It can be downright depressing getting back a semen analysis (sperm test) that is not ‘ideal’.
However, don’t feel alone. There are MANY MANY guys in your situation (even if they are not talking about it!). It’s true that there are a number of fertility treatments that may help you to conceive, even with low numbers of sperm. In cases of very few sperm, IVF (in vitro fertilization) may be required. Your doctor will help you to make a decision after appropriate testing is done. This may include a visit to the urologist and some bloodwork.
Guys often want to know if there are any things that THEY can do to help things out. Here are some things to consider:
Don’t worry about penis size – it has nothing to do with your fertility.
Don’t overdo it – though some couples feel that they have to have sex every day (or multiple times a day) to increase the odds of success, too frequent ejaculation can lower sperm counts. Consider having sex every other day during the period of ovulation.
Be cognizant of temperature – testicles are ‘happiest’ when they are not exposed to high heat; try to limit hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, and long distance bike rides.
Get yourself healthy – guys who are overweight or obese have higher chances of sperm problems. A recent study from the University of Utah indicated that obese men are more than 3 times likely to have low sperm counts when compared with normal weight men. Lowering your weight (to a body mass index or BMI of 20-25) can do great things for your health and your fertility!
Do not take testosterone – this is a commonly prescribed hormone to increase energy and overall sense of ‘well-being’ in men. However, it can drastically lower the sperm count (to zero in some cases). Talk to your doctor further about other potential options.
Don’t smoke – you’ve heard it before; fertility is yet another thing that smoking can affect. Smoking can slow down sperm. Even advanced fertility treatments cannot completely overcome the impact of male smoking on overall success rates. Also smoking can do a number on your libido!
Don’t do recreational drugs – excess alcohol and some recreational drugs can affect the function of the testicles…leading to funny-looking sperm that don’t move well. Marijuana is included in this category. Some fertility specialists will say its ok for men to have up to 2 alcoholic drinks in a day…but no more.
Talk to your fertility specialist about any medications you are on – some medications are known to adversely affect male fertility. These include medications for blood pressure, seizure control, skin treatments, etc.
Consider a multivitamin – there is some evidence that deficiencies in certain vitamins (B, C & E) and minerals (selenium, zinc) may be related to male infertility.
For more information on male factor infertility, please visit http://www.txfertility.com/09men.php
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