There are many different aspects of your life that you can alter if you’re focused on increasing fertility, including:
- Mental Aspects (Sleep, Stress, Mental Health)
- Physical Aspects (Diet, Exercise, Etc.)
- Environmental Aspects (Exposure to Heat and/or Chemicals)
Here, you will learn about the many different mental aspects of your life that can affect male fertility. In addition to getting enough sleep and managing stress, you can gain an understanding of common male fertility issues and how the parameters for what is considered normal are measured.
Important Parameters for Male Infertility
Two percent of men will exhibit less-than-optimal sperm parameters. The three main factors determining sperm health are sperm count, morphology, and motility.
A man’s sperm count is the number of sperm in a single ejaculate. It is measured in millions of sperm per milliliter (mL) of semen. An average sperm count is 15 million sperm per mL or more; anything less would be considered a low sperm count.
A sperm’s morphology – or shape – is a crucial metric for assessing male fertility. Abnormally shaped sperm are less likely to have the ability to swim and penetrate an egg’s outer layer; both functions are necessary for fertilization.
Sperm motility describes how well sperm can move. If a person has normal sperm motility, their sperm moves through the female reproductive tract to reach an egg within the natural timeline. If a person has low sperm motility, their sperm does not move fast enough or far enough to fertilize an egg.
Increasing Fertility by Getting Sleep
Sleep is more than just a period of physical rest; it’s a complex biological process vital for every person’s overall health. Poor sleep can impair your immune system, cognitive abilities, and fertility.
Chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with hormone production, including testosterone, which plays a vital role in male fertility. Certain sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have also been proven to increase the likelihood of infertility in men.
Some ways to ensure your sleeping habits promote fertility rather than hinder it include:
- Establishing a Regular Sleep Schedule: Keeping your internal clock consistent helps regulate hormone production.
- Promoting a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Your bedroom should be cool, dark, and quiet to encourage deeper, more restful sleep.
- Limiting Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light from devices can interfere with your sleep cycle. Consider reading before bed instead of scrolling on your phone.
Increasing Fertility by Managing Stress
Stress and male fertility are closely intertwined. Chronic stress can disrupt male fertility, decreasing sperm count, motility, and morphology. Some ways to better manage stress include:
- Exercising Regularly: Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins – your body’s natural mood lifters. Exercising can also directly boost male fertility.
- Practice Mindfulness: Activities like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress and improve mental clarity.
- Stay Social: Maintaining close relationships and a robust social network can help keep stress in check.
Note that while stress alone can hinder male fertility, so can certain mental health conditions and disorders that lead to increased stress levels.
How Medication Can Impact Fertility
The medications used to treat some mental health conditions and disorders can have a considerable impact on fertility. Common mental-health-related medicines that can impact male fertility include:
|Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine, Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Etc.
|Can hinder sperm concentration, sperm morphology, and sperm motility.
|Alpha Blockers (Silodosin, Tamsulosin, Etc.)
|Can cause a steep decrease in the volume of ejaculation or inhibit ejaculation completely.
|Consistent opioid use can hinder normal testosterone production.
The Importance of Transparency with Your Doctor
It’s crucial to involve a mental health professional in your fertility journey. If you’re grappling with such issues and/or taking fertility-inhibiting medications, your doctor can provide guidance on managing these challenges while optimizing your reproductive health.
Ensure that you are open with your doctor and share your lifestyle habits, medical history, and any potential symptoms you may have, even f it feels uncomfortable to do so. The more your doctor knows, the better they can help address your fertility issues.