Male factor infertility can be a big factor in whether or not you and your partner are able to get pregnant quickly. About 40% of all fertility issues are caused by male factors, so let’s not ignore this very important aspect of getting pregnant.
Sperm health is vital for a couple to conceive more quickly (or conceive at all). Let’s talk about the different characteristics of sperm health and the sperm analysis and how you and your partner can best resolve or go around any issues that may be causing male factor infertility.
Semen Analysis – The Male Fertility Test
First, if you’re having trouble getting pregnant, a sperm or semen analysis is a vital part of the screening process to find out if male factor infertility is the cause of delayed pregnancy. This male fertility test will determine the amount of semen produced as well as the quantity and quality of sperm in any given ejaculation.
Sperm count is the amount of sperm present in 1 mL of semen. Normal is 20-150 million sperm per mL.
Sperm morphology is the measure of the percentage of sperm having a normal shape. Normal morphology is when at least 70% of sperm have normal shape and structure.
Sperm motility is the measure of the percentage of sperm that can move forward normally. Normal motility is considered when at least 60% of sperm show normal forward movement.
In order for a woman to get pregnant more quickly, a high percentage of the sperm must be vibrant and healthy, which means they will move quickly and efficiently to their destination – the egg awaiting fertilization. Low sperm count (or oligospermia), below normal sperm morphology, or below normal sperm motility will result in male factor infertility – which does not mean that a couple won’t conceive – it just means it will take longer than average.
What can you and your partner do about less-than-optimal sperm health in order to enhance male fertility?
- First of all, the man needs to be eating as healthy as the woman and avoiding bad habits, such as smoking, illicit drugs, and excessive alcohol use. (See Improving Fertility for more information.)
- Secondly, avoid overheating the testicles in hot tubs or with over-tight underwear.
- Ejaculating less often (every 2-3 days instead of every day) will give the sperm more chance to increase in number.
- Have intercourse in the early morning or afternoon when sperm levels are believed to be their highest.
- Eat lots of raw nuts and seeds (namely Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds), which are high in zinc and selenium.
- Maca is also good to improve infertility in males. See this page for more details on the benefits of maca for fertility.
It is possible to overcome male factor infertility. Be diligent and persistent in changing your habits in order to increase male fertility, allowing 2-3 months to see results.