Thursday, June 16, 2016

Male Factor Infertility: Do's and Don'ts



While it seems like most infertility diagnoses and advice are geared towards the female reproductive system, when you’re trying to conceive it takes two to tango!  According to the Mayo Clinic, male infertility plays a role in half of infertile couples.1 During our infertility journey, the first couple of years were spent thinking that my body was the only one with a problem- we had gotten pregnant before so my husband’s sperm must be just fine, right?  Thank goodness for a doctor who was concerned enough with our situation to at least rule out the possibility of male infertility being a factor.  As sad as it might sound, I felt a sense of calmness and renewed confidence learning that we were both a part of the problem.  Apparently we were two peas in a pod.

So what now?

After so much time spent looking into what I could do differently, what my husband could do differently was now added into my endless hours of Internet research.    Although treatment is sometimes necessary for male infertility, here are a few “do’s and don’ts” that can help!

Do:
  1. Maintain a healthy diet- Eat lots of fruits and veggies! They have lots of antioxidants that can be beneficial to reproductive health.  
  2. Take a daily multivitamin-Being deficient of essential vitamins and fatty acids aids in a decrease of sperm count and quality.  
  3. Exercise regularly- but don’t overdo it either! An inactive lifestyle, very similar to being overweight, can weaken sperm production.  Moderate exercise is the key, as extreme workouts can slow things down a bit too!
  4. Minimize stress- stress can interfere with necessary hormones for sperm production. 2
  5. Have regular sex- With low sperm count, the recommended dose is every couple of days.  This will increase sperm motility and health.  
  6. Give Robutussin Cough Syrup a try- This was something we actually hadn’t heard of before, but it was recommended to us by our doctor to help improve motility.  This was one of the many things we tried and something seemed to work, maybe this played a part!
  7. Avoid hottubs, saunaus, or anthing with extreme heat that could kill the little swimmers.  
  8. Use a fertility friendly lubricant if needed- some of the “more natural” lubricants like egg whites and canola oil can be used (we couldn’t bring ourselves to try these), but you can also use baby oil or a lubricant specifically for baby making such as Pre-Seed.  


Don’t:
  1. Smoke- smoking has been shown to decrease sperm count AND motility, as well as “misshapen” the little guys. 3
  2. Drink- Limiting alcohol intake is important as drinking can reduce the production of testosterone, and of course, sperm production.  
  3. Set laptop directly on your lap- this goes along with avoiding extreme heats; laptops can increase the temperature down there, and why take the chance?
  4. Wear tight pants- Although there’s not a whole lot of evidence on this one, this is one we had heard time and time again, and it’s all about keeping everything at an optimal temperature.  
  5. Expose yourself to toxins, chemicals, and pesticides.  Try to minimize your exposure as much as possible to these things as they can affect the quality and quantity of sperm. 4



1 Mayo Clinic Staff.  (2015, August 11).  Definition.  Retrieved from
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/basics/definition/con-20033113

2 Mayo Clinic Staff.  (2015, June 2).  Healthy Lifestyle: Getting Pregnant.  Retrieved

3 Mayo Clinic Staff.  (2015, June 2).  Healthy Lifestyle: Getting Pregnant.  

4 Mayo Clinic Staff.  (2015, June 2).  Healthy Lifestyle: Getting Pregnant.  

-Rachel

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