Pedieos IVF Center’s Head Embryologist Shares 11 Tips to Boost Male Fertility
Concerns have been raised about the declining sperm quality observed in recent decades. In fact, recent studies have found that sperm count is decreasing at an accelerated pace and is described as a major public health problem.
How can you determine if your sperm quality is high?
Male factor infertility is responsible for 25% of infertility in couples that are trying to conceive. Male fertility investigation should start with a routine sperm analysis performed after 2-7 days of abstinence (WHO criteria, 6th edition). Information on the volume, number, motility, and morphology of spermatozoa will be available in 2-3 days. Other factors like sperm antibodies and DNA fragmentation may need to be tested as well. Preferably, a sperm analysis should be conducted by an experienced embryologist even if a recent analysis was performed elsewhere.
“There are several factors that could interfere with the male production system.” – says Pedieos IVF Center’s Head Embryologist Constantinos Pavlides, and adds: “It has been observed that several environmental factors and other manmade chemicals could impair sperm production and steroidogenesis, decreasing male fertility in worldwide populations”
According to Constantinos, these simple steps can increase the chances of producing healthier sperm and boost male fertility:
- Don’t smoke. In April of 2016, European Urology published a meta-analysis on the effect of smoking on semen health. The analysis included 20 studies and just over 5,000 men across Europe. The study found that smoking was associated with decreased sperm count, decreased sperm motility (that’s how sperm swim), and poor sperm morphology (how sperm are shaped).
- Don’t use drugs/cannabis, cocaine, anabolic steroids.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone, and raises estrogen levels, which reduce sperm production. It can also change the shape, size, and movement of healthy sperm.
- Monitor the temperature of your testicles. Higher temperatures can lead to an increase of testicular metabolism that results in spermatic damage. If your work involves working for a prolonged time in the heat, take regular breaks.
- Protect yourself from environmental pollutants (car exhaust ozone etc) and the presence of heavy metals like lead, zinc, copper, and PAH. Exposure to these elements can lead to infertility. Wear protective material (mask). Avoid excessive inhaling at work.
- Avoid excessive use of harmful chemicals. Pesticides and Herbicides, dioxins, and Bisphenol found in plastics, and phthalates found in cosmetics, toys, and pharmaceutical products can lead to infertility.
- Maintain a healthy weight. BMI>25 could interfere with male fertility. Remember to exercise 2-3 times a week.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choosing plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants — might help improve sperm health. Follow a balanced Mediterranean diet including fish, meat, bread, potatoes, and eggs. Nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, etc) can also positively impact male fertility. Avoid junk food as much as possible.
- Manage stress. Stress can decrease sexual function and interfere with the hormones needed to produce sperm. Try to relax regularly, read a book, or go for a walk. Put your mobile phone away for a while.
- Consult a fertility doctor regarding male fertility supplements. Male fertility supplements can support healthy sperm production and optimal male hormone health.
A male’s body is constantly creating sperm, but sperm regeneration is not immediate. It takes up to 3 months for a man to produce new sperm. This means that any lifestyle changes will come into effect after 3 months.
- Impact of environmental factors on human semen quality and male fertility: a narrative review. Kumar and Singh Environmental Sciences Europe (2022) 34:6
- Salas-Huetos A, Moraleda R, Giardina S, et al. Effect of nut consumption on semen quality and functionality in healthy men consuming a Western-style diet: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2018; 108; 953-962.
- Levine H, Jørgensen N, Anderson M-A, et al. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Hum Reprod Update 2017; 23: 646-659.
- Levine H, Jørgensen N, Anderson M-A, et al. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of samples collected globally in the 20th and 21st centuries. Hum Reprod Update 2022;
About Constantinos Pavlides
Constantinos Pavlides studied in Greece and received his BSc Degree in Biology from the University of Crete in 2003. He further continued his studies in embryology and achieved the MSc from Nottingham University, UK (Master of Medical Science in Assisted Reproduction Technology). In 2023, he was honored with the prestigious European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) certification as a Senior Clinical Embryologist. Constantinos Pavlides is a Lab Director & Head Embryologist at Pedieos IVF Center with special interests in oocyte vitrification, Frozen Embryo Transfer, and Preimplantation Embryo Biopsy.