Is Infertility a Woman's Cross to Bear?
A new study findings suggest widespread declines in sperm quality in French men between 1989 and 2005, with average sperm counts falling while percentages of abnormally formed sperm rose. These findings are a "serious public health warning" Another study concluded that, the quality of human semen evaluated for infertility is deteriorating in the southern part of the India over the years, probably due to environmental, nutritional, life style or socioeconomic causes. Several other European studies have provided similar data, estimating around 10 percent of males are currently infertile.
The reason behind this article coverage is to make a woman realize that not concieving is not her sole responsibility but also depends on the health status of her partner.
Modern lifestyle could be one of the main culprits for this worldwide decline. However, there are several simple changes one can make to improve and support male fertility.
- Environmental Exposure. Men who live in urban areas or large cities may have an elevated fertility risk due to their environmental exposure. Phthalates, chemicals found in hundreds of household products (from toys to soaps to food packaging), are endocrine disruptors that can alter hormone levels, including testosterone, and negatively impact sperm quality. Keeping aware of these compounds, and reading the labels on personal care and food products can help significantly reduce toxin levels.
- Avoid Over-exposure to Heat. Sperm require a very specific temperature in order to exist - about 4 degrees lower than a man's body temperature. While a male body constantly regulates this through a muscle in the scrotum, things like hot tubs and saunas can quickly overheat the scrotum. This can reduce sperm count and even kill the sperm. To keep that important count high, eliminate activities that heat up the groin area, including strenuous workouts. It's a good idea to limit bicycling as well, as it can put weight on the area near the testis, blocking blood flow.
- Supplement Intake. While there is no magic multivitamin for fertility, there are a number of vitamins and supplements that can help improve male fertility, such as selenium and zinc. Pcynogenol, an extract from French pine tree bark, was shown to improve morphology by 38% when taken orally for only 90 days. Always consult a fertility specialist before starting any new supplements.
- Minimize Use of Cell Phone. Numerous recent studies have connected cell phone exposure to male infertility. Specifically, phones emit a radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation even when not in use, so a man carrying a cell phone in his pocket is at risk of abnormal sperm morphology (shape) and motility (movement). The same is true for laptops and tablets. If you're trying to start a family, keep the electronics off your lap.
- Reduce Stress Level. Stress can have an impact on male fertility, throwing off hormone levels. If stress is a factor, Meditation, massage and acupuncture can help in minimizing stress. Acupuncture treatments have been shown to regulate hormonal balance and increase blood flow to the sex organs, improving overall sperm production and quality in less than three months.
- Practice a Healthy Lifestyle. Being overweight can be a major factor in both male and female infertility, so eating healthy and exercising regularly can improve fertility. Alcohol and drugs have a negative impact on sperm count and quality, so those should be out several months before you start trying. Lack of sleep has also been connected to male factor problems, so make rest and relaxation a high priority while you focus on starting a family.
- Go Together to the Clinic. If you and your partner have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for a year (six months if you are over 35), it's time for both of you to see a specialist. A quick semen analysis will determine a man's sperm count, concentration, shape, and movement, among other factors. If he needs further testing, a male infertility specialist can perform hormone tests and even genetic tests to identify the issue before recommending treatment. The idea is to overcome the hurdle towards planning a family so ignore the rest.
If you discover that your man requires some help in order to conceive, be gentle with him and don't play the blame game. Both men and women find infertility to be a difficult and deeply shameful experience. Reassure him that you are both in this together, and be united in your actions - this can mean going to appointments together, open communication and coping with both good and bad news side by side.