Conception can take time, but men can speed things up by boosting their fertility and improving the health of their sperm. If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, here are 14 things you can do to increase the chances you’ll conceive a healthy pregnancy.
- Be aware that a healthy pregnancy takes two- fathers to be need to take steps to improve the health of their sperm and their fertility when planning a pregnancy;
Pregnancy diet for men
- Eat a healthy balanced diet which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats (instead of saturated fats) to improve sperm motility (how well they swim);
- Include selenium rich foods like nuts, poultry, fish and meat in your diet or consider a selenium supplement to increase sperm production and concentration;
- Limit your intake of soy products which contain a natural version of the female hormone oestrogen- too much oestrogen could reduce sperm concentration;
- Maintain a healthy weight as being overweight or obese can impair sperm production. The more fat there is in a man’s body, the more his male hormone testosterone is converted to the female hormone oestrogen- and sperm production needs testosterone not oestrogen. Fat around the thighs can also insulate the testes and too much heat down there reduces male fertility;
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits as they contain high levels of antioxidants. Not only will this help keep your weight under control but conditions like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity, are associated with oxidative stress; that is the presence of unstable molecules which can react and damage surrounding cells like sperm. The antioxidants found in vegetables and fruits absorb these unstable molecules and help to protect sperm;
- Quit smoking (if you haven’t already) as smoking reduces the concentration of sperm in the semen and affects the quality of sperm (e.g. their ability to swim to find an egg) and the integrity of the DNA they contain;
- Limit alcohol consumption as alcohol negatively affects the production of male hormones which are needed to produce healthy sperm;
- Avoid recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine which reduce sperm concentration and reduce the production of male hormones needed for sperm production. Performance enhancing drugs like steroids also negatively affect hormones and should be avoided;
- Talk to your doctor about how any prescription and over the counter medicines you use may affect your fertility. You may need to change some medications while you’re trying to conceive;
Healthy lifestyle to boost male fertility
- Get active as physical activity is good for your health in general and will also help you maintain a healthy weight and improve the health of your sperm, but avoid cycling which can be hard on the testicles;
- Treat any sexual problems like erectile dysfunction and sexually transmitted diseases. If you can’t maintain an erection and have sex, getting pregnant is very unlikely. But even if you’re doing okay when it comes to getting it up, sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea which may not produce any symptoms, can affect the health of your sperm and reduce your chances of getting pregnant;
- Be aware that when it comes to conception, age matters, even for men. Sperm quality deteriorates gradually as a man ages and the likelihood of conditions like erectile dysfunction increases. You can’t turn back the clock but if you’re older, a little extra pregnancy planning might be called for;
- Turn down the testicle heat as sperm don’t like being too hot. This is particularly important for guys who work in hot environments like bakeries, but also applies to white collar workers who might sit with their laptop too close to their testes.
More information on pregnancy planning for dads
|For more information on preparing yourself for conception, see Pregnancy planning for dads.
|For more information on the types and amount of food you should eat to make yourself ready for pregnancy, see Eating to optimise male fertility and sperm health.
|For more information on optimising the health of you, your sperm, and the likelihood that you and your partner will conceive, see Detox to improve male fertility.
|For more information on fertility and lifestyle changes that can increase the chance of conception, see Other lifestyle measures to boost male fertility.