Conception and pregnancy is something we assume will take its natural course. Despite that, it’s mind boggling how half of us are trying to ensure a successful pregnancy…
…while the other half are doing all we can to avoid it. If you fall under the former category, you’re probably trying your best (according to what you know) to make that magical union between the sperm and the egg happen.
Dear Men, pregnancy, babies, and sandwiches are not jobs that are women-centric. Focusing on the ‘babies’ bit, you (for a change) can take control and ensure your sperms are fit and healthy enough to do their job.
Here are 6 lifestyle mistakes that are causing harm to your boys (read: sperms):
1. Making Bacon And Eggs Your Regular
Well, not if Billy wanted to get his partner pregnant. A study showed that frequent consumption of processed meats (think: sausages, hot dogs, salami, bacon, ham) lowered fertilization rate (read: sperm fertility) in couples undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization a.k.a. test tube baby method) with conventional insemination.1
Men who ate the least amount of processed meats (fewer than 1.5 servings a week) had a 28% better chance of a successful pregnancy compared to men who ate the most processed meats (4.3 servings a week). While eggs without sausages and bacon may seem unimaginable and unnatural, 28 is a big number you don’t want to be toying with and sabotaging your family planning.
What you can do is go poultry chasing.
It was found that men who ate the most poultry had 13% higher fertilization rates than those who ate the least amount of poultry. Although further studies are necessary, let’s focus on the silver lining and assume that by incorporating poultry in your diet (Thanksgiving turkey is always a good idea), you can ensure your baby is on its way.
If you’re the ultra-modern don’t-ever-want-kids sort, that sentence must have made you drop your juicy, marinated chicken wing mid bite.
2. Steaming Your Stress Away
While de-stressing is a step in the right direction, saunas may not particularly be (politely put) ‘package friendly.’
A study showed that the heat from saunas reversibly impairs spermatogenesis (the process by which sperms are generated), lowering sperm count, altering sperm parameters, and impeding sperm mitochondia (powerhouses of the cell.2 The participants’ scrotal temperatures increased an average of 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of each sauna session. While further studies are required to prove the relation between sperm count and fertility and more men need to be assessed (only 10 men were assessed in this study), it is advisable not to heat your testicles too much, especially when nature intended otherwise.
With the popularisation of saunas, particularly in Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland), it becomes imperative to avoid testicular heating habits. Avoid turning up the heat too much near your intentionally dangling family jewels. The Mrs. will appreciate the effort.
3. Thinking You Have To Carry The World On Your Shoulders
Stress is a risk factor for inexplicable male infertility.34 Sperm shape and motility affect whether your boys have what it takes to fertilize your woman’s egg. Stress from life events adversely impact both and, hence, your chances of a successful pregnancy.5 Simply put, how stressed you feel about your current situation or how a life event disturbs your calm can determine your semen quality. Press hard on your pessimism brakes and believe Stevie Wonder when he says ‘What a wonderful world!’ Your progeny will thank you for it.
Comforting to workaholics, work-related stress does not have any effect on semen quality.
It does, however, lower testosterone levels.
4. Freeloading Your Neighbor’s Unsecured Wi-Fi
While free Wi-Fi is instantly heart-warming and an effective means to an expansive movie collection…
…pay heed to where you place your laptop as you indulge in this not-so-criminal activity (Everybody does it!). One study showed that a wireless internet-connected laptop decreased sperm motility and caused sperm DNA to break up by a nonthermal effect.6 The radio-frequency electromagnetic waves from wireless Internet connections plausibly damage the membranes enclosing the contents of a sperm cell. As absurd as that may sound, what it means is don’t use Wi-Fi (yours or not) with your laptop perched on your crotch—not if you can’t wait to bring Junior to the world.
As if the heat generated from a laptop was not enough to cause alarm!
5. Exposing Yourself To Pesticides
Working overtime in a farm that sprays pesticides, taking long vacations in the countryside (you may inhale pesticides or touch plants that are sprayed), or bypassing the organic aisle in the supermarket (organic farming doesn’t involve pesticides) can translate to harmful pesticide exposure.
Pyrethroids and organophosphates (two widely used classes of synthetic pesticides) have been shown to decrease sperm concentration and motility (read: sick, unhealthy sperms).789 This is bad news for wannabe Daddies.
Minimize your pesticide exposure and protect your sperm health by opting for organic produce, washing your fruits and veggies well before you eat them, and avoiding the use of pesticides in your own garden.
6. Smoking One Too Many Joints
Mary Jane (read: marijuana, weed, cannabis…you get the drift) not only transforms your mind into a hyperactive whirlwind, it apparently does the same to your little swimmers, too.10 Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, has been shown to work like an energy drink on sperms, giving them not only wings but throttle, too. Overcharged, highly energetic sperms move erratically and too fast, making them reach the egg sub-optimally a bit too early (timing is everything). Prematurely expended sperms means reduced male fertility.
You might want to cut back on the reefers, for the sake of your blood line.
There! You know where you’re going wrong. Learn from your mistakes.
|↑1||Wei Xia, et. al. Men’s meat intake and treatment outcomes among couples undergoing assisted reproduction. Fertility and Sterility. 2015.|
|↑2||Garolla A, Torino M, Sartini B, Cosci I, Patassini C, Carraro U, Foresta C. Seminal and molecular evidence that sauna exposure affects human spermatogenesis. Hum Reprod. 2013.|
|↑3||Giulia Collodel, et. al. Effect of Emotional Stress on Sperm Quality. Indian J Med Res. 2008.|
|↑4||Robert N. Clarke, Susan C. Klock,4, Anne Geoghegan, David E. Travassos. Relationship between psychological stress and semen quality among in-vitro fertilization patients. Oxford Journals. 1998.|
|↑5||Teresa Janevic, et. al. Effects of work and life stress on semen quality. Fertility and Sterility. 2014.|
|↑6||Conrado Avendaño. Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertility and Sterility. 2012.|
|↑7||Sheena E. Martenies, Melissa J. Perry. Environmental and occupational pesticide exposure and human sperm parameters: A systematic review. Toxicology. 2013.|
|↑8||Shanna H Swan, Robin L Kruse, Fan Liu, et. al. Semen quality in relation to biomarkers of pesticide exposure. Environ Health Perspect. 2003.|
|↑9||L.C Sánchez-Peñaa, B.E Reyes, et. al. Organophosphorous pesticide exposure alters sperm chromatin structure in Mexican agricultural workers. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2004.|
|↑10||Lynne B. Whan, Mhairi C.L. West, Neil McClure, Sheena E.M. Lewis. Effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, on human sperm function in vitro. Fertility and Sterility. 2006.|