’ve been having regular unprotected sex for more than a year and haven’t conceived, see a fertility specialist. Modern treatment is highly effective in treating male infertility,” says Dr Lok.