Dr Kshitiz Murdia, Fertility Expert, Indira Fertility Clinic and Test Tube Centre.
Although it’s woman who has to carry the baby for those nine months, dad-to-be has an important role too. As the pregnancy of a woman depends totally on the quality of his sperm.
Usually lifestyle factors such as stress, obesity, and poor diet can impact sperm health, so if you and your partner are planning a baby, a healthy nutritious diet can boost sperm production and support healthy sperm count too. “Men should know that the health of their sperm is an extremely important factor in getting a woman pregnant. And there are three main elements which determine the health of sperm cells: sperm quantity, sperm quality and sperm motility.
If for some reason a couple fails to conceive despite making serious efforts then before you decide to visit the fertility specialist, requesting tests, remember that a few basic diet and lifestyle changes can boost the chances of fertility, in both men and women. “Age definitely plays a role when it comes to male infertility as the ability of sperm to move and the proportion of normal sperm tend to decrease with age, affecting a man’s fertility but a lot depends on the quality of his sperms. Therefore, eating well and nutritious diet rich in antioxidants which include tomatoes, sweet potatoes, melon, carrots, pumpkin seeds, fish, walnuts, blueberries and pomegranates, etc is the key to having healthy sperm cells. Taking regular dose of multivitamins is helpful too. Besides, Zinc is a recommended supplement for sperm health, because this mineral is an important building block of the sperm cell.
Dark chocolate, a rich source of the amino acid L-arginine is also said to increase the volume of ejaculate and improve sperm count and motility. “The darker the chocolate, the better – try the delicious bittersweet 85 per cent dark chocolate.
Also, water is said to be the simplest way to increase the sperm count and the quality. “Semen is water based and increasing liquid consumption definitely helps in improving sperm production.”
When it comes to fertility, weight plays a crucial role. If you happen to be overweight or obese, then exercising is very crucial as diet modification alone won’t work. “While exercising, a man, if overweight, should be careful not to be so hard that he is completely exhausted. This can cause the temperature of the scrotum and testicles to rise which can affect the quality of the sperm. Also, avoid too much cycling, saunas, hot bathtub and jacuzzi too. Instead opt for shower.
Sperm can be especially vulnerable to environmental factors, such as exposure to excessive heat or toxic chemicals. “For instance most of us have a habit of using laptops keeping them on our laps and working, or watch movies and TV series for long hours. The heat from the laptop gets directly transferred to the scrotum. This too reduces your chances of having healthy sperms.
“Additionally, as part of lifestyle changes, avoid stress and try to remain happy because stress has shown to have an adverse effect on fertility, particularly because stress can make us overeat, indulge in smoke or alcohol, which are detrimental to sperm health.
“Smoking in particular damages sperm as the sperm DNA gets affected with smoke and creates abnormalities in the sperm cell. When trying to have a baby, make sure you abstain yourself from smoking (active and passive) from at least 2 months in advance. And so does drugs and some medications like steroids etc. Therefore, be wise and check with your doctor before taking any medicine. And in case you drink heavily, cut your alcohol consumption as it leads to reduced testosterone production, impotence and decreased sperm production.
Adopting healthy lifestyle practices for the betterment of your fertility — and avoiding things that can damage it — can improve your chances of conceiving. “If you and your partner haven’t gotten pregnant after a year of unprotected sex, see a fertility specialist who might be able to identify the cause of the problem and provide treatments that place you and your partner on the road to parenthood.