Dads are Important Too!
Male fertility is an essential component in preconception care. My vision is to provide optimal health care for you and your partner to not only achieve conception, but to ensure you have a healthy happy baby. We help you to do this by educating you on the importance of nutrition, lifestyle and environmental impacts on reproductive health.
Infertility, is the ultimate lifestyle disease – largely resulting from environmental and dietary toxicity, nutritional deficiency, age, stress, infection and immune dysfunction.
Preconception health care should take place for four months. Put simply it takes approx 100 days for eggs to mature and 116 days for sperm to generate. During this time they are vulnerable to toxicity/nutrient deficiency, so health of both parents for the 4 months prior to conception is extremely important. It should be noted that sperm are more vulnerable than eggs as they are smaller and more exposed, and are developed within the present environment. Up to 75% of couples having trouble conceiving is due to infertility in males.
This information is not meant to scare you, but to make you realise the important role that you as the male play in the conception of a healthy baby and to encourage you to follow the recommended nutritional, herbal and lifestyle advice recommended by us.
- Leukaemia, asthma, bronchial/respiratory system, mental development/disease are all linked to the fathers health.
- There is a 10-fold increase in testicular cancer for offspring of men exposed to organic solvents.
- There is a higher rate of respiratory disease, including asthma, particularly associated with the father smoking before conception. Miscarriage rates are linked to the health/morphology of sperm.
- A study in Karolinska, Stockholm showed 14% abnormal sperm = 14% miscarriage, 43% abnormal = 84% miscarriage. Half the miscarriages in the study were due to the male.
It should be noted that preconception care can make a difference to the risk of age related problems such as miscarriage and congenital defects.
- Research at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto analysed the sperm of men and found DNA damage in men >45 was double that of men <30. Other studies have shown that sperm cells accumulate mutations as men age, potentially leading to greater risk of brain abnormalities.
- Research carried out at Columbia University, and the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre and Hebrew University in Israel found that children born to men >40 years of age are almost 6X more likely to be autistic if Dad is <30.
- Swedish research of > 700,000 people showed that children fathered by men >35 had 2X the risk of developing schizophrenia as those fathered by men <35, and the risk was 5X if the father was >50.
- A man of 40 has the same risk of having a child with schizophrenia as a woman of 40 has of having a child with Down Syndrome. Overview of male factor influence on recurrent pregnancy loss Obstetrics and Gynaecology 19(3):22-228 June 2007.
- Other risks for partners of older men include a greater incidence of pre-eclampsia.
- Male fertility also decreases with age, with one study finding that it takes 32 months on average for a 50 year old man to father a child compared with 6 months for a man <20. Men >35 are 2X as likely to be infertile as those <25.• Thyroid disorders impact male fertility
In men, hyperthyroidism appears to alter sex steroid hormone metabolism, spermatogenesis and fertility. Sperm motility is mainly affected. These abnormalities reverse after restoration to normal thyroid function.1 Most male patients with chronic thyroid disease experience some sexual symptoms, such as premature ejaculation in hyperthyroidism and delayed ejaculation in hypothyroidism. Hypoactive sexual desire and erectile dysfunction can be symptoms in both conditions.2• Pesticide exposure reduces male fertility
In a recent study, strong connections were drawn between pesticide exposure and poor semen quality in men living in American rural areas, compared to men living in urban areas. The researchers report, “This is the first population-based study to demonstrate links between specific biomarkers of environmental exposures and biomarkers of male reproduction in humans.” They go on to conclude, “Given the current widespread use of these pesticides… the implications for public health and agricultural practice could be considerable.”3 This study highlights the support we may offer to our male fertility patients by recognising and addressing toxicity with a comprehensive detoxification program.• Healthy sperm are essential for conception
A healthy male ejaculation contains at least 40 million sperm – and yet only one is required to fertilise the ova. So why are so many required?
- Millions of sperm are lost immediately by spilling from the vagina. Millions more are destroyed by the cervical mucus.
- Once in the uterus, thousands more are destroyed by uterine contractions or by immune surveillance.
- Only a few thousand sperm reach the fallopian tubes, where half will go the wrong way, leaving the last few hundred to finally reach the waiting egg.
- Many sperm are required to break down the outer defenses of the ova so a path can eventually be cleared for one sperm to make contact with the oocyte membrane receptors.
- As soon as this sperm is accepted by the egg, the entire oocyte membrane potential alters to block the entry of any more sperm, so that the ovum is fertilised by just one lucky sperm.
5 Ways to Improve Male Fertility
The key to optimum fertility is to be as healthy as possible prior to a conception attempt. This will not only improve your chances of a natural or assisted conception, but it will significantly improve your chances of having the healthiest baby possible. In addition research shows that couples who, together, undergo a comprehensive natural fertility program prior a conception attempt are at least 47.1% more likely to conceive through IVF and have approximately 78% chance of naturally overcoming infertility.
As far as sperm are concerned–heat, toxic environmental exposure and oxidation are enemies that are best avoided. The key is to be as diligent as possible with leading a healthy lifestyle, whilst implementing effective natural strategies. Here are some tips you can start implementing now:
1) Be Cool
As best as you can try to avoid overheating the testicles–boxer shorts ARE better than briefs–AND stop crossing those legs! Research shows that squashing the testes for long periods can harm nerves and temporarily impede blood flow. This can cause tingling and numbness in the entire reproductive region and lead not only to infertility but also eventually to erectile dysfunction. If your job involves sitting for long periods, be sure to get up and walk around to cool things down a little and avoid using heated car seats. You will definitely also need to avoid baths, spas and saunas.
2) Watch Where You Put That Thing!
The last place you should put your mobile phone is in your pocket! Sperm cells are very sensitive to radiation of any kind and your sperm parameters will negatively suffer from the exposure. In order to optimise your fertility, it is best if you and your partner can avoid and protect yourselves as much as possible from all types of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Ensuring you don’t have any electric equipment in the bedroom is already a great positive start, because the hours you spend sleeping are potentially the only time in your day you are not constantly being radiated.
3) Antioxidants PLUS!
Nutrients and herbal medicines can have an amazingly nourishing and restorative effect on the body, which can be used to support healthy sperm production. However, each individual has different requirements and an assessment of your needs, as well as what other supplements or medicines you are currently taking is really important before embarking on any new supplementation. Resolving depletion or deficient states in your body can make a world of difference to optimising your fertility!
4) Toxins Kill
Not only can toxins have a negative impact on general health, they literally kill or damage sperm to a level which renders them unable to effect a healthy conception, causing infertility and/or being a contributing factor in recurrent miscarriages. A lot of chemicals in our environment are hormonal disruptors and have a part to play. The key is to avoid chemicals in every form as much as possible from cleaning products and pest control to paints, building materials, heavy metals and more. The basic rule: Do your homework before using any new product or chemical ‘solution’ presented to you. And ensure you use every possible and available protection from chemicals and other toxic hazards in the workplace.
5) Clean Up Your Diet & Improve your Lifestyle
Cut out the junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and base your meals on fresh, unprocessed, vital foods–everyday! The healthier your diet and lifestyle, the most optimum your fertility–it is that simple.
Making positive changes to optimise your health will also have a remarkably positive impact on your fertility–and the benefits don’t stop there! In ensuring you are doing your best you are also making a decision about your legacy in the form of your offspring. Start making consistently better choices today–your prospective child’s life depends on them.
1. Krassas GE, Pontikides N. Male reproductive function in relation with thyroid alterations. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004; 18(2): 183-95
2. Carani C, et al. Multicentre study on the prevalence of sexual symptoms in male hypo- and hyperthyroid patients. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005; 90(12): 6472-9
3. Swan SH, Kruse RL, Liu F, Barr DB, Drobnis EZ, Redmon JB, Wang C, Brazil C, Overstreet JW; Study for Future Families Research Group. Semen quality in relation to biomarkers of pesticide exposure. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Sep;111(12):1478-84