1. Get to a healthy weight
Unsurprisingly, weight impacts more than general health. Being overweight or underweight can directly influence both men and women when trying to conceive. A recent study from Harvard found that overweight and obese men struggled with sperm production. In particular, this cohort was more likely to have low or no production when compared to individuals with a normal BMI. While more research is needed to make a definitive statement on sperm count and weight, evidence suggests carrying excess pounds can negatively affect fertility.
2. Consider quitting smoking
In news that won’t surprise the world, smoking is linked to more than just negative respiratory or cardiac health outcomes. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), smokers have double the rate of infertility compared with nonsmokers. Furthermore, if fertility treatments are necessary, smoking can reduce efficacy. Research has shown some of the chemicals found in cigarettes can reduce sperm counts and increase the chances of producing abnormal sperm. For the best shot at pregnancy, men should consider quitting smoking altogether.
3. Keep an eye on alcohol consumption
Alcohol can do more than pack on the pounds and encourage questionable judgment. Excessive drinking has been linked to longer conception timelines for couples trying to conceive. A recent study followed individuals drinking 14 or more drinks a week. Respondents actively trying to conceive often took more than a year to achieve a pregnancy. Men reporting excessive drinking may also experience lowered testosterone levels, shrinking testes, difficulties with ejaculation, and even a change in sperm quality and motility.
Healthy habits for better fertility
While not all male fertility issues can be corrected through lifestyle changes, incorporating healthier habits is a smart first step. Men planning a pregnancy can focus on reaching a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol use for the best chance of conception. Numerous issues can cause male-factor infertility, but such changes may improve sperm quality.
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