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We hear a lot about the common misconceptions women have about the conception process, such as drinking Robitussin to increase your odds of conception or elevating your hips after having sex. Yet, there are quite a few fertility and conception-related myths out there that apply to men, as well. So, men, listen up! This one is for you.
Here are some of the things you’ve probably been told about your role in the baby-making process that simply may not be true at all:
- Lube will help your swimmers get where they’re going. You might not realize it, but the vaginal environment is rather harsh on sperm. It’s actually hostile to sperm. That’s why the sperm needs some help getting through the vagina and past the cervix. A woman’s body secrets something called “cervical mucus” to help the sperm make its journey. The cervical mucus carries the sperm and helps protect it from the harsh conditions of the vagina. Lubricants, on the other hand, don’t help sperm “slide” into the fallopian tubes; in fact, most lubricants actually interfere with the function of the cervical mucus. If you need a lubricant during baby-making sex, find one that’s branded as conception-friendly.
- Helping your partner orgasm will increase the odds of conception. There’s a theory that says the contractions occurring in the uterus when a woman has an orgasm could help to move the sperm along on its journey. The truth is that, while an orgasm certainly doesn’t hurt anything, it may not help the sperm make its journey. There is some research that shows that an orgasm will increase the alkalinity of the cervical mucus, which may favor male-producing sperm, however. So, if you’re hoping to make a Junior, that might be one way to increase the odds slightly.
- Riding a bicycle will lower your sperm count. This isn’t quite true. It’s possible that someone who’s a long-distance, Olympic-quality biker might create enough heat and jostling on the testicles to affect conception, although this has never been proven scientifically. If you aren’t biking competitively, there’s probably not anything to worry about.
- Boxers, not briefs, help you conceive. This one is persistent, and it’s based on a sound idea. Excessive heat can reduce your sperm count, and the heat your testicles experience wearing briefs is slightly higher than in boxers. However, that heat isn’t enough to have that kind of a medical impact. Long hot baths or time in a hot tub might do it, but briefs isn’t going to do it.
- Eating bananas will make you sterile. This was big news several years ago in the conception world. It was thought that the chemicals used in growing the bananas had a negative impact on the fertility of the workers on the banana farm. Yet, there’s no clinical evidence to suggest that someone who eats bananas could be affected the same way.
While there are things you can do to help increase the odds of conception, watch out for those convincing-sounding myths. There’s no harm in avoiding bananas or wearing briefs, of course, but there’s also no reason to do so.
Cozying up with your husband on a cold winter night can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
A new study published the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology has reported that your hubby’s sperm can be the healthiest during the winter and early spring months.
The study found that the semen contained a greater number of sperm with faster swimming speeds and fewer morphology issues during the colder winter months. The quality of the sperm declined steadily from the spring into the summer.
Two-thirds of the men in the study had normal sperm production, defined as at least 16 million sperm for each milliliter of semen. One-third of the study participants had abnormal sperm production which included low sperm count.
For men with normal sperm production, they produced about 70 million sperm per milliliter of semen during the winter. About 5 percent of those sperm had “fast” motility.
The spring results showed a lower number of sperm, 68 million sperm per milliliter and only 3% of the sperm were fast swimmers.
Men with abnormal sperm production, however, were slightly more likely to make fast swimmers in the fall and a larger percentage of healthy sperm during the spring.
“Based on our results the [normal] semen will perform better in winter, whereas [couples with infertility] related to low sperm counts should be encouraged to choose spring and fall,” the researchers wrote.
These results do not imply that you should only try to get pregnant in specific seasons, but rather your odds of getting pregnant are a bit better at certain times of the year depending on your husband’s current sperm health.
A recent study relating to male infertility seems to show that men who have more brothers than sisters tend to be more fertile than men who have more sisters than brothers. The exact reasons for the link between the gender or a man’s siblings and his fertility is unclear, but researchers believe the same genetic traits which cause men to be more fertile may also lead to an increased likelihood of fathering boys.
The study mainly considered the motility of men’s sperm. Motility refers to how quickly sperm move and is related to the potency of the sperm and male fertility. In the study, men who had more brothers than sisters consistently had higher sperm motility than men who had more sisters.
Female Fertility is Believed to Work the Opposite Way
The researchers have speculated that female fertility is likely to work in exactly the opposite manner, with females who have more sisters than brothers being more fertile and more likely to give birth to girls than to boys. At present, there is no research to confirm or deny this hypothesis.
Of course, if your partner has more sisters than brothers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is infertile. It simply means that he is less likely to be as fertile as a man who grew up in a house full of bouncing baby boys. Likewise, you shouldn’t despair if you are the only girl in the brood, but it may mean that you are somewhat less fertile than girls who grew up having tea parties with their sisters.
When to Seek Help for Fertility
At present, doctors aren’t advising that you seek help for fertility issues any sooner on account of the gender of your siblings (or his). However, if you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a year or longer (six months or longer if over age 35), you should consider speaking with your health care professional about your options for boosting fertility, assuming that calling his mom up and requesting that she try to pop out an extra brother or two is out of the question.
Assuming the findings and speculation surrounding this study are true and accurate, how could your fertility as a couple be affected? Will you factor this information in when deciding whether to seek fertility treatment?
The conventional wisdom tells us that women’s fertility is limited. Eventually, every woman will enter menopause. She’ll stop ovulating, and no longer have the physical capability of becoming pregnant. This is in some ways a defensive evolutionary mechanism; a woman in her late 80s who became pregnant would likely not survive the pregnancy – and neither would her baby.
But with men, we’re told that fertility goes on and on and on. Because a man produces sperm throughout his life cycle, he is theoretically fertile until the day he dies. We’ve all heard stories like the 96 year-old man in India who recently conceived a child.
Yet, it’s not all black and white.
Research suggests male fertility declines with age, too
A study from 2004 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology demonstrated that, among a group of couples trying to conceive via in vitro fertilization, each year of a man’s age actually reduced the odds of a conception by about 11 percent.
There’s also emerging research that suggests that as men age, they’re likely to father children that have a higher risk of genetic abnormalities. There are mutations that occur to a man’s sperm as he ages. The odds of the child developing any number of diseases – such as schizophrenia, autism, and others – rises with the age of the father.
Of course, every man is different. There are any number of factors that can impact fertility for a man positively. The 96 year-old dad in India is reported to eat a diet of vegetables and almonds. He also claims to have sex three times each night – which is no small feat in any man over the age of about 35.
It could be that a diet high in antioxidants, Vitamins C and E, Zinc, and folate may be able to prevent DNA damage to sperm. Interestingly enough, all of those except Vitamin C can be found in almonds. Another study suggests that daily ejaculation may also reduce DNA damage to sperm.
So, what do you think? How old is too old for a man to become a father? Should there be a limit? Is it worth the risks?
Having a low sperm count is the most common reason that a man may have trouble trying to conceive. Surprisingly, many couples may not immediately feel like it’s worth having a man’s sperm analyzed. They assume, quite incorrectly, that infertility issues are entirely the purview of the woman, and that it’s just not as likely to be a problem. The statistics, however, suggest that the male partner may be responsible for fertility issues in around half of the cases where a couple is trying to conceive but is unsuccessful.
What makes matters worse is that there aren’t a whole lot of medical options for when you have a low sperm count. Fortunately, many men have had luck making some other changes to diet or lifestyle.
Here are a few ways you may be able to naturally increase your sperm count:
- Make some changes to your diet. Make sure that your diet consists of whole and unprocessed foods. You want to make sure you’re getting enough whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds in particular. Specifically, it is thought that raw sunflower seeds and even pumpkin seeds may help out some with a low sperm count. Try to get as much as 1/4 cup of raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds each day.
- Vitamin supplements might help with your low sperm count, too. Some of the relevant vitamins include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Selenium, Zinc Arginine, and Carnitine.
- There are some herbs that might help to naturally increase your sperm count, as well. These include things like Maca, Goshkura and even Extracts Vriddadaru.
In the end, there’s nothing you can do to guarantee that you will be able to increase your sperm count. However, it may be that the combination of seeking medical advice along with some of these natural steps may be able to help you out in the long run.
Digital technologies like WiFi are, really, in their infancy. Some of these technologies have been around for less than a decade. It’s conceivable that there are health implications with many of these technologies that we just don’t understand yet. One of the areas that scientists are just starting to discover in that regard is WiFi and male fertility.
According to a recent study in Argentina, WiFi may actually damage sperm. This study took semen samples from 29 men. They then placed a little bit of the semen under a laptop that was sending and receiving a Wi-Fi signal.
What the scientists discovered was compelling. Just four hours later, about a quarter of the sperm had stopped moving. When compared with sperm that weren’t stored under the computer but were stored at the same temperature, only about 14 percent seemed to be affected.
Electromagnetic radiation and WiFi
WiFi technology emits low levels of electromagnetic radiation. While a laptop by itself will also create a certain amount of electromagnetic radiation, WiFi use emits significantly higher amounts.
This seems to dovetail with other recent research which shows that radiation from cell phones may also cripple sperm in the lab.
Laptop use and sperm quality
Another factor in all of this is heat. One of the more solidly-researched areas of sperm quality, as you probably know, has to do with heat. Heat on the scrotum just isn’t good for sperm production.
That creates a double-whammy for the man who is trying to get his partner pregnant. Using a laptop with WiFi, then, could affect male fertility.
The research is all very new, and there hasn’t been any specific research connecting laptop use with infertility directly. Indeed, it’s far too early to suggest a definite connection.
(On top of all of that, who actually uses a laptop computer on their laptop these days?)
More research is necessary
If you’re trying to conceive, there’s no compelling reason to go back to a wired Internet connection just yet. That said, it’s certainly worth continued investigation.
So, what do you think? Is all of this technology around us affecting fertility rates?