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It takes two to conceive a baby. Optimizing fertility is essential whether you’re just starting to try to conceive, or you have been trying for a long time. Sperm does not only affects chances of getting pregnant, but it is also determines the success of a pregnancy with IVF in North Cyprus.
The following aspects of male fertility may affect a man’s ability to father a child:
- Libido is a person’s desire to have sex.
- Sperm count is the number of sperm cells in a given amount of semen.
- Sperm motility is the ability of the sperm cells to move properly.
- Sperm morphology is the size and shape of the sperm cells.
- Testosterone levels determine a man’s reproductive potential.
- Erection and ejaculation refers to the ability to develop or maintain an erection.
How to Check Male Fertility
When a couple has not been able to conceive after 12 months of trying without birth control pills, both partners are advised to undergo fertility testing. Our fertility doctor may ask you about your lifestyle, general health, and medical and reproductive history. He may also ask you questions about:
- previous children you may have
- how long you have been trying to conceive
- how often you have sex
- if you take any medication
- your lifestyle and habits.
Male’s potential to father a child and the cause of infertility can be determined with a few fertility tests. Male fertility testing involves:
- Semen Analysis measures the morphological characteristics of the semen. Sperm is collected into a specimen jar and analyzed in a lab in order to evaluate the sperm count, shape, and mobility.A normal sperm count ranges from 15 million sperm to more than 200 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of semen. If the sperm count is lower than the normal values, our fertility specialist may order tests to check the levels of testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin (PRL). If you don’t have any semen or sperm at all, the doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem.
- HIV and Hepatitis Testing
- Other tests may include:
- Physical Exam. This includes examining the genitals and reviewing your medical and reproductive history. This test can help find varicoceles enlarged veins above the testicles.
- Genetic Testing (karyotyping). This test is important to determine if there is a genetic mutation that can be passed down to the child
How to Improve Male Fertility
A man’s fertility is improved by adopting healthy lifestyle changes. Here are some effective ways to boost fertility and increase your chances of fathering a child:
- Maintain healthy body weight
It may take longer for overweight or obese men to conceive than couples with no weight issues. Obesity affects a man’s sperm quality, count and ability to move. Men in this group tend to produce sperm with genetic abnormalities which might affect pregnancy and the baby’s health.
- Treat medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can affect sperm production or a man’s ability to get his partner pregnant. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cystic fibrosis or varicoceles require medical attention and effective management especially if you are trying to conceive. In addition, some medications used to treat high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other conditions can have a negative effect on fertility. Some chemotherapy drugs and cancer treatments can cause temporary or permanent infertility.
- Improve nutrition
Eat a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are a great source of antioxidants.These can help you with the sperm production. Men should also consume fiber-rich foods, healthy monounsaturated fats, and moderate amounts of lean protein.
Physical activity helps reduce stress and improve long-term health. Moderate exercise can improve sperm quantity and quality. However, you should be aware of the negative effect that overly intense exercising can have on your fertility. Generally, cardiovascular exercise like jogging, hiking or swimming improve blood flow which can improve erection and sperm count and reduce toxins.
- Take a daily multivitamin
Many multivitamin supplements for men might include antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and the minerals selenium and zinc. Antioxidants reduce free radical which can cause damage to the genetic material in sperm cells.
- Avoid unhealthy habits
Lifestyle habits such as smoking or taking drugs can have a detrimental effect on sperm production. Smoking is linked with reduced sperm quality. Male smokers are also at a greater risk of producing abnormally-shaped sperm.
- Keep temperature low
Exposure to heat such as hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms can increase scrotal temperature, which may decrease sperm count and sperm quality. Heat may only have a temporary effect on sperm and once a man stops going in hot tubs or saunas, sperm production will normalize.Men who are trying to conceive should also pay attention to where they put their lap top computers as these have shown to damage sperm and decrease sperm motility. This can be caused by the combination of heat and radiation.
- Get enough sleep
Getting adequate sleep is essential for maintaining fertility high since testosterone is generally released during sleep.
- Avoid eating too much soy.
Although soy is unlikely to make healthy men infertile, it can have an impact on men who already have low sperm count.
- Seek help
Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of trying of regular intercourse without contraception. Couples where the woman is over 35, the time for seeking professional help shortens to 6 months.
Vitamins for Male Fertility
- Vitamin C. Adequate intake of vitamin C can improve a man’s fertility. There is evidence that vitamin C supplements can improve semen quality as well as sperm count and motility.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is another nutrient that can boost your testosterone levels. Additionally, vitamin D has been positively associated with greater sperm motility and improved semen quality. Foods that are rich in vitamin D are: fatty fish like tuna and salmon, egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, and mushrooms.
- Zinc. Zinc is essential for male fertility. It keeps reproductive hormones in balance and helps with the production of testosterone. It also plays a big role in the sperm production. Zinc supplements increase testosterone levels and sperm count. Zinc can be found in meat, shellfish, legumes, whole grains, nuts, dairy, and eggs.
When Does Male Fertility Decline
Male fertility decline can be caused by a number of factors including medical conditions, injuries, environmental toxins, genetics, lifestyle, and age.
- Medical conditions related to sperm production and transportation.
- Infections. Some infections can deteriorate the quality of the sperm or can cause scarring that blocks the movement of sperm cells. Infections like epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis, a duct behind the testes), orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), or some sexually transmitted infections may cause infertility in affected men.
- Anti-sperm antibodies. These are immune cells that mistakenly fight and destroy sperm cells causing great harm to sperm and one’s ability to reproduce.
- Cancers and cancer treatments that affect the organs involved in reproduction (such as the pituitary gland);
- Injury or damage to the testicles or other parts of the reproductive system; or
- Hormone imbalances, such as low testosterone.
- Anatomical causes, such as varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum that prevent blood flow). These can interfere with sperm production. A congenital absence of the vas deferens (the sperm cannot be released into the ejaculate) can also affect one’s ability to father a child.
- Chromosomal defects like Klinefelter’ syndrome can cause a number of sperm issues.
- Ejaculation problems such as retrograde ejaculation (when sperm moves inwards), erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
- Environmental factors such as overexposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals, or radiation
- Harmful lifestyle habits including drug use, alcohol use, and smoking.
- Age. Age-related changes are less dramatic than what women experience.
Can Male Fertility Problems Be Cured
The ultimate goal of male infertility treatments is to enable a couple to conceive. Here are some common treatment options for infertility in men:
- Surgery. Varicoceles and obstructions in ste transportation system are repaired with surgery to allow the passage of sperm.
- Hormone therapy. This therapy often is used to replace the missing hormones in a male patient to restore sexual function and improve sperm production.
If these methods were not successful, assisted reproductive technology (ART) is recommended. In vitro fertilization, or shortly IVF, is one of the most successful ART procedures available to men with sperm issues. This high-tech treatment makes conception possible even for men with very low or abnormal sperm.
Sperm are collected either by ejaculation or using a needle. Alternatively, sperm can be obtained in a surgical procedure called Micro TESE. This sperm retrieval technique is recommended when there is sperm produced in the vas deferens (reservoar of sperm) but it is not present in the semen. Next, sperm are processed to select the healthiest, most motile sperm cells for fertilization. The best sperm is then introduced into the eggs by the method of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Since the introduction of ICSI, the need for using a sperm donor has dramatically dropped. Men with (obstructed and non-obstructed) azoospermia and oligospermia benefit from ICSI as this advanced technique successfully circumvents many of the sperm-related problems that prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg.
Fertilized eggs (now called embryos) are cultured in the lab until they reach an optimal stage of development. During this time, each embryo gets evaluated by our expert team of embryologists. Factors that are taken into consideration when assessing the quality of an embryo are: appearance, steady growth rate, and fragmentation percentage. The ones that demonstrate best quality characteristics are chosen to transfer directly to the woman’s uterus. Embryo transfer involves placing embryos into the uterine cavity using ultrasound-guided aspiration.
IVF requires at least some viable sperm for fertilization. ICSI can be performed when there are too low or abnormal sperm. For men who are not producing any sperm at all or their sperm is not viable for creating normal embryos, a third party may be involved in the process of creating a new life.
Like any other aspect of our health, a man’s fertility is also improved by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining an ideal weight, a well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants (found in fruits and vegetables), being physically active, getting enough sleep, and taking supplements may improve the quality of your sperm. Reducing stress and taking care of medical conditions can also improve a man’s chances of conceiving a child. Couples with underlying medical or genetic conditions should see a fertility doctor to advise on the best course of action before conception.
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