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5 ways to increase male fertility

Health & Fitness

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Infertility isn’t just a woman’s problem. Studies have shown that nearly half the time, the man is at least a contributing factor in a couple’s inability to conceive.

Here are some ways men can improve their odds at conceiving a child. (These tips are no substitute for seeing a medical professional if infertility persists, however.)

1. Exercise

It seems like exercise is the solution for much of what ails the body. Want to lose weight? Exercise. Want to feel better? Exercise. And according to research, exercising may help to increase testosterone. Men who exercise have higher quality semen than men whose definition of exercise is the walk between the kitchen and the couch.

2. Avoid illegal drugs

Drugs can have a huge impact on male fertility. Anabolic steroids can cause the testicles to shrink, and shrunken testicles mean less sperm, the Mayo Clinic says. Cocaine and even marijuana may reduce sperm count and semen quality as well. You should also consult a doctor about prescription drugs’ effect on fertility.

3. Stay out of the hot tub

An ancient Japanese practice forbids childless men from conducting business deals in hot tubs, due to the negative effect on fertility. And research has supported the custom, which was once considered an old wives’ tale. Consistent exposure to heat — whether from a bath or a fever — can have a negative effect on sperm.

4. Don’t stress out

Trying to have a baby can be stressful. Trying and failing causes more stress and more stress makes failing again more likely and the vicious spiral continues. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress interferes with hormones needed for producing sperm. So relax — it’s good for the health.

5. Avoid alcohol and tobacco

The Mayo Clinic says alcohol can lower testosterone levels, decrease sperm production and even cause erectile dysfunction. Tobacco may also have a detrimental effect on sperm production — and this includes secondhand smoke.

A couple struggling to conceive should not point fingers or feel like one is “at fault.” Both of you should do all you can to increase your chances of conception — including seeing a specialist, if necessary. Conception is a team effort.