Infertility is often stereotyped as a women’s issue, but men have biological clocks too. Melbourne naturopath Jade Signorino says often when “things just aren’t happening” the attention falls to the woman.
“More Australian couples are finding it harder to get pregnant without help, with 1 in 6 couples diagnosed infertile,” she says.
“What many people aren’t aware of is that around half of infertility cases involve male factors, either in combination with female factors, or alone. And 40% of IVF cycles are due to these male factors, making compromised sperm function the largest single, defined cause of human infertility,” says Jade.
“Sperm cells are particularly susceptible to damage, partly because they have limited capacity to repair their damaged DNA. Consequently, poor sperm health is an issue affecting many Australian men, leading to sperm that may be underdeveloped or abnormally shaped, an inability to swim properly, overall low sperm quality, or otherwise normal sperm produced in abnormally low numbers, or not at all.
“There’s a long list of possible contributing or risk factors including everything from blockage of the sperm delivery system, hormonal imbalances and autoimmune diseases, to genetic abnormalities and infections like the mumps.
Don’t worry though, there’s good news, says Jade:
Ninety percent of infertility factors are thought to be diet and lifestyle related and are therefore preventable.
Jade stresses the need for preconception care in both females and males, for 3 months before trying to get pregnant.
Fellas, here are Jade’s tips on how to boost your baby making potential:
- Reduce your toxic load by minimising your exposure to:
- Radiation – keep your mobile phone and laptop away from your crown jewels!
- Chemicals – including those found in glues, cleaning products, dry cleaned clothing, paint, paint strippers, photo copy machine toners, silicones, chemical dusts and pesticides, and of course we mustn’t forget recreational and pharmaceutical drugs.
- Butt out – smokers are 60% more likely to be infertile than non-smokers
- Manage stress – everything from working long hours to excessive, strenuous exercise and insufficient rest contribute to adrenal exhaustion and stress overload, which effects sperm quality.
- Don’t leave it too late! Ageing reduces the chances of fertility in both men and women.
- Limit alcohol consumption – even a moderate intake of 1-5 drinks per week increases the risk of infertility
- Eat well – making sure you’re getting enough of the following nutrients:
- Good fats, specifically Omega 3’s found in cold water oil fish like salmon and mackerel. And steer clear of trans fats like those found in margarine and fast food.
- Incorporate whole grains, nuts and dark, leafy green veggies into your diet – they’re great for detoxifying and rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants and fertility nutrients such as Zinc, selenium and magnesium.
- Vitamin C – broccoli, citrus fruits, aloe vera juice, raw cabbage.
- Vitamin E – almonds, apricot oil, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds.
- Beta-Carotene – carrots, yellow and greenish yellow vegetables and spinach.
- Folate – beans, green leafy veg, lentils sprouts
- Coenzyme Q10
- Avoid the bulge – being overweight significantly reduces male fertility and can also increase the risk of erectile dysfunction by 30-90%. This increases even more in couples in which both partners are overweight.
When you look at these risk factors it’s hardly surprising that impaired fertility is affecting so many men, isn’t? The moral of the story, says Jade, is “It’s what’s inside the sperm that counts. There are many simple lifestyle changes men can take to boost their baby making potential.”
If you want to get in touch with Jade you can find her here.
Happy baby making!