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The focus on fertility often centres on women but men's reproductive health is as important. Read our tops fertility tips for men to improve your chances.
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s understandable to focus all the attention on the woman and her diet and lifestyle. But just as it takes two to make a baby, fertility issues can affect both men and women. Read on for some fertility tips and advice
De-stress and exercise
Try to keep stress to a minimum. Easy to say, but not so easy to do, especially if you have a stressful job. Studies have shown that stress can reduce levels of testosterone and affect reproductive health. Regular, moderate exercise can help with reducing stress levels as well as promoting overall health – even if it’s just going for a walk.
Watch his weight
Being overweight or underweight can both have a negative effect on fertility. Healthy weight is calculated in a measure called BMI, or body mass index, which looks at height in relation to weight. Too much weight (a BMI of more than 25) can cause a hormonal imbalance affecting the quality and quantity of sperm. Being underweight (a BMI of less than 18.5) means it’s likely your body is lacking in the proteins and nutrients that help make healthy sperm, so a healthy BMI (a figure of 18.5 to 24.9) is what you should be aiming for. Use an online BMI calculator, such as the one on the NHS website, to find out your BMI.
The best environment for the production of sperm is a cool one, which is why the testicles are located outside the body. Ideally, the testicles should be around 2°C cooler than the rest of the body. Tight underwear, hot showers and baths, and even regular use of a computer on your lap could increase the temperature and slow sperm production.
Drinking and smoking
If you are drinking more than four units of alcohol per day, you could be damaging testosterone levels and reducing sperm count. But the good news is that if you reduce your drinking and stick to the recommended daily guidelines for men, the effects can be quickly reversed. Smoking also damages sperm and has the added negative effect of lowering sex drive, so now is a good time to give up.
Diet and vitamins
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help give your body everything it needs for a healthy reproductive system. Some nutrients have been shown to be particularly beneficial in improving sperm quantity and quality, as well as overall reproductive health. For example, selenium improves sperm motility and zinc boosts testosterone. You’ll find vitamin and mineral supplements specially designed to boost men’s fertility, containing these elements and many more in the vitamins aisle.
By Anna Penniceard