Pre-Conception Planning for Men

Pre-Conception Planning for Men

 

You’ve decided you want to start trying for kids. That’s awesome! Whether you’re jumping straight in, or taking a more thoughtful approach, it’s a good idea to approach it with a plan. 

 

Many couples don’t realize that even healthy conception can take a while. Fertility problems can delay plans even more.

 

Male Fertility Problems

 

We don’t mean to scare you, but having kids is serious business, and we want you to have the facts. 

 

It’s estimated 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting or staying pregnant. Male fertility problems are responsible in about ⅓ of all cases, and contribute to half. 

 

Keep in mind, experiencing infertility does not mean you won’t have a child, or two, or three. It just means it may be more difficult.

 

Here are a few things you can do to give yourself optimal fertility, and welcome your new child healthy and happy into the world.

 

Reach a Healthy Weight

 

Obesity can negatively impact male fertility in two ways: Decreases in sperm count and concentration, and decreases in the amount of reproductive hormones. It is estimated that for every 20 pounds that a man is overweight, his odds of infertility increase 10%.

 

Eat a Diet High in Antioxidants, Folic Acids, and Vitamin B-12

 

Certain foods can act as sperm boosters, having a positive association with sperm counts and sperm motility. Before you start reading labels, you’ll get plenty of antioxidants, folic acids, and B-12 if you eat a healthy balanced diet of fish, poultry, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

 

Supplements are also available, if you take them on a doctor’s advice.

 

Ditch Cigarettes, Marijuana, and Alcohol

 

We all have bad habits, but if you can cut way back on any smoking and drinking ahead trying to conceive, it could make a big difference. 

 

Just five alcoholic beverages per week may be enough to negatively affect your fertility by suppressing your testosterone production. Meanwhile, smoking cigarettes or marijuana is associated with decreased semen parameters, such as sperm count and sperm motility.

 

Review All Medications

 

Take a visit to your doctor and check in on how your medications may be affecting your sperm quality. Keep those you need, and try to remove the rest. Several medications have been linked to decreased semen parameters.

 

Men, your clock is ticking too.

 

Learn more about your biological sperm age and find out if you might want to start trying sooner than later.

 

TAKE QUIZ

Sources:

 

https://resolve.org/infertility-101/what-is-infertility/fast-facts/

https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/mens-preconception-health/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3719368/

 

Age and Female Fertility

A woman’s fertility is tied to the set number of eggs her body will produce throughout her life. Fertility changes as women age, with more serious impacts starting in the mid or late thirties, when the body stops making as much of the reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Then, during menopause (typically around age 51),  women’s ovaries stop producing eggs, and natural pregnancy is no longer possible. It is important to note, that reproductive ability frequently ends 5 to 10 years before menopause.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Women are taught about their reproductive timeline at a young age, and it can often prompt them to think more practically about their future family, than men do. Life plans such as finding a partner, advancing your career, and having children are all considered with an understanding of this biological clock. This can be complicated when a male partner doesn’t have the same understanding. However, men should be planning for their biological clock just the same.

Female Fertility Facts

  • A woman is most fertile in her late teens through late 20s. 
  • In her 30s, a woman’s fertility starts to decline, with a sharp decrease by the late 30s.
  • Having multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) happens more frequently in older women.
  • The risk for children with a genetic condition, such as down syndrome, goes up significantly in a woman’s 40s compared to her 20s and 30s.
  • As a woman ages, her risk of miscarriage increases as well.

Age and Male Fertility

Male Fertility Facts

  • Peak male fertility is around 25-29 years old.
  • Sperm quality begins to decline at 30.
  • Around 36-37, damage to sperm DNA begins to increase, and risk for genetic disease increases slightly
  • At 45, men begin to experience a significant decrease in semen volume.
  • Older men can also take longer to conceive a child.
  • As men age, testosterone production begins to decline, impacting sexual function and sperm quality.

The impact of age on male fertility hasn’t received the same focus as its impact on female fertility, because it does not have as obvious of an impact. However, that is no reason to discount it!

Age can significantly affect sperm quality. Testosterone production begins to decline, impacting sexual function and sperm quality. Sperm motility, or movement, is impacted making it more difficult for sperm to reach a woman’s egg. There is also an increase in abnormal sperm morphology, or shape, which can affect sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg.

Older dad’s also experience an increase in the risk for genetic disease in offspring. For example, a 50 year old man has double the risk that his child will have down syndrome than the risk of a 25 year old. While the risk is still low, the increase is significant.

Sources:

  • Having a Baby After Age 35: How Aging Affects Fertility and Pregnancy https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Having-a-Baby-After-Age-35-How-Aging-Affects-Fertility-and-Pregnancy
  • ASRM, Age and Fertility https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/age-and-fertility/
  • Fertility and the Aging Male 
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253726/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10920089

Men, your clock is ticking too.

Learn more about your biological sperm age and find out if you might want to start trying sooner than later.

Take Quiz
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