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Tips to improve sperm count

improve-sperm-count-semen-analysis-costMale factor is the cause in approximately 40% of infertile couples. In many cases, the cause is unknown and there is no specific treatment to improve sperm count. The good news is that these couples can often conceive with the use of assisted reproductive technologies (e.g. intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI, testicular sperm aspiration or TESA). In a small percentage of patients, there are hormonal imbalances that can be treated. A question I am often asked is, “Is there anything I can do to improve my sperm count?” Here are some tips that may improve your sperm count.

  1. See an urologist specializing in male infertility. A physical examination will sometimes pick up a testicular tumor in patients with severe male factor. Infertility is a risk factor for testicular cancer. The risk of testicular cancer is 2.8-3.6 times higher in men who presented with infertility. (The disease is 99% curable with an early diagnosis). Testicular cancer when identified early requires less toxic therapy than other cancers.
  2. A varicocele is one of the most treatable and reversible causes of male infertility. The incidence of varicocele is 35%-40% in infertile men. Varicoceles that need to be treated are palpable and men have an abnormal sperm parameter. Research has shown that after treatment of a variococele surgically or by embolizaton, 70% of patients will see improvement in their semen quality and 30-40% can impregnate their partners.
  3. Lose weight. Male obesity in reproductive age men has nearly tripled in the past 30 years and coincides with an increase in male infertility worldwide. Obesity has been shown to decrease testosterone levels through increased aromatase activity and elevated estradiol levels. At InVia Fertility Specialists, we offer the Ideal Protein Diet to help with weight loss.
  4. Get checked for diabetes. Chronic diseases such as diabetes can effect fertility related functioning in males and result in erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction due to neurologic and vascular issues. Diabetes associated erectile dysfunction is a reversible and treated problem in 70%-90% of men using oral and injectable medications.
  5. Certain medications can effect sperm production. These include calcium channel blockers, spironolactone, hypertension medications along with medications for Crohns disease, methotrexate and chemotherapies all play a role in effecting sperm production.
  6. Quit smoking. Heavy tobacco use could lead to hormone imbalances and sperm production issues.
  7. Moderate your alcohol consumption. Heavy alcohol use can also affect sperm production.
  8. Quit using anabolic steroids and testosterone supplements. Anabolic steroids are often used by body builders to gain muscle mass. The steroids can result in a significant decrease in sperm counts. The use of testosterone supplements (e.g. Androgel, testosterone patches) can suppress sperm production. These are often used as treatment for “low T”. The physiological action of testosterone is to suppress (negative feedback) the pituitary glands ability to release FSH and LH (hormones needed for sperm production). At InVia Fertility Specialists, we will sometimes treat “low T” patients with clomiphene citrate. This medication can improve both the testosterone level as well as the sperm count.
  9. Stop using recreational drugs. Cocaine has been linked to low sperm count, motility and morphology (shape of sperm) defects. Opioid abuse has been associated with decreased gonadotropins and testosterone levels. Heavy marijuana use has been linked to low testosterone levels, pyospermia (pus cells in the semen) and decreased sperm concentration.
  10. Avoid hot tubs, saunas, tight clothing and electronic devices resting on their lap. Data from recent studies have shown that increased radiofrequency electromagnetic waves from cell phones might lead to stress on human semen and effects on DNA integrity. Increased scrotal temperatures can cause sperm abnormalities.

None of this is rocket science. At the same time these are modifiable lifestyle issues that are known to affect male reproductive health. Improve your lifestyle and this may result in an improved sperm count!

To see a qualified fertility specialist with a semen analysis cost of just $75, make an appointment at one of InVia's four Chicagoland locations.

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Patty Paganucci

Patty Paganucci

Patty has worked for InVia fertility Specialists since its inception in 2002. She has 16 years experience in her field. She has an Associate's Degree in Nursing. She is our phlebotomist at our Hoffman Estates office. She also is our surgical coordiator


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