Fertility Takes Two to Tango

Is Your Man the Perfect Dancer?

“It takes two to tango” has never been truer than when you are talking about fertility. Both a healthy egg and healthy sperm must meet to create pregnancy. In the tango, if the dance is not going well, the blame is often placed on the woman – she’s not following his lead, she’s not strong enough… . Similarly, when pregnancy is not occurring, the focus is on the woman. After all, she has only one egg released per cycle and he has between 40 million to 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation. When couples come into my office, most suspect she is infertile. They are often surprised to learn that over 40% of infertility is related to a male factor or trouble with sperm.

After all, she has only one egg released per cycle and he has between 40 million to 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation

This is a disturbing number for most to comprehend. According to a recent study, both sperm counts and sperm functions are decreasing at an alarming rate in Western countries, and they are predicting this number will be potentially higher in the future.

Luckily, sperm do regenerate and although produced every day, new sperm takes 2½ to 3 months to fully mature.

The odds may seem against women, but surprisingly, infertility issues are often due to men

Unlike women, who cannot make more eggs or whose egg quality declines after the age of 35, men can improve their sperm counts, often by some simple lifestyle changes – a little may go a long way. However, that also means that poor lifestyle choices may decrease sperm quality.

Before panicking, men should review the everyday controllable factors affecting fertility.

Men’s sperm are stored in testicles outside their body for a reason. Excessive amounts of heat may decrease sperm production and slow them down. That means heated seats, hot tubs, hot baths, tight clothing, excessive biking are all detrimental to healthy sperm production.

Diets rich in antioxidants, like blueberries, dark chocolate and pecans, are all healthy sperm foods. DHA, found in food with Omega-3 essential fatty acids like wild salmon, plays a very important role in sperm formation. Whole grain cereals, vitamin C and folic acid will also improve both sperm quantity and function.

Dark chocolate: A healthy sperm food, as well as pecans, blueberries, and salmon

Holding onto sperm until a woman ovulates is a myth that must be stopped. Infrequent ejaculation can lead to damaging sperm, as they don’t turnover as often, and they become ‘stale’. Men who ejaculate more than weekly have been shown to have better sperm than men who ejaculate less frequently. So men everywhere should look to empty their sperm whenever they can. It might be a good idea for the single men among us to use a fleshlight for a cleaner procedure. If you want a great deal on fleshlights check this out.

Putting cell phones in pant pockets is the worst place for men to put their phones. Sperm cells have been shown to be very sensitive to radiation of any kind – it affects sperm function. Wi-Fi systems surrounding men can also do the same.

Men who ejaculate more than weekly have been shown to have better sperm than men who ejaculate less frequently

Plastics, such as water bottles, food wrap, and plastic containers also have a negative impact on sperm quality. These can have a slight estrogenic (hormonal) effect that can reduce a man’s ability to produce sperm. Glass is a better option.

Smoking, both cigarettes and marijuana can decrease both the count and the function of sperm. So stop smoking and improve the quality of the new sperm produced. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis will also affect sperm.

Men, who are overweight, have been shown to have less motile sperm. Exercise, lose weight and get you and your sperm in shape.

So men out there, look at your lifestyles, improve your choices, and remember that you are an integral part of fertility.

Fay Weisberg M.D., FRCSC Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine; Clinic Director First Steps Fertility; Clinic Director FemRenew; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology www.obgyn.utoronto.ca

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