Healthy babies are created via partnership between high-quality sperm and eggs. And, while certain chromosomal or inherited genetic defects can’t be reversed, diet and lifestyle choices are under your control, and both have positive effects on male fertility factors.
5 Simple Tips to Increase Sperm Quality
The better rested, nourished and healthy you are in general, the more likely you are to have ample, high-quality sperm at the ready when trying to conceive.
1) Make bad habits a thing of the past
There is no doubt that tobacco consumption (as well as marijuana consumption), heavy alcohol use, recreational drug use and excessive caffeine intake have a negative impact on fertility for both men and women. For men, these habits result in poor sperm quantity/quality, which decreases your risk of conceiving and increases your risk of miscarrying.
Quit smoking and recreational drug use, limit alcohol consumption to 1 to 2 drinks per day, and take stock of how much caffeine you consume.
Read, Male Fertility Q&A with Dr. Gould, for more specifics on the subject.
2) Give up hot tubs and hot baths for now
While there is no evidence that a difference in boxers or briefs negatively impacts male fertility, it is true that overheating the testicles negatively impacts sperm production and their ability to move (motility). Hot showers are fine, but it’s worth it to give up hot soaks for now to keep sperm at their ideal temperature, just below the normal human body temperature of 98.6° F.
3) Exercise regularly
Exercise is not only good for weight management and overall health, it’s also good for your sperm. Multiple studies correlate regular exercise and increased testosterone levels, which lead to better sperm health – as well as a healthier number on the scale.
Ideally, men and women should aim for at least 30-minutes of exercise per day, five days a week. This doesn’t mean you have to get an extreme workout – a brisk walk, a bike ride, taking a yoga or Pilates class, swimming some laps – all are considered good forms of exercise.
4) Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables
Most people want to hear there is a magic supplement that boosts male fertility – but studies have such varying results that a healthy diet is your safest bet. Over-supplementation can be bad for you, so although vitamins A, E and C are important to sperm health, the best route to adequate nutrition is a healthy diet.
Since studies are showing a link between Mediterranean and other anti-inflammatory diets and increased IVF rates, we recommend couples switch over to one of these diets (with approval from their physician and/or fertility specialist) when trying to conceive. It’s a simple step that covers multiple “fertility boosting” recommendations.
5) Focus on weight management
The ideal BMI (body mass index) for fertility success is between 19 and 24. When men or women go below or above those numbers, fertility rates decline. In the case of male fertility, sedentary lifestyles and/or obesity is directly linked to poor sperm health.
The good news is that observing the aforementioned tips – particularly exercise and diet recommendations – will inevitably support your weight management goals. If you are seriously overweight or obese, work with your healthcare professionals to create a personalized weight management plan with realistic, actionable goals.