The often neglected side of male infertility has hit the news this week as stories have been reporting on the importance of the reproductive health of the male partner in couples who are struggling to successfully conceive a child. Whilst, particularly in the case of older couples, failure to conceive can be automatically put down to the age and health of the woman in the equation, it turns out that men may have been turning a blind eye to the faint ‘tick tock’ of their own biological clock when analysing the reasons behind difficulties.
The Telegraph has reported that the chances of a man getting his wife pregnant dropped by 7 per cent each year between the ages of 41 and 47, reducing even more sharply amongst older men, (1) whilst the Daily Mail has further reported that the bad dietary choices made by men could be further damaging their fertility. (2)
Dr Marilyn Glenville, a leading nutritionist specialising in fertility problems amongst both men and women, and author of the bestselling Getting Pregnant Faster, is a strong advocate of recognising the importance of the reproductive health of the male partner when couples are try to conceive. She comments:
“A third of couples I see in the clinic will have problems with male fertility. There is now a wealth of medical evidence to show that changes in diet and supplementation can make a huge difference to not only sperm count, but also increasing sperm motility and increasing the number of normal sperm.”
Dr Glenville’s top ‘sperm-saving’ tips:
1. Increase in take of omega 3 as fatty acids have been shown to have a significant impact on sperm quality – good sources include fish oils, nuts and seeds.
2. Once of the most important nutrients for male fertility is zinc, which is the mineral needed for the production of sperm and male hormones. Zinc rich foods include fish, sardines, eggs, whole grains, brown rice and nuts.
3. Lose weight. Being overweight can affect male fertility and reduce the quality and quantity of sperm count.
4. Stop smoking, which effects erectile function, and also has a negative impact on the count, mobility and normality of sperm.
5. Decrease intake of alcohol and caffeine, which can deplete the body of vital fertility boosting nutrients such as zinc and calcium, and can make the head of the sperm abnormal.