Try This Male Fertility Improvement Plan to Increase Sperm Production

Try This Male Fertility Improvement Plan to Increase Sperm Production

We bet you've heard the news linking high LDL cholesterol and saturated fat intake (for example, greasy cheeseburgers and premium ice cream) to low sperm counts, whereas good-fat foods, such as fish and walnuts, are associated with a bigger, better, baby-making squad. Our favorite headline (kudos to Maine's Bangor Daily News) says it all: "Sperm goes limp with fatty foods, while fish perks them up." But don’t stop there. If you're a man concerned about fertility (or a spouse hoping for a baby soon), we have a do-it-yourself male fertility improvement plan to increase sperm production.

Healthy sperm and a robust sperm count improve your odds that a single sperm will survive its ultra-marathon journey and meet an eligible egg. Sperm have different functions. Some act like blockers to stop other sperm, which makes "survival of the fittest" sense for animals with multiple mates during rutting season, while others are sprinters designed to beat a path to the egg. More than half of a guy's sperm are the sprinter/swimmer type, and those oval heads need to be strong enough to break through an egg's tough outer layer.

Giving your sperm a healthy makeover makes sense for every couple trying to have a baby. If you are younger than 34 and have been trying but haven’t conceived in 12 months, or if you're 35 or older, talk with your doctor. Also take these steps—starting today—for super-swimmer sperm:

  • Eat little to no bad fats and more good fats. Eating lots of saturated fat (found in red meats, processed meats, full-fat dairy products, and many snack foods and desserts) can reduce sperm counts by 38% and slow the swimming ability of the remaining 62%. Getting more omega-3 fatty acids (from fish such as salmon and wild trout), however, means higher sperm counts. 
  • Hang out at the farm stand. Filling up on fruit and vegetables protects sperm quality and quantity by revving up your body's defenses that keep 'em healthy.
  • Get that laptop off your lap and your phone out of your pocket. Surfing the Web or checking e-mail with a Wi-Fi-connected laptop in your lap is bad news for male fertility since it thwarts sperms’ swimming skills and the precious DNA (yours!) cargo they carry. Phones may hamper male fertility, too.
  • Keep cool where it counts. Sperm production needs temperatures cooler than the rest of your body, which is why hot tubs, a fever, and even a desk job can decrease your sperm count. Take stand-up breaks at work, let 'em breathe, and make the switch from briefs to boxers. Tight underwear can reduce sperm count by up to 50%. Cyclists, mix up your exercise routine, too.
  • Skip the drinks and smokes. Smoking tobacco is harmful to male fertility. It can cut your sperm count by 13% to 17% and increases the risk of genetic abnormalities, so it's best to quit smoking. There's evidence that marijuana is also bad news. More than one beer, glass of wine, or cocktail a day also messes with sperm quality. After two drinks, sperm get mixed up and travel in weird directions.
  • Stay trim for your swimmers. Being overweight subtracts from your sperm count and ups the number of abnormal sperm in your arsenal. Why? Obesity may alter hormone levels and heat up your testicles. Losing weight can also cure erectile dysfunction if you're unable to achieve an erection.
  • Don't hold back in the bedroom. Daily fun between the sheets improves sperm quality dramatically. Compared to several days of abstinence, daily intimacy reduces DNA damage in sperm by about 30%.

Discover why you're never too old for great sex.

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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