Male Fertility factors make up a large proportion of fertility issues, and largely undiscussed and little support offered. Here we spend a little time looking at where some of the blockages could be, and, importantly, dismissing the term ‘male factor infertility’ as I’m not a fan of labeling anyone ‘infertile’, so here we are looking at ways to improve male fertility and sperm production.
This subject is an entire breezeblock of book, not just a few paragraphs, but I thought a brief overview is worthwhile.
Here we look at sperm in more (written) detail, and 10 tips to optimise your swimmers.
So we know that we need millions of sperm, all strong swimmers, with stamina and all swimming in the correct direction. To produce a baby the traditional way, the millions and millions of sperm then need to be deposited in a potentially hostile environment, cover a relatively huge distance.
In an attempt to find an equivalent, I have scoured the web for some reliable information.
Some of my findings:
- They travel at approximately 5mm per hour; sperm moves faster under microgravity conditions.
- They cover a distance the equivalent of flying from Earth to the moon; The equivalent of walking from London to Glasgow in a week; The equivalent of an adult human swimming the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Tahiti.
- Drinking coffee makes them speedier; drinking coffee makes them poor quality; drinking coffee has no effect.
- They make their way from the cervix, passing through the uterus (if no egg is waiting for them already) and make their way up the fallopian tubes, to meet their date, and start the process of dividing and conquering as they make their way back to the uterus as “one”; The journey from the cervix to the fallopian tubes is approximately 4 inches.
Now to slightly more ‘useful info’.
Frequent ejaculation is important for healthy sperm.
Sperm have a shelf life. They also have a quick turn-around. This is great news for men as it means that lifestyle changes only take about 3 months to have a real difference to the quality.
So, if you have been given the news that your sperm is not at its best, rather than feeling downhearted, take great joy in the fact that you and your sperm have a superpower… you can transform them with a few tweaks!
Once they have covered the mammoth journey, having lost a number of their cavalry on the way, as they reach the egg, just one lucky sperm alone can fuse with the egg.
If you are well-read on the subject, then you will be aware that it is pretty miraculous that conception even occurs.
After the incredible production line in the man’s body, the journey outbound resembles one of the twisty, loop the loop, bendy straws (explained more eloquently on https://medlineplus.gov/ency/anatomyvideos/000121.htm)
If the party comrades are lucky they will find themselves in a vagina, they then start their journey forwards. They begin the trek to find the elusive egg.
*Note. The egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours, so it could well be handy to have some sperm waiting in place, superman sperm can live up to around 5 days, feel free to add some more as you go along)
Sperm meets egg, and if another bundle of miracles happen, you’ll be blessed with a fun little bundle in a little over 9 months.
That’s the story with healthy eggs, ph and a friendly vaginal environment, and millions upon millions of sperm.
So what happens if you have low numbers of sperm, poor mobility or unfavourable morphology… don’t despair. It isn’t in the ideal plan, but it is not the end of the story. It does only require one champion, one survivor. In a book I have been writing about keeping hope, I share a story from a gent I know, with an apparent (long-term) very very very low sperm count, and what was present was swimming dizzily in circles for an hour or so before flagging. To cut his story short, he has two fantastic sons that just appeared as if by magic. Both naturally conceived. After pretty much a decade of TTC, failed IVF etc, he spent some time investing in himself with hypnotherapy and reiki.
It takes one single sperm and one single egg and just one miracle to create a baby.
These miracles happen all of the time.
Do not despair. Keep hope… and get the Superman powers on the go by following some simple lifestyle changes to create SuperSperm… and use mind-body therapies to shift any mental or emotional blocks.
* On a quick side note, women are also simply amazing. Within her vagina, just by the cervix, your awaiting sperm will be given a little ‘room’ to wait. These are known as crypts. Whilst in these little crypts, the cervical fluid has some sort of magical power and sorts the good sperm from the poorer specimens, and they nourish and feed the good-uns until the signal that the egg is released has been heard.
Wonderful, wonderful bodies… and we work together amazingly.
Mindset is important. Even if only for your mental and emotional health.
You may have heard the terms ‘low sperm count’ ‘poor motility’ ‘poor morphology’ being mentioned. You may have only heard your head sprouting out some not so nice thoughts.
Terms related to ‘firing blanks’ was used as an insult to men at one point. I certainly hope it isn’t anymore, and it’s not just that I live within different groups of friends who don’t get joy out of insulting others anymore.
So, first of all, I want you to remember that we live in a world full of toxins that affect us in a way like we never used to.
Pesticides and GM foods, constant exposure to electronic radiation, stressful lifestyles, to name but a few causes.
Thankfully as a man with a superpower, you can change the quality of your sperm with diet etc over as little as 3 months – the time it takes to produce it, which means that you have some options…
So, if like approximately a 3rd of the couples affected by fertility issues, it’s the male aspect that is found as the cause, there is hope. You can do many things to help yourself, with a little time and dedication.
If you’d like a detailed and more in-depth scientific book on the male reproductive system and how to overcome some potential issues, check out ‘Overcoming male infertility. Understanding its causes and treatments.’ Leslie R.Schover Ph.D. and Anthony J. Thomas Jr., M.D.
Above all though, keep hope and blast the stigma of male infertility out of the water.
As promised, here are 10 ways to safeguard and improve your sperm quality and fertility.
1. Where’s your mobile phone?
If the answer is in your trouser pocket, you could do with thinking of new ways of carrying your phone around with you. How many people have forgotten the uproar about potential mobile phone radiation that was well talked about when mobiles became increasingly popular in the ’90s?
The concerns didn’t go away because of research that proved it was safe… they just seemed to go quiet, along with the increase in the mobile phone business market.
Most of us chose not to even think about life without our smartphones, so maybe we need to reconsider a few options with regards to the use.
…Not to mention laptops and tablets using wifi. Where’s the barrier between the heat source/wifi/GPS location services and your man bits?
Ok, so I don’t want to make you stop reading already. I’m aware I’ve already pointed out the much-loved mobile is potentially zapping your swimmers, now I’m possibly reminding you to curb the booze and caffeine, and increase the water. I don’t need to lecture you, as I’m sure you’ll instinctively know why already.
Just be mindful of how many glasses of water you’ve had (or not had!) each day.
3. Cool dude?
This one you also probably know about. Cool nuts are good nuts! Avoiding hot baths, saunas, and maybe even a little less time spent slaving over a hot stove, if you’re lucky! Boxers rather than briefs!
Be honest with yourself. Do you think you get enough hours in bed asleep? I stress the ‘in bed asleep’ rather than adding ‘snoozing on the sofa’ into your quota of sleep.
I’m talking about the proper stuff. Maybe do yourself a favour and kill two birds with one stone, leave the mobile/tablet downstairs, and go to sleep in good time.
5. What’s your poison?
And I’m not talking about booze this time. Even though we know that cigarettes and heavy alcohol lower sperm production, so can regular over the counter products.
As can BPA in plastic drink bottles, and the lining of tins such as tinned tomatoes.
If you are health conscious and already eat an organic diet and don’t take pharmaceutical drugs, then you are doing well! If not, just be mindful about what you are putting into your body.
Even certain health supplements can potentially be problematic. If a supplement has a testosterone product in it, it could be sending the message to your brain that you have enough testosterone in your body, and not send the signals to make sperm.
6. Fit little swimmers?
Certain exercises could be detrimental to the delicate little fellas. Even getting on your bike too often could tip the balance. Being mindful of the effect that the exercise is having on your testicles will give you an idea if it’s ok for your little yous.
7. Sex. How much is enough (or not enough)?
If you’re reading this and just thinking about safeguarding your sperm for the future, then this part isn’t relevant to you right now, but if baby-making is on the agenda, then the question of how much sex should you be having, and when, is an important question… Answered in two parts.
Firstly, it isn’t true that the more often, the better. Sorry. You need to give your body a rest to be able to produce a good quality specimen. So, maybe every other day would be good. Or even every third day.
Secondly, when is the best time? You need some input from your woman here.
You see, this is where sperm is clever…If the environment is favourable, your sneaky little swimmers could live inside for a few days to potentially five days (some studies have even shown a possible week, but personally I think it’s unlikely to be commonplace.)
So, they can be hanging around waiting for the egg to pop… And hey presto…but if conditions aren’t favourable, and by favourable I mean cervix is ready and producing the right fluid, the sperm can survive in the little holding area, the crypts… waiting for the signals to set off!
The egg only lives 12 to 24 hours, so you have a window of time to procreate to be able to potentially fertilise that egg. So unless you are very in tune with your woman, then you will need her to alert you to the signs that her body is ready.
If all else fails, then every third day should cover any potential opening.
8. Male fertility massage?
Mizan Therapy is for men too. Abdominal massage that brings a fresh, oxygenated blood supply to the pelvic area is definitely a good thing. Releasing stagnation with lymphatic massage, and some wonderful herbs potentially too, to help boost things along. There aren’t many Mizan practitioners that work with men right now, but it’s worth checking on their website to see if there is anyone near you.
9. Diet, food, fuel? We truly are made up of what we eat.
Whether you are vegan, paleo, veggie, meat-and-two-veg, as long as you aren’t Junk Food Joe. When you do a search for foods that help sperm, the same suggestions crop up all of the time.
Zinc seems to be number one shout out!
Zinc can be found in good quality meats, legumes like beans, chickpeas etc, I prefer to source mine from nuts and seeds though.
Increase your antioxidant-rich foods
Get enough vitamin D, naturally would be my favourite way, but if you don’t spend enough time outdoors, aim for a good quality D3.
A clean diet will make such a difference to your overall health, and therefore your body’s ability to regenerate.
10. Hypnotherapy and mindfulness practices, in particular The Fertile Body Method.
Stress is a very common factor in fertility journeys, and stress hormones really do not help. Using techniques to lower stress levels, aid relaxation, you not only benefit from it for the purpose of your fertile health, but life overall.
But when you add in certain factors from the Fertile Body Method, we are removing limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, patterns and behaviours that no longer serve you, but we are also reminding ourselves that our mind controls our body… but yet… we control our minds. I am a huge fan of the so-called Placebo Effect, where it is proven in clinical trail after clinical trial that we change the chemistry of our bodies just using the mind. This is too powerful a tool to sweep under the rug.