It's more important than ever to increase your man's sperm count fast.
Sperm quality (count, density, and morphology) is decreasing worldwide. Recent research shows that sperm counts in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Europe have dropped a shocking 50% over the past 38 years. Is sperm going extinct??
The news is alarming in itself, but comes as even more of a surprise since male infertility tends to be a subject that escapes the spotlight.
We tend to focus more on women’s reproductive health, especially when couples struggle trying to conceive. But male factor infertility is equally as common as female factor infertility. In fact, one third of all cases of infertility are male, another third female, and the last third is a combination of both reproductive partners.
Decreased sperm quality poses a large and impending issue for many couples trying to conceive. Here’s what you need to know from the latest research:
- A meta-analysis by P. Sengupta et al. found a 32.5% decrease in sperm count between 1978 and 2018.
- The decline continues to grow steeper and steeper in more recent years, which indicates that the problem is getting worse.
- Sperm density has been tracked to show a decline of 1.5% per year, with no sign of stopping.
- Sperm morphology is also affected. The percent of normal morphology has shown a decline between 2010 and 2017.
Sperm quality is declining, and so are fertility rates.
Fertility rates (calculated by the number of live births per woman) have also declined in the same countries with declining sperm count. Women are not having enough children to replace the current population. An average of 2.1 children per woman is ideal, to replace herself, her partner, and the extra 0.1 is to account for children who don’t survive to reproductive age.
So declining sperm quality seems to be a major problem, but why? And more importantly, what do you do?
Low sperm count is not just a reproductive issue, but an overall health issue. There appears to be a correlation between infertility and increased risk of other health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.
A number of personal habits and environmental conditions may also contribute to decreased sperm quality.
A whopping 80% of Americans today are insufficiently active, especially as compared to previous generations. This is due to a combination of factors, including less active requirements for jobs and increased screen time. To boost sperm quality, mood, and overall mental state, it is suggested that adults partake in 2.5 hours of low-to-moderate activity per day. Low-to-moderate activity is equivalent to golfing, hiking, yoga, or lengthy walks (get those steps in for sperm count!).
Smoking + Recreational Drug Use
Smoking and recreational drug use, including cigarettes, vape pens, marijuana, cocaine, etc., negatively affects a number of biological functions. Tobacco and recreational drug use has been shown to increase bodily inflammation and affect male reproductive hormones. Subsequently, these affected hormones decrease sperm count and concentration, libido, and can cause DNA fragmentation, meaning an increased chance of DNA mutations in future children.
State of mind is key for reproductive health. When stressed, the body assumes it’s in survival mode, which is a less than ideal time to bring new life into the world. Constant psychological stress will affect sperm quality and libido, making trying to conceive even more frustrating.
Make sure to take time to find a stress reliever (exercise is a great one). Ensure you’re getting adequate and good quality sleep (7-10 hours). If you have been trying to conceive for a long time consider taking a vacation with your significant other, relax and reconnect.
Excessive Heat Exposure
The testicles are dropped below to the body to create distance and decrease overall temperature. On average, a testes, is two degrees Fahrenheit below the average body temperature. It’s important to keep these babies cooled down, to increase sperm quality. Try wearing loose underwear, take a break from the post-workout sauna or hot tub, and avoid putting your laptop on your lap.
Toxins in the environment can affect sperm count. This includes pesticides, heavy metal exposure (e.g. lead, mercury), organic solvents, radiation, endocrine-disrupting compounds, BPA, and phthalates.
To limit pesticide exposure, wash fruits and vegetables before consumption and limit pesticide use in household gardens and landscaping.
Trace amounts of heavy metals can be found in a number of everyday items. Consider switching to aluminum-free deodorant, take a close look at cosmetic products, and take note of seafood consumption. A general rule of thumb for seafood and toxins: the lower down the food chain, the less mercury risk. Here is a list to consider when choosing what fish to eat and how often.
To decrease BPA exposure, cut back on canned goods and try switching from plastic bottles and containers to glass.
Endocrine disruptors are harder to detect. Here is a list of all different disruptors.
Age + Diet
Age also affects sperm counts. As men get older, their sperm count declines (who said men don’t have a biological clock?).
In general, the American diet tends to provide high-caloric intake but low nutritional content. Diets high in vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and Omega 3 have been proven to help sperm count, motility, and morphology.
While sperm might not be totally extinct quite yet, it’s probably a good idea to check your man’s sperm quality. Make sure to check sperm health from the comfort of home with our At-Home Male Fertility Pack. After a quick check, there is plenty that men can do to boost their sperm count and quality; you’ll find tons of ideas right here on our blog.
The silver lining of such concerning news coming to light is that male reproductive health is finally becoming a priority; men finally have the tools and knowledge to take charge of their fertility.