Before setting out on a long car journey, one would plan the route and that the vehicle was road worthy, had oil and water and fuel and tyres inflated to the correct pressure, GPS at the ready, with an estimated time for how long the journey to last.
So, when it comes to preconception what preparations do you make for that journey?
When it comes to fertility, it is equally important for the male partner to have a pre-conception check, especially if the couple have been having difficulty conceiving. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a year, but no success, it is usually recommended to seek advice from your GP.
The most important step in checking male fertility is a semen analysis. It is a simple test, but a critical step in helping couples to understand why they may difficulty in conceiving.
Semen issues may involve quantity and/or quality or motility. A semen analysis looks at:
– Sperm Count, number of sperm (volume).
– Sperm Morphology, shape of sperm.
– Sperm Motility, movement of sperm.
The number, shape, and mobility of sperm are important for testing for male factor fertility. Your doctor may recommend testing up to three samples of sperm at different visits to get an accurate analysis.
If you are trying to conceive, healthy sperm is necessary. It takes one sperm and one ovum (egg) to conceive, the healthier the sperm the better your chances of conceiving.
The temperature of the testes is particularly important, as sperm are heat sensitive.
Avoid hot baths, saunas, tight clothing.
Do not use laptops on the lap.
Do not keep mobile phones in trousers pockets (for up to three months prior to conception).
Smoking reduces the fertile phase of a person’s life by one to four years. Sperm tests of smokers tend to be worse than those of non-smokers, showing decreases in sperm concentration motility and percentage of normal shaped sperm, as well as increases in sperm DNA damage.
Smoking can also decrease the success rate of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)
So, no smoking!
Alcohol, sometimes referred to by the chemical name ethanol, is a psychoactive drug that is the active ingredient in drinks such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits. Ethanol is a toxin and as such has an adverse influence on sperm.
Sperm damage from alcohol is dose dependent.
One beer or a glass of wine per day does not harm sperm according to research.
So, watch the alcohol consumption.
Some research studies show that cannabis has an adverse influence on sperm DNA.
So, no cannabis.
Prescription drugs such as antibiotics, corticosteroids, psychotropics, antihistamines anti-hypertensives, ibuprofen, anabolic steroids and testosterone derivatives can all harm sperm. Discuss this with your doctor.
Physical exercise, generally speaking, is health promoting, but excessive exercise can keep the body’s energy focused on the musculoskeletal system, and sometimes at the expense of the reproductive system.
Sleep plays a key role in moderating hormones and stress levels and can thus affect fertility.
Many studies have shown that an unhealthy diet has a negative impact on male fertility.
A study in 2017 shows that following good nutrition / diet has the most positive impact on sperm. Men who wish to conceive are recommended to stick to what is called the Mediterranean diet.
Correct timing of intercourse is essential for conception.
To achieve the greatest chance of fertilisation the couple should have intercourse daily during the woman’s fertile period, starting four days prior to ovulation.
Studies have shown that acupuncture treatments have shown statistically significant improvements in sperm quality.
It is advised that one to two acupuncture treatments a week, over a period of ten to twelve weeks …. Or 100 days … to help with conceiving.