Healthier Sperm Increase a Couple's Chances of Conception
If you've decided you want to become a dad, also wanting to commit to a healthier lifestyle is only natural, not just to increase your chances of conception but to feel like a better person and become the good role model you know your child will need. That can be powerful motivation, but conception requires looking beyond obvious healthy habits such as a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Many other factors are involved in a man's role in conceiving a healthy, happy child.
Stress has a greater physiological effect than most people realize. It does more than make you tense and irritable; it can impair sexual function and contribute to hormonal imbalance, which is bad for the production of healthy and abundant sperm, or male gametes. So how do you simply shed stress and go about your reproductive business? Well, you don't—it's not quite that cut-and-dried.
Men who are under pressure at work and trying to maintain balance at home can't simply make stress go away. For a man who wants to be a father, making time for family and modeling good parenting are important. Learning to relax and making self-care a priority are habits; they are learned behavior. Maintaining healthy sperm depends on your overall health, and achieving that may mean building self-care practices into your daily routine.
The need to exercise doesn't cease once you've put the lawnmower away. Your body and sense of personal well-being need regular physical activity and its endorphin-releasing effects. If getting to the gym each day is impractical, try taking the stairs to your office instead of the elevator. Take a strenuous walk at lunchtime. How about jumping up and down? That's right. Simply jumping up and down for five minutes without stopping may not sound like a big deal, but it'll have you huffing and puffing, and your heart will be pumping. Do it every day and you will be rewarded with an improved mental outlook and healthier sperm, as well as a trimmer physique.
Boxers, not briefs
The question of whether underwear is a factor in male fertility was long considered an old wives' tale (and was once the basis for a terrific "Seinfeld" episode), but medical science has come down firmly on the side of boxers for men who want to father children. Scrotal temperature is extremely important for the manufacture of healthy sperm, and a male package stuffed into a pair of briefs is a good bet to turn up the heat on your testicles. That is not what you want.
A 2018 Harvard study found that men who wore boxers had 25 percent higher sperm concentration in their semen samples than men who did not wear boxers. The boxer guys had higher sperm counts and higher percentages of motile sperm, meaning their sperm were better at maneuvering through the female reproductive system and fertilizing a partner's egg. Maybe there's something to be said for that nice snug-and-safe feeling below the waist, but not if you're trying to practice procreation.
Forgo the booze
Regular drinking, particularly heavy drinking, can shrink a male's testes, leading to reduced testosterone. Imbibing your favorite alcoholic beverage is not helping you in the baby-making business. Studies show that alcohol can hamper sperm quality and even alter the shape, size and motility of sperm.
Fortunately, once you stop or significantly scale down your alcohol intake, the news gets much better. Healthy sperm production tends to return after about three months of alcohol abstinence, a Reproductive BioMedicine Online study revealed.
Staying committed to a monogamous relationship or at least using a condom properly can go a long way toward preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, both of which can lead to infertility. STIs tend to attack the reproductive region through which sperm travels, rather than the source of sperm production itself. Either way, the last thing you want when trying to impregnate your mate is a burning sensation in the urinary tract.
Save the sperm
There's really no mystery to producing healthy sperm. It involves the same formula for keeping other parts of your body healthy. A nutritious diet, exercise, common sense and a commitment to safe and responsible sexual behavior will usually produce positive results.