How can I improve my sperm?

Research in the last few years has shown than male sperm count in the Western world has fallen by around 50% in the last 40 years i.e men today are producing half the sperm that their grandfathers did.

Why is sperm count in decline?

Most scientists agree that the decline can be put down to environmental, nutritional and lifestyle factors. These include:

• Smoking
• Processed foods, particularly foods high in artificial additives
• Fast foods
• Alcohol
• Recreational drugs
• Foods that contain high amounts of poor quality fats and oils
• Over the counter painkiller
• Lack of nutrients
• Exposure to environmental pollution such as traffic fumes and plastics.
• Stress
• Heat, hot baths, saunas, hot tubs, tight shorts
• Undetected Infections
• Being overweight

What tests do I need?

Increasing it is becoming evident that more attention needs to be paid to the male when it comes to assessing a couple’s fertility. Historically most of the time and testing has been spent on the female, but new research is pointing to evidence that nearly 50% of infertility is down to male factor. Unfortunately, for many, the answer to this in medicine at the moment is to refer the man and the couple straight for IVF treatment, rather than to a urologist to determine why there is an issue with sperm. Urologist are more likely to conduct a physical exam to determine if a varicocele is causing problems. This is a clump of varicose veins in the testes which can cause low sperm production and decrease the quality. Silent infections should also be tested for, they maybe lying dormant and causing problems. The standard sperm test does not pick either of these issues up and yet is the main test to verify a referral for IVF.

Not all sperm tests are the same!

I recommend all men I work with get a COMET sperm test. Unlike the standard sperm test, which looks at the outside of the sperm, this looks inside it to assess the quality of the DNA. This is really important as damage to sperm DNA has been shown to lead to a number of fertility problems from failed fertilisation to poor embryo development and even miscarriage.
When combined with standard semen analysis (count, motility and shape), the SpermComet gives you the full picture on your sperm health and ability to make a healthy baby.

What you can do to improve your sperm health?

The brilliant things about sperm is that it regenerates all the time and takes approximately 90 days to do so. This means that nutritional and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact. I have worked with couples who have been told they needed ICSI but after making suggested changes either fell pregnant naturally or conceived with IVF.

Nutrition

Good nutrition plays a vital role in sperm production and quality. Research suggests that with a few easy changes to diet and lifestyle you can produce higher quantities of sperm with improved motility.
• Consider taking a good multivitamin supplement. I recommend the male supplement by Bud Fertility as it includes zinc, selenium, Peruvian Maca amongst other things, which are shown to boost sperm production and quality.
• Include lots of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables in the diet to boost your nutrient status and to help mop up free radicals in the body as these may cause cellular damage.
• Limit sugar and avoid white carbohydrates. Switching to wholegrains where possible.
• Eat plenty of omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish, nuts and seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
• Take regular exercise.
• Alcohol in moderation!

The best nutritional advice is personal and tailored to the individual and I always recommend anyone wanting to improve their fertility see a Nutritionist alongside their acupuncture treatments. Kirsty Harrison is excellent and works in Streatham.

Lifestyle

The key lifestyle changes recommended for improving sperm are:
• Exercise regularly but don’t over do it
• Avoid overheating your testicles, loose pants, avoid hot baths and saunas
• Reduce stress
• Go to bed early and get enough sleep

For more information or to book a consultation please call 07761648441, hello@hannahpearn.com hannahpearn.com