Ready to try for a baby? Congratulations, this is a huge and a rewarding step! If you want to know what men can do to help the process, read further on.
This journey is going to be very exciting and hopefully results in a positive overall experience. There are, of course, the lucky couples who manage to conceive a baby with the first attempt, but there are also other couples whose journey takes a little or a lot longer than initially expected. There are several steps one can do to speed up the conception.
And what is it that men can do, to help?
1. CHECK THE SPERM QUALITY
You have got to know, what you are working with – and it is easy!
Ordering a SwimCount™ Sperm Quality Test online, taking the test at home and reading the result after only 30 minutes is simple and trouble-free. If this step is done early in the process, and the result turn out to be LOW, you can act fast and do timely improvements to speed up the conception.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CHECK SPECIFICALLY THE QUALITY AND NOT SO MUCH THE QUANTITY?
A man can have a high sperm cell concentration in his ejaculate, but without knowing if that sperm can swim properly, it doesn’t really matter how many sperm cells he has. On average, there is around 60-80% actively moving sperm cells (also known as motile sperm cells) in the ejaculate, but even this information does not mean, that it will be easy to fertilize a woman’s egg.
Because not all motile sperm cells have the ability to reach the woman’s egg. Many motile sperm cells are not moving progressively, which means that they cannot swim to the egg, but instead they swim actively in circles or different directions.
The only sperm cells that can reach and fertilize a woman’s egg are the Progressive Motile Sperm Cells (PMSCs). SwimCountTM Sperm Quality Test is the only home-test that can measure specifically the amount of PMSCs. This kind of analysis is also done in the fertility clinics when testing the fertility, but going to a fertility clinic involves many different tangible and intangible costs that you might not have thought about. You can read about them in our previous blog here.
BUT WHAT IS PROGRESSIVE MOTILITY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The simple definition of Progressive motility is “the ability of an organism or fluid to move forward”. Having Progressive Motile Sperm Cells (PMSCs) in a man’s semen is the most important factor, as it indicates if the sperm has the ability to find their way to the cervix and into the womb. This is actually the first step that occurs in order to achieve pregnancy.
Sperm motility (movement ability) is classified in three groups:
Progressive motility – these sperm cells are the one which are actively moving forward in a straight line
Non-progressive motility – this refers to the sperm that are moving, but they swim in circles or in any other patterns except moving forward
Immotile – this is the sperm that is not moving at all
The SwimCount™ Sperm Quality Test measures the concentration of the sperm cells that can swim (PMSCs). We encourage to try this home-test at any time in your adulthood, because sperm quality is an indicator of the man’s overall health.
If changes in diet and lifestyle must be made, because they are affecting the sperm count and quality, we suggest sticking to the usual improvements that not only will help with fertility, but also all other health aspects:
2. FOCUS ON A HEALTHY DIET
Eat the rainbow variety of foods for sperm-boosting antioxidants: berries, green vegetables and carrots. You should also include good fat from avocados, nuts (especially walnuts), olive oil and salmon, and complete your diet with lean protein, whole grains and high fat dairy foods.
A good idea is to replace some of the animal proteins with vegetable protein sources, such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Studies have shown that a diet high in trans-fat is linked to infertility in both men and women. So, limit the use of vegetable oils, margarine, processed and fried food.
3. OPTIMISE YOUR WEIGHT
Your chances of having a baby are optimised when you are within the normal weight range for your height. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) – a healthy fertile BMI range is between 19 and 25.
The other side to this is that body fat plays a significant role in reproduction which means that also low BMI translates to fertility, so balance is the key.
4. QUIT SMOKING
If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. Smoking harms sperm, causing havoc on your hormones and damaging DNA. The risk of fertility problems increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Your chances of conception will increase by 40% once you have kicked the habit out and your body will thank you. And so will your family’s health in the long run.
One of the ways tobacco is influencing sperm quality is by disturbing the DNA quality causing mutation of sperm cells. In order for sperm to be healthy, the sperm cells have to have positive vitality, morphology, motility and sperm count.
Tobacco is influencing 3 of them – sperm count, motility and morphology. Influencing these factors might result in fewer sperm cells, sperm cells that are not able to swim or sperm cells that are morphologically abnormal.
5. LESS ALCOHOL
A previous study of 1221 Danish men from 2014 had shown that high alcohol intake is decreasing sperm quality by 1/3. It is important to highlight that sperm quality, whether it is positive or negative is not a constant measure. Sperm quality can change and reverse within 3 months, as that’s approximately how fast new sperms are created.
It is important to remember that nowadays, you can check your sperm quality with home tests, without the need to visit the doctor’s office several times.
6. LOWER CAFFEINE INTAKE
The way caffeine may harm male fertility is by causing damage to the sperm DNA. A meta-analysis on how coffee and caffeine intake influence male infertility discovered that independent of age, healthy non-smoking men whose daily coffee intake amounted to more than 308 mg (∼2.9 cups) have shown increased sperm DNA damage, thus prolonged time to pregnancy. It is recommended to lower caffeine intake to 1-2 drinks per day
If you are new to exercise, choose lower-impact activities that keep you moving without triggering a stress response. Try Yoga or brisk walking. Include 30 min of simple, moderate exercise in your daily life. A more active exercise for men at least 3 times a week is recommended to increase the number of “healthy swimmers”. Exercise also helps with relieving stress, another factor that impacts sperm quality.
8. SLOW DOWN AND DE-STRESS
Stress affects hormone levels that are required for conception. Men who feel more stressed have lower sperm concentration, and the sperm they have is more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility.
The Columbian University of Public Health had made a study proving a connection between stress and semen quality. Stress was negatively influencing motility of sperm cells, as well as morphology and number of sperm cells in the ejaculate. It is also not the first study investigating relationships between stress and sperm quality.
Previously made studies in the U.S. have been able to detect associations between stressful life events and the number of motile sperm cells. Seek advice of a health care professional if you feel stressed or anxious and need help managing it.
9. TAKE MALE FERTILITY VITAMINS
It takes a minimum of 10-12 weeks (90 days) for a man to produce new sperm cells in his body, so remaining on a helpful supplement for 3 months can help with male fertility and reproduction.
Ingredients with a clinical evidence for efficacy on the sperm:
- Selenium – helps to achieve linear progression and concentration
- Zinc – helps with sperm concentration and morphology
- Vitamin B12 – helps with sperm count
- Folic Acid – helps with sperm count, motility and lower DNA damage
- Vitamin C – helps with sperm concentration, motility and lower DNA damage
SwimCount™ SpermCare Food Supplement includes all the above ingredients plus more to provide the body with the needed nutrients to maintain a normal sperm production, fertility and reproduction as well as maintain a normal testosterone level.
It is always advised to focus on an adequate vitamin intake through available vitamin-rich foods. It is important to remember that fertility vitamins are a supplement to a healthy diet for men. They are not a replacement for a healthy diet. Ask a medical professional or a pharmacist for their recommendations.
Take a sperm quality test early in the process to be aware if you have to do some adjustments in your life, to improve your sperm quality. Also, sperm quality decreases with age, so if you are trying for a baby, every day counts, so testing the sperm sooner rather than later can pay off.
 Ricci E., Vigano P., Cipriani S., Somigliana E., Chiaffarino F., Bulfoni A. Coffee and caffeine intake and male infertility: a systematic review. Nutr J. 2017;16:37. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar] [Ref list]
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284793/ Dietary Supplements for Male Infertility: A Critical Evaluation of Their Composition