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Dossier: Planning a family

How men can help

When thoughts turn to falling pregnant, the focus is usually on the woman. But how can prospective dads help? When it comes to infertility, male factor infertility is to blame in roughly 30 to 40 percent of cases. We’ve put together a list of nine things that men can do to boost the chances of pregnancy.

Get your health checked out

Now’s the time to ask your GP for a check-up. Your doctor will examine your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, sleep quality and weight: all factors that influence your fertility. If you’re on medication, you should have these checked too, because some can be harmful for sperm. Strong painkillers and antidepressants can also affect your fertility and sex drive. A thorough check-up can also pinpoint male fertility issues such as undescended testicles or cysts.

Don’t take testosterone

Whether it’s prescribed or taken illegally to enhance performance, testosterone can damage sperm quality. Artificially increasing the level of testosterone in your body can harm natural sperm production. Some studies have even shown that artificial testosterone can act as a contraceptive.

Wear boxershorts

According to a study conducted in the UK, tight underwear, such as briefs, can limit sperm motility. Sperm motility was reduced in 24% of the men who wore briefs compared with men who wore boxershorts.

Don’t smoke

Nicotine is proven not only to harm sperm motility, but also to reduce your sperm count. On top of that, there are signs that smoking can harm the sperm’s DNA and put the mother at risk of a miscarriage.

Avoid hot baths

Taking frequent hot baths or saunas can reduce male fertility. Excessive or frequent long-distance cycling can temporarily increase the temperature of the testicles, also reducing the sperm count. Although heat usually only has a short-term impact on the sperm, if you’re trying to conceive it may be best to reduce the number of hot baths you take.

Reduce alcohol consumption

Men who are planning a family should reduce the amount of alcohol they drink while their partner is trying to conceive. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine or a beer from time to time. There’s no evidence that this affects sperm health. However, it’s a different story with excessive alcohol consumption, as drinking too much too often can cause hormonal disturbances, which endangers the sperm.

Eat healthily and do sport

Fast food, heavily processed food and too much sugar are unhealthy any time, but you must really reduce your consumption to a minimum if you’re trying to have a baby. Too much fatty tissue can lead to hormonal imbalance, which hinders the production of sperm. Fresh fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Strength training is also good for sperm health.

Take vitamins

It’s not only women who need to make sure they get enough vitamins and minerals in the run-up to pregnancy. Male fertility also depends on vitamins, with C and E being particularly good for boosting fertility. There’s a wide range of nutrients that can have a positive impact on fertility. Ask your doctor for advice.

Most importantly – relax and enjoy yourself

For both the man and woman, it’s important to relax and keep calm. Even if you don’t fall pregnant straight away, don’t put yourself under pressure. Enjoying your time together as a couple is more important than vitamins and restrictions.