If you are trying to conceive, you may find yourself wondering how to increase sperm count and whether these tricks can help you get the positive pregnancy test you are hoping for.
About Male Fertility
Although there are several different issues that can contribute to infertility, the number one cause of male fertility problems is low sperm count.
Sperm count can be measured by semen analysis in a doctor's office. Over 20 million sperm per milliliter is considered normal, although average sperm counts have been decreasing by 1-2 percent percent per year for the last several decades. The reason for this change is not known, although increased environmental pollution is often thought to be a contributing factor.
Most women are well aware that age is a factor in their ability to conceive, but many men are surprised to learn that male fertility is affected by age as well. Research indicates fertilization rates are usually more than 60 percent for men under 39. Past age 40, this rate drops by about 50 percent.
How to Increase Sperm Count
Sometimes, the cause of a low sperm count is due to another medical condition. For example, cystic fibrosis patients often have a low sperm count due to a missing or obstructed vas deferens. Klinefelter syndrome patients carry two X and one Y chromosomes, which can lead to the destruction of the lining of the seminiferous tubules in the testicles. Men who have received radiation treatments for cancer may have a low sperm count as well.
Once other contributing factors have been ruled out, a man may be able to consider how to increase sperm count by following a few basic tips.
You may have heard that boxers are better than briefs for a man who is trying to expand his family. This has nothing to do with fashion, however. Boxers are preferable because they allow air to flow away from the testes, keeping them slightly cooler than the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees. This is also why men who are trying to conceive are often told to avoid hot baths, saunas, and hot tubs.
Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Some of the easiest ways to increase sperm count involve adopting healthy habits that will benefit a man in every aspect of his life. For example:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid marijuana, cocaine, and other illicit substances
- Abstain from alcohol or limit consumption to special occasions
- Quit smoking
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Eat organically grown produce whenever possible to limit exposure to harmful pesticides
Take a Multivitamin
Generally, doctors advise people who eat a healthy diet that multivitamins are not necessary. However, a man who is trying to conceive may want to consider taking a multivitamin with vitamin C, zinc, and folic acid to encourage new sperm production and increase sperm motility.The herbal supplements ginseng, saw palmetto, and astragalus are sometimes recommended as a way to increase sperm production. However, it is a good idea to discuss these alternative treatments with your doctor. While herbal supplements are generally safe when taken at the prescribed doses, they can sometimes cause interactions with other medications that you may be taking.
While regular exercise is one possibility of how to increase sperm count, it's important to choose the type of exercise carefully. Bicycling has been linked to impotence in men, as well as a reduced sperm count. Mountain biking is particularly problematic as it involves exposure to more extreme shocks and vibrations. Running can also cause problems with a lower sperm count since it often leads to overheating of the testes.
Time Intercourse Appropriately
In addition to timing intercourse to coincide with ovulation, couples who are trying to conceive should try to have intercourse in the early morning or afternoon. Sperm levels are said to be highest at this time. It is also a good idea for a man to wait at least three days between ejaculations. Frequent intercourse or masturbation is said to lower a man's sperm count.