1. Avoid pre-retrieval sex
IVF can be a stressful process for both men and women, and couples can be tempted to refocus the mind through other activities. But one of the biggest recommendations fertility experts give during an IVF cycle is that men should avoid sex or masturbation of any kind in the three to four-day window before the sperm retrieval stage. The goal is to have a large quantity of fresh, healthy sperm for the fertilization process. Engaging in sex too close to the retrieval process can leave technicians with lower quantities of sperm.
2. Curb unhealthy behaviors
Just like in women, bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking can impact fertility in men. In particular, smoking can cause sperm counts to plummet and excessive drinking can cause reduced testosterone production. Testosterone is an essential reproductive hormone that can directly impact sperm production. Men that suspect infertility might be deferring conception should drink in moderation and look into smoking cessation options.
3. Mind the heat
The idea that too much heat near the groin can impact male fertility isn’t an old wives tale. While research has yet to understand why increased scrotal temperatures lead to problems with sperm production, the link is undeniable. Along with choosing boxers or boxer-briefs over tighty whities, avoid placing warm objects like laptops on the lap. And minimize or stop spending time in saunas and hot tubs.
4. Avoid lubricants when having sex
In general, lubricants can be helpful for couples, especially if vaginal dryness is an issue. However, some name-brand versions can negatively impact sperm when trying to conceive. Research has found that some types can kill sperm in extreme cases or create DNA damage. And in other cases, lubricants have been found to reduce sperm motility. Swap out traditional lubricant brands for safer alternatives such as baby oil or canola oil.
Be prepared for the man’s part in an IVF cycle
Along with being a supportive partner, the man plays a significant role in reaching the coveted goal of a healthy pregnancy and a bundle of joy nine months later. Men that take a proactive approach by maintaining overall health and minimizing risky or unhealthy behaviors can help increase chances of conception. Men concerned about other factors that might impact sperm retrieval should speak with a fertility specialist.