A third of all fertility problems lie with the man, so it makes sense that your partner gets his health and body in great shape if you’re trying to get pregnant.
This is especially important, since it’s thought there’s been a decline in the quality and quantity of sperm in the last few decades. The experts believe a lot of the problems with sperm motility – where sperm can’t swim to the egg – and quality, are down to poor lifestyle.
So here’s your chance to maximise your chances of getting pregnant.
You need to encourage your partner to join you in eating better food, drinking lots of water, and taking more exercise to relieve stress, all of which will improve the health of his sperm and fertility.
He also needs to cut back on tea, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs like cannabis and cocaine, because they either reduce his levels of testosterone – vital for making sperm – or damage the sperm he does produce.
Sperm take four months to make, so at least four months pre-conception, put him on a having-a-baby regime. Here is the checklist for giving your man a fertility boost to help you get pregnant:
1. Avoid hot baths and tight underpants made from man-made fibres. They make the testicles too hot, which can affect his sperm production.
2. Get him tested for sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia.
3. Eat food rich in folic acid (green leafy and root vegetables, asparagus, wholegrain, salmon and avocados), or take a supplement. Having too little folic acid can mean he’s making 90% less sperm. Increasing his intake of folic acid can improve the quality of his sperm and fertility.
4. Make sure he takes a vitamin and mineral supplement, especially one which contains Vitamin C, A, zinc, selenium and coenzyme Q10.
5. Check whether his hobbies or job could be damaging his testicles. He should quit or cut down on cycling while you are trying to conceive as it can increase the temperature in the testicles and hinder sperm production. If he is a taxi or lorry driver, sitting down for long periods can also make his sperm too warm, so he should get out every couple of hours and have a 10-15 minute walk. Avoid using a laptop balanced on his knees as it can increase scrotal temperature and reduce fertility.
6. Get him to consult his GP about health problems he may have had as a child. For example, mumps, hernia or undescended testicles can affect fertility, or any injury in the groin area bad enough to put him in hospital.
7. Eating foods high in essential fatty acids especially DHA, will improve the health of his sperm, so include oily fish in his diet.
8. He should drink at least two litres of water every day because it’s needed to make sperm and semen.
9. Cut down on alcohol: the odd glass of wine and a few pints here and there doesn’t matter too much, but binge drinking is a problem for fertility and making a baby.
10. Quit smoking: smokers have a lower sperm count than non-smokers.