Look, if you had just one shot, or one opportunity, to seize all the best bits of your DNA, and release them in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?
You’ve decided to make a baby. On the surface you feel calm and ready, but have you thought about how things are operating down below?
When sperm meets egg, it’s not just her health that matters. Your successful swimmer will make up half of baby’s DNA. So while she’s taking Elevit and charting her basal body temperature, here’s some things you can do to maximise your chances of conception, and make sure that when it happens, you are putting your best bits forward.
Let your bits breathe
The reason your bits dangle is because perfect sperm production happens at slightly below normal body temperature. This means no saunas, hot baths or long bike rides for at least 3 months in the lead up. Sperm takes about ten weeks to fully regenerate, so overheat your boys in March and it could be May before you have a full complement of swimmers again.
What’s that vibrating in your pants?
Take your mobile out of your trouser pocket. Recent studies suggest it increases your chances of abnormal sperm which lowers your fertility. “We think this is being caused by a heating of the sperm from the phone and by electromagnetic activity,” says Professor Martha Dirnfeld, author of research published in Reproductive Biomedicine in 2016.
The same study suggests talking on your mobile for more than an hour a day – particularly while it’s being charged – can double the likelihood of lower sperm concentration.
Lay off the meat pies
You and your gut may have had some good times together, but end it now if you want a bun in the oven any time soon. A study by the University of Adelaide found that obese men have more trouble creating top-quality sperm for their ladies. “We found that compared to men of a healthy weight, obese men were two thirds more likely to be infertile and almost three times as likely to have a non-viable pregnancy after undergoing assisted reproduction”, says lead researcher Dr. Jared Campbelll.
Have more sex
Having regular sex increases testosterone production and leads to more rapid sperm production. While infrequent sex can cause a low sperm count. Put simply, if you’re planning on popping one past the keeper, get plenty of practice in the pre-season.
Go easy on the booze
Drinking affects your sperm’s motility (their ability to swim). Good motility means your sperm swim quickly and progressively in a straight line. Sperm with poor motility swim sluggishly and in circles, making it difficult for them to reach and penetrate the egg.
Frequent drinking can also impact overall sperm count and the number of healthy swimmers you have in your team. A Danish study published in the BMJ Open Journal suggests that sperm quality is affected by regularly drinking more than 5 units of alcohol per week.
No cigarettes = no brainer
According to Dr Gayatri Borude, Fertility specialist at Pivet Medical Centre in Perth, “Smoking restricts the blood flow around the testes which can affect production and overall sperm count.” This is why if you smoke it can take you longer to conceive. What’s worse, smoking can also damage your sperm’s DNA, which can affect your future baby’s health.
The advice from the experts is to give up smoking at least 3 months before trying for a baby (which is about how long it takes for sperm to completely regenerate). It will be good for baby, and good for you too.
A healthy diet for your sperm
“Your diet is every bit just as important as a mum-to-be’s”, says HBF dietitian Janelle Healy. Here are her top tips for a healthy diet for your sperm:
Go green – “Mum’s not the only one who needs folate,” advises Healy. Eating lots of greens like broccoli, cabbage and spinach, and including wholegrain cereals in your diet help keep your sperm DNA healthy on their A-game.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C – It cuts the risk of abnormal sperm and boosts sperm motility.
Get more zinc – Even short-term zinc deficiencies can reduce the amount of semen you produce. Now’s a great time to dig into a juicy scotch fillet, but other good sources include baked beans and oysters. Or try a good zinc and selenium supplement, another sperm helper.
Increase calcium and vitamin D – That is, drink milk and dairy products for fertility. Milk and yoghurt with breakfast and some low fat cheese with lunch can give you what you need.
Making babies is a big deal. Don’t just lose yourself in the music the moment you want it. Do some proper planning and get your health in order before you let it go. After all, when sperm meets egg, you only get one shot…