Male infertility: Could your partner's sperm be the reason you can't get pregnant?

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Get clued up about how his swimmers could be impacting your baby chances...

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Don't fool yourself into thinking infertility is rare. Roughly one in six couples will struggle to have a baby and both male and female factors can contribute.

Some experts believe aspects of our modern lifestyles like poor diet, body habits and environmental agents are contributing to the problem and negatively impacting the quantity and quality of your man's sperm.

If you want to up your chances of conceiving naturally, it's crucial that you and your partner are aware of the modern day pitfalls that can impact sperm. Take a look at the information below to give his swimmers a fighting chance...

How can lifestyle impact male fertility?

Anabolic Steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) can have a serious impact on sperm and it's not just professional athletes who are endangering themselves in the pursuit of a better body. Heavy gym users and weight lifters are increasingly turning to steroids to get the perfect physique, but too much of these harmful substances can reduce sperm production and shrink the testicles.

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Consultant Urological Surgeon and male infertility expert, Mr Muneer, from the Harley Street Fertility Clinic revealed, "These drugs impair male fertility by preventing the brain from stimulating the reproductive organs to produce testosterone, consequently testosterone levels in the testicles are very low compared to the rest of the body, where levels will be normal or above average due to the supplements.

"As a result, the follicle stimulating hormone will not be released and this will cause the testicles to reduce in size and produce a minimal amount of sperm, if any."

Withdrawal from steroids can also cause a loss of energy, low sex drive and tiredness, so if you suspect your partner is taking enhancements you need to warn him of the risks. In most cases sperm will recover, but heavy drug users may never return to normal impacting their fertility for life!

What if my man's desk bound?

Did you know that the heat from a laptop can potentially reduce a man's fertility levels?

Mr Muneer says, "There are some recent reports suggesting that the heat produced from a laptop can cause the sperm to become abnormal in shape or reduce in number. Abnormal shaped sperm have a reduced swimming capability creating a slower paced movement towards the egg or a failure to swim to the egg altogether."

There has also been some research into the effect of wireless technology on the quality of a man's sperm. Researchers from the Nascentis Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Cordoba, Argentina and the Eastern Virginia Medical School found that sperm was less able to swim and its genetic make-up had been altered when the temperature increased and Wi-Fi was introduced.

In comparison sperm kept at the same temperature that was not subjected to Wi-Fi fared far better. This research was completed in an artificial setting so further investigations need to be carried out, but it is certainly something to bear in mind when trying to conceive.

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What are the surgical options?

If your partner has a low sperm count, one option could be a microdissection TESE. This is a relatively new surgical technique performed under general anaesthetic. An incision is made on the scrotum and the testicles are explored under an operating microscope. Tubules containing sperm are given to embryologists so couples can undergo ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), which involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg to fertilise it.

How can diet impact a man's fertility?

A poor diet and lack of activity can have a big impact on your chances of conceiving naturally. Nutritionist, Neema Saviddes from Harley Street Fertility Clinic told us, "A low or high BMI will prove to be a barrier when trying to conceive so addressing any weight issues is a must. A few simple dietary changes can make a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your sperm and help you to improve any underlying problems."

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There are certain foods that can improve the quality of your man's sperm, like zinc-rich chicken, turkey and nuts. This key nutrient boosts sperm motility and removes oestrogen from the male body (which is linked to a low sperm count).

Fish, eggs and mushrooms provide selenium which is essential for testosterone production, while salmon and beef contain vitamin B12 that's thought to improve sperm count.

Finally round-off his diet with vitamins C and E (kiwi, oranges, asparagus, almonds, avocados and tomatoes) which can improve the viability and mobility of sperm.

What do you think?

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