Fertility has traditionally been viewed as a womans issue but now men are leading women as the primary cause of a couples infertility. Improving sperm quality could be as simple as making some basic lifestyle changes.

Young adult males who fought during the World War Two era were approximately three times more potent on average than the same aged males of today. The outlook for male fertility issues in the next 50 years is not encouraging. Not only are sperm counts generally declining, but the motility and formation of the sperm that are being produced is also reducing.

The fact is 30 percent of men with perfectly adequate sperm have trouble fertilising a healthy females ovum to achieve conception. Male reproductive disorders are estimated to cause between 50 and 70 percent of genetic miscarriages in western countries, which account for around 50 percent of all miscarriages.

It takes two to tango

A large majority of the time the males can be overlooked as part of the fertility process until quite late in the investigative stages. The earlier males can be encouraged to get involved and be investigated the better, as it can save a lot of time and effort further down the track.

Overall sperm fitness is now proving to be a vital key to the success of male fertility. Having adequate sperm numbers and motility (athletic potential) are vital criteria to the success of conception, as is the quality of the genetic load the sperm is carrying.

Managing stress and lifestyle factors

Poor nutrition, drug and chemical exposures, heavy metal toxicity, overheating of the testes, stress, obesity as well as emotional and hormonal problems are all factors that can impede male fertility.

Excessive stress levels during the time of conception can affect the males pituitary gland function thereby inhibiting the action of sperm being mixed with the seminal fluids leading to little or no sperm in the semen.

Basic lifestyle changes can significantly improve sperm quality. To counteract stress, healthy lifestyle habits are essential including regular exercise, good diet, adequate sleep, and time out for relaxation. Males should also consider wearing loose-fitting clothes and loose boxer under-shorts. Particular nutrients and herbs of importance for male reproductive health can also be prescribed by a naturopath.

If couples are still concerned, semen analysis can reveal whether there could be male infertility issues. A semen analysis is a very useful procedure to help determine if there is anything going wrong from the males side of things and can assist in narrowing down the field of possible causes that may be hindering conception.