"There are supplements that you can take to increase fertility"
Around 15 per cent of couples are affected by infertility, an unfortunate statistic. Often women are the ones faced with societal pressure and burdened with a ticking biological clock. However, the focus of fertility is appearing to shift towards men.
Research has reported that men reaching the ‘advanced paternal age’ between 35 to 45 should freeze their sperm. Beside decreased fertility levels, older sperm is said to suffer in ‘fitness’, and can increase risk of pregnancy and birthing complications, disorders and diseases in infants, and preterm birth.
Stress is particularly vulnerable to high stress, something relatively prevalent in the 21st century — it’s been recorded that sperm counts in Western men have been dropping by roughly 60 per cent since the 1970s. Although it’s best for both partners to be alert when it comes to fertility levels, this article will look at things that affect fertility and methods men can focus on to improve it.
High levels of stress
Granted, it’s near enough impossible to avoid encountering any type of stress in our lives. However, if you experience high levels for a prolonged amount of time, this can be harmful towards your sperm count. Research by Columbia University found that stress hormones, such as glucocorticoids, can reduce levels of testosterone and sperm production. In turn, this can affect the concentration and ability to fertilise an egg. Not only fertility, but your sex drive will also decrease, which may affect the amount of sex you have.
If you feel stressed, it’s important that you try to manage or cut out the things in your life that are causing this.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Drinking excessively can damage fertility rates. Heavy drinking has become a huge part of UK culture — Britain has been ranked the worst nation for binge-drinking across the world, with men being likely to drink more than women. Heavy drinking has also been linked to a decrease in testosterone and sperm production. Therefore, it’s recommended that if you plan on conceiving in the future, it’s probably best to avoid drinking to excess. This will benefit you in the future as well as improving your general health, so why not?
A large proportion of us likely drink frequently and experience stress. There are supplements that you can take to increase fertility — coenzyme q10 boosts fertility, which is an antioxidant recommended to increase sperm motility.
Diet and exercise
Of course, health can largely contribute to fertility. A healthy, balanced diet helps regulate almost everything with our bodies. At least five portions of fruit and vegetables are recommended every day by the NHS, alongside carbohydrates, lean meat, and pulses.
Being either overweight or underweight can have an effect on sperm quality. If you’re trying to conceive, consider adjusting your body mass index to a healthy number between 18.5 and 24.9 through exercising and a healthy diet. Although this may be hard to commit to, it will increase your chances of succeeding in starting a family.
The modern world, as great as it is, can come with negatives too — there’re many new and unfamiliar chemicals designed to ward off pests damaging our crops. By their nature, pesticides are toxic to the animals, fungi and insects they’re created to kill, and to humans too.
There’s been discussion recently on the link between pesticides and fertility. Fruit and vegetables with pesticide residue have been found by research by Harvard to affect men’s fertility. Men who ate the most amount of fruit and vegetables with high amounts of pesticides had a sperm count lower by 49 per cent. This research has been met with much controversy, particularly as the sample of participants came from a fertility clinic, which doesn’t reflect the general population.
Although yes, a lot of our food is exposed to pesticides, it’s inconclusive whether this is a concern. More research is required with a sample that isn’t biased. The NHS recommends that you don’t stop eating fruit and vegetables, as this would be even more damaging to health and fertility. If it’s a genuine concern for yourself, consider buying organic food that hasn’t been treated with pesticides and man-made chemicals.
If you’ve got concerns about your fertility, seek medical advice. The information presented here will help set you in the right direction.
Phillips, N., Taylor, L. and Bachmann, G., 2019. Maternal, infant and childhood risks associated with advanced paternal age: The need for comprehensive counseling for men. Maturitas.
Janevic, T., Kahn, L.G., Landsbergis, P., Cirillo, P.M., Cohn, B.A., Liu, X. and Factor-Litvak, P., 2014. Effects of work and life stress on semen quality. Fertility and sterility, 102(2), pp.530-538.