A man’s age also affects the likelihood of conceiving. There is a five-fold increase in the time it takes to conceive if the man is over 45 years of age.11
In 40 per cent of infertile couples, the cause of infertility is attributable to the man or more specifically, the quality of their sperm.7 Any serious illness may affect sperm production for up to three months,2 and poor sperm quality can reduce the chance of conceiving.3
Sperm can be vulnerable to damage by oxidative stress – when there is excess production of free radicals, known as reactive oxygen species or ROS. ROS can be produced by sperm itself and by exposure to poor lifestyle factors.3
Factors affecting the health of your sperm and how you can look after your sperm
A number of lifestyle factors can affect your sperm quality and fertility, including obesity, smoking, alcohol, testicles being exposed to heat, work exposure to environmental toxins, as well as having certain medical conditions, and taking particular medications.
You can reduce your exposure to damaging ROS and improve the health of sperm by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight;
- Reducing testicular exposure to prolonged high heat;
- Stopping smoking;
- Reducing alcohol intake;
- Reviewing medications;
- Limiting exposure to environmental toxins;
- Undergoing a review of health conditions by a doctor;
- Following a balanced diet;
- Ejaculating frequently; and
- Improving vitamin D intake through daily supplementation containing antioxidants.3
2. IVF Australia. Male Fertility. Available at: http://ivf.com.au/about-fertility/male-reproductive-system [last accessed September 2015].
3. Conceiveplease™ Getting pregnant naturally.
7. IVF Australia. About infertility. Available at: http://ivf.com.au/about-fertility/infertility-treatment [last accessed September 2015].
11. Your fertility. For men. Available at: http://yourfertility.org.au/for-men/age [last accessed September 2015].