REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH/FERTILITY

Evaluating Male Fertility

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February 12, 2019

Prime your body for fertility and better overall health with these doctor-approved strategies.

Reports of declining male sperm rates may send you into a worried spiral if you’re considering having children, but although sperm counts have declined on average, it’s really quality, not quantity that matters when it comes to fertility . Men make millions of sperm and it only takes one to do the job.

Unfortunately, the quality of sperm, which typically declines with age, may be decreasing in much younger men these days, likely due to cumulative lifestyle factors.

While fertility rates are debatable and complicated by many factors, the decreased quantity and quality of sperm may be contributing more to male fertility than in the past. This could potentially explain the higher percentages of infertility being attributed to men in some studies.

Male infertility is thought to be responsible for as little as 8 percent of cases, but the combination of both male and female factors contributes to as high as 35 percent.

Evaluating male fertility

If you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving after a full year, you each may want to consider having your fertility evaluated.

The good news is the evaluation for male fertility is quite simple. Men, for the most part, should be interviewed and examined by a trained profession and otherwise provide a sperm sample as well as some additional blood tests.

As much as 65-80 percent of male infertility cases are related to sperm production . Not only does there have to be plenty of sperm, but they have to have normal shape, size and swimming ability.

Issues with sperm production can be inherent at birth or acquired due to things like infections, drug toxicities, or environmental factors such as toxins. Diet and low testosterone production associated with obesity are also common factors.

Fertility as a marker of health

In addition to testing for fertility, semen analysis can be a helpful biomarker of health in general. From an overly simplistic but interesting evolutionary perspective, some argue that once you are no longer reproductively capable, mother nature is done with you. Science seems to back this up to some extent. One large study found that men with abnormal semen parameters had an increased mortality rate in the years following an infertility evaluation, suggesting semen quality may provide a marker of health .

Issues with fertility are not uncommon but can often be corrected without invasive or expensive interventions. Typically a fundamental and personalized approach to health including a uniquely optimized diet for the individual, appropriate rest and sleep , attention to stress mitigation and management, regular involvement in the right physical activity and perhaps specific supplementation will help to improve not only your wellbeing in general, but your sexual and reproductive fitness as well. Parsley Health physicians and health coaches specialize in curating such programs for you.

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