How To Improve Semen Quality

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If you’re trying to have a baby, there are a number of things you can do to improve the quality of your semen and sperm which will optimise your chances of getting pregnant. This guide will explain what is tested for in a sperm sample and what health and lifestyle changes may impact your sperm.

What is measured in a semen analysis?

A semen analysis is used to check the quality and quantity of the sperm. The analysis measures volume, how many sperm there are (concentration), how the sperm are moving (motility) and how they are shaped (morphology)1. As well as some other tests. Find out more about semen analysis here.

What can impact semen quality?

In many cases, the cause of a lowered sperm quantity or quality is unknown. However, there are some factors that are known to reduce sperm quality. This can include smoking, the use of recreational drugs, some over the counter medicine, hormone imbalances or genetic conditions2

What can you do to improve your semen quality?

Research has shown that an unhealthy lifestyle can have a negative impact on semen parameters. Changes to your lifestyle may help to improve the quality of your sperm and optimise your chances of getting pregnant. 

Quit smoking

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your fertility and overall health and wellbeing. 

There is a link between smoking and poor sperm quality. The chemical changes in your body due to smoking can cause sperm DNA damage which can affect the chances of them fertilising an egg3. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reported in 2012 that semen parameters and results of sperm function tests are 22% poorer in smokers than in non-smokers4

Reduce alcohol consumption

Your fertility is likely to be unaffected if your consumption is within the recommended guidelines of 3-4 units per day5. Excessive consumption however can have a negative impact on your testosterone production which may negatively affect the number of healthy sperm being produced. A 2018 study reported that testosterone levels in men with excessive alcohol consumption can be close to 25% lower than those who do not drink6

Exercise

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend having a BMI between 20-30 when trying to conceive as men who have a BMI of 30 or higher are likely to have reduced fertility and a reduced likelihood of pregnancy. Daily exercise can help maintain a healthy weight through increasing blood circulation and improving blood sugar regulation. 

Eat healthy

A well balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight while providing an appropriate intake of vitamins, fibre and protein5. A fertility friendly diet includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and seafood. High levels of nutrients and antioxidants are vital for healthy sperm production and will improve semen quality.

Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can have an impact on your physical health. Getting more than 7 hours of sleep per night can help with your fertility7, immune system and your mental well being. Disruptions in your sleeping pattern can have an impact on your reproductive hormones, which can affect your sperm quality.

Ejaculation frequency 

Studies have indicated that ejaculating every 2-3 days is ideal for maintaining optimal sperm quality and health8 and the common recommendation when trying to get pregnant is to have intercourse every 2-3 days through the menstrual cycle. 

Supplements
Supplements can be an easy solution to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients. A multivitamin with zinc, vitamin E, selenium and CoenzymeQ10 can be beneficial for male fertility and can improve semen quality9. Be sure to check with your GP before taking any supplements so you follow the recommended instructions. 

Cycling and fertility 

While it may be a common fertility concern, a study on British cycling habits has found that men who cycle regularly are not more likely to be infertile10. The research conducted by scientists at University College London also debunked the myth that cycling increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Visit your GP

If you’re worried about your semen you can visit your GP who may arrange a test or you could consider testing privately.

Learn more about improving your semen quality for pregnancy

References

Any general advice given by our care team or posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Béa Fertility, the trading name for StepOne Fertility Ltd. makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app.