You may be doing all you can to increase your odds, but part – or all – of your struggle with infertility might be to blame on your guy. In approximately 40 percent of couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause to infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Fox News reported.
So what causes male infertility?
During ejaculation, a man releases millions of sperm, yet only a few actually make it to the egg.
A hormonal imbalance is a common, reversible cause of male infertility, as testosterone is important for sperm development and maturity.
Additionally, male infertility can be genetic or caused by an infection, injury, or medical condition. Another common and reversible problem is a varicocele, which occurs in about 40 percent of infertile men. A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins that wraps around the testicles and affects sperm development.
According to a recent study in the journal Fertility and Sterility, men with high phthalate levels—chemicals found in plastics and personal care items—were more likely than women to experience infertility and had a 20 percent reduction in fertility. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, and experts believe these chemicals interfere with how sperm is made.
Studies also show stress may be another cause of infertility, because high levels of the stress hormone cortisol block the hormones responsible for creating sperm.
But medical conditions and toxins aside, experts say diet is perhaps the number one cause of male infertility.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, here are some ways your guy can improve his fertility.
1. See a urologist
A urologist can determine if a physical or hormonal problem exists. If a hormone problem is found, medication works 90 percent of the time to improve levels – although sperm production may vary.
2. Eat healthy
Nix processed foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and choose organic, because pesticides can affect sperm quality, production and cause inflammation.
Good foods for fertility include shellfish, nuts, and sunflower seeds.
3. Lose weight
Being overweight or obese can affect fertility, and a recent Harvard School of Public Health study found that exercise – weightlifting in particular – can improve sperm count.
4. Deal with gastrointestinal problems
Heartburn, gas, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome may mean your guy isn’t absorbing enough nutrients, which can affect sperm production. So it’s important to see a doctor who can determine what’s going on.
5. Quit smoking and drink less
One more reason to quit: Studies show smoking affects sperm production. Alcohol and caffeine have also been linked with infertility.
6. Try to be patient
It takes three months for your man to make new sperm, so the interventions we start today are only likely going to pay off in four, five, or six months.