Whenever a couple experiences infertility, which is when the couple has tried to conceive for 12 months without success, it is usually believed that the woman is infertile. Especially since it is a known fact that millions of sperm are sent up the fallopian tubes, and all it takes is one sperm in order to fertilize the egg. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here
• Sperm Count – That is why very few really think that men who have a low sperm count are considered to be infertile. However, the fact of the matter is that just because men send off millions of sperm and only one of those is needed to fertilize the egg, men can still be infertile, especially if there is fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
That may still sound a bit crazy, but the truth is that millions of those sperms end up dying off fast while traveling up the fallopian tubes. Therefore, it would be a rare thing for a woman to get pregnant naturally if her husband has a low sperm count.
• Sperm Morphology – Another factor when it comes to male infertility is the possibility of the sperm having unusual shapes which means the morphology is poor. If the sperm is not shaped well, then it will not fertilize the egg properly, even if the count is high and the motility is decent. If the egg does become fertilized by the sperm that is shaped poorly, then there is a high chance that the pregnancy will result in a miscarriage or the baby will have birth defects.
• Sperm Motility – The other factor in male infertility is if the motility is low, meaning that the sperm does not swim well. And that can also mean that men who have higher sperm counts that have poor motility still will have a difficult time getting their partners pregnant. That is because those sperms won’t be fast enough to reach the egg.
Therefore, even though many times the failure to conceive is because the woman is not ovulating properly, in many cases the man may be infertile as well. In fact, male factor infertility is responsible for 30% of all cases of ‘infertility.’
Just like there are many causes of female infertility, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome which is the most common and yet easily correctable one for the most part, men who are infertile have underlying causes as well.
Some of these causes may be due to:
• Low testosterone levels. Men who don’t have enough testosterone will understandably not produce enough sperm, as well as enough healthy ones either.
• Poor lifestyle and poor nutrition. Men who are overweight or underweight due to not eating properly, and eating foods that are too high in sugar or high trans fats as these will hurt sperm production. The same goes for smoking, drinking and doing drugs.
• Stress. It is a known fact that stress is simply part of life. However, the trick is to find ways to manage stress by meditating, unwinding, or taking up yoga. Men who are overly stressed and don’t find ways to manage it will not produce enough healthy sperm because the body is overly stressed.
• Exercising too much or too little. Living a sedentary lifestyle will not allow proper circulation in the body, and therefore the reproductive system will be affected. At the same time, exercising too often with high intensity will stress the body out which will also have the same effect. Taking a half hour brisk walk for 5 days a week is perfect for the body.
• Wearing briefs or tight clothing around the scrotum. This is why it is recommended that men wear boxers at least 3 months before they start trying to achieve a pregnancy. Boxers allow the circulation in the area to flow and will keep it cool. Wearing briefs or tight clothing around the area will produce too much heat which will kill off healthy sperm and restrict sperm production. The same applies to taking hot showers and hot baths.
• Varicose veins. Men who have varicose veins around the scrotum will have poor sperm count and quality because these veins are blocking the flow. Surgery to remove the veins is usually enough to help sperm levels and quality improvement.
• Damage. If the scrotum had any damage or had any scarring from previous surgical procedures then that can cause a low sperm count and quality.
• Genetic predisposition. In some cases, men can be genetically predisposed to having low sperm count and quality. An example is with men who have cystic fibrosis. They will not produce much semen and usually have very little sperm to work with. Some may even be sterile which means they have no sperm at all.
• Poor libido. The sperm count and quality may be fine, but if there is no sex drive, then nothing can happen.
• Erectile dysfunction. The same applies to men who have a libido but cannot get erections.
However, the good news is that in the majority of cases, sperm count can improve with lifestyle changes alone. That includes getting moderate exercise, losing excess weight, or gaining weight if the man is underweight, ditching bad habits, managing stress levels, and eating more nutritious foods.
But there are always other ways that men can boost their sperm count and improve quality, which will be listed below.
D-aspartic acid (D-AA) is a form of aspartic acid and this amino acid already is in certain glands, like in the testicles, as well as in semen and sperm cells. It is no surprise that D-AA levels are lower in men who are experiencing infertility. If men take this supplement, they can very likely see a boost in their sperm count and quality as well. D-AA also boosts testosterone levels in men, and this alone will help improve their fertility.
Studies have shown that many men who have taken 2.66 grams of D-AA for 3 months end up getting their partners pregnant. If the man has low testosterone levels that are behind infertility, then taking this supplement may be very helpful.
Zinc is crucial for improving male fertility because zinc deficiencies have been found to lower testosterone levels, as well as sperm count and quality. Foods that are high in zinc such as walnuts, meat, and fish, which includes shellfish like oysters, and eggs need to be part of the fertility diet for men. That is because zinc is so important!
Vitamin C is incredibly important for both men and women’s fertility. And foods that are high in Vitamin C are most definitely included in the fertility diet. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, mangos, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, kiwis, and brussel sprouts are examples of foods that are rich in Vitamin C. Additionally, men who take 1,000-mg vitamin C supplements twice a day for up to two months increased sperm count and motility tremendously, and reduced the amount of deformed sperm as well significantly.
Studies have shown that Vitamin D is helpful for men increasing their testosterone levels quite a bit. It is known that you get plenty of Vitamin D from the sun, but even for men that live in cold climates and face harsh winters, there are supplements that can be taken. Also, foods such as eggs, whole grains, cheese and other dairies, salmon, tuna, sardines, caviar, and mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D. These foods are also part of the fertility diet.
In fact, studies have shown that men who have taken 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 every day for one year increased their testosterone levels by 25 percent which is significant.
For years, women have been told to take folic acid for 3 months before conceiving because it lowers the risk of the unborn baby developing neural tube defects. However, studies are showing that men also need to take folic acid for at least 3 months before working on getting their partners pregnant because it lowers the amount of deformed sperm, and helps increase count and overall quality as well.
Women must take at least 400 mcg of folic acid, while the recommended amount for men is at least 700 mcg. It is important to take supplements, but folic acid is found in plenty of foods as well such as carrots, lentils, citrus fruits, broccoli and cauliflower along with other green leafy vegetables, pinto beans, tomato, papaya, liver, and avocado.
This is bad news for many vegetarian men, but the fact of the matter is that soy is bad for both men and women’s fertility. The fact of the matter is that soy has isoflavones, which can not only lower the sperm count but also overall quality as well. For vegetarian men who won’t eat meat, they can find other fertility boosting alternatives which have already been listed. They need to ditch the soy, and so do their partners!
Many people underestimate how important getting enough sleep is for your health. It is no surprise that women who don’t get enough sleep have irregular or anovulatory cycles. Men who don’t get enough sleep also have poor sperm quality. Getting a good 7 to 8 hours sleep each night will help improve fertility and overall function!
There are also some herbs that are safe for men to take that will help improve testosterone levels, which will help improve sperm count and quality. Listed below are some herbs that have been helpful for men improving their fertility.
• Fenugreek Supplements
• Tribulus Terrestris
• Maca Root
Many men who have tried most of these tips, or even some of these tips who don’t have any genetic or structural conditions that are responsible for their infertility, end up successful.
However, in some cases, these tips may only marginally help if men do have a genetic or structural condition that is affecting their fertility. For instance, when it comes to scarring in the scrotum area, not much can be done to help. But the good news is, even in a case like that, procedures such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro, more specifically involving intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF- ICSI) can help the couple end up with their own biological children.
Let’s talk a little about both procedures.
• IUI. Intrauterine insemination or IUI is the easier option than IVF, and in most cases, men who have a sperm count of 2 million or more can go with this option. The way it works is that the woman is put on Clomid, even if she does not have any ovulatory disorders, only to time the procedure. She will be monitored carefully by daily blood work and ultrasounds to check her hormone levels to see if ovulation is near. If ovulation appears to happen in a day, then the procedure will be done on that particular day.
The man gives a sample of sperm to the specialist, and it is washed so only the healthy sperm is used. Then the catheter is placed into the woman’s cervix that goes right into the uterus, and the sperm is shot through the catheter, bypassing the long pathway. This procedure is successful as long as the timing is correct because washed sperm does not live in the woman’s reproductive tract as long as it naturally would. If 6 rounds of IUI have been done and still unsuccessful, or if the sperm count is too low or too poor to even be used for IUI, then the next step has to be done.
• IVF – ICSI. This particular step, in vitro with intracytoplasmic sperm injection or IVF-ICSI, is more invasive and more expensive than IUI. This is appropriate for a very low sperm count and quality or more than 6 failed IUI attempts.
The woman has to go on powerful fertility drugs to have many eggs mature at once, so they can be retrieved at the same time. When that happens, the woman is sedated to have the eggs taken out, while the man gives a sperm sample to the specialist to wash. Then the sperm is taken individually and injected into the egg so it is fertilized. After the embryos have been created, at least one is placed back into the woman while she is on progesterone to allow implantation to happen. If the woman has no fertility or has little fertility issues, this will likely be successful.
Either way, it is distressing to a man when he finds out that he has a low sperm count and/or poor sperm quality, but the good news is that there are ways to correct it or there is help out there to help him be a dad to his own kids!
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