Lifestyle Habits That Can Impact a Man’s Fertility

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 11:25 pm

Are you curious about maximizing your fertility before starting treatment? This desire makes a lot of sense because by optimizing your fertility, you can also improve your overall health. Plus, making these changes could potentially help some couples from undergoing the emotional, physical and financial aspects of more extensive fertility treatment. Though both women and men can benefit from changing some of their personal habits while they pursue conception, lifestyle modification can be particularly helpful in improving a man’s sperm count.

Men’s sperm production

In contrast to women and their eggs, men are continuously producing sperm. Women are born with all the eggs they ever will have.

In fact, in less than the time it takes to read this sentence, a man will produce over 1,500 sperm. Because sperm die within 72 hours within the body, they must be replenished continuously.

It takes approximately two to three months for sperm germ cells to fully mature into healthy sperm ready to fertilize an egg. This regeneration process is good news for men trying to give up bad habits affecting their sperm count and quality.

Here are some suggestions for what males can do to ensure sperm are in the best condition for fertilization.

Cut down on alcohol consumption

No man wants to experience impotence or lack of sexual drive. But drinking alcohol in large quantities can make a man feel less than sexy and perform poorly as well as decrease his testosterone levels. Plus, we hope men are supportive partners who will abstain or reduce their alcohol intake while their partners refrain during preconception and pregnancy.

It also is important to note that excessive and binge drinking, which is dangerous for your health in many ways, potentially can having lasting genetic effects on future children through changes in gene expression. More research needs to be done to learn precisely why there might be a correlation between male drinking patterns and adverse outcomes in pregnancy and child development.

Of course, drinking in moderation is fine, and once a couple achieves a pregnancy, the dad-to-be can surely celebrate with a limited amount of beer or alcohol.

The message about marijuana use

Marijuana now is legal in California and some other states, but the jury is out on whether it does or it doesn’t affect sperm quality and a man’s ability to conceive.

For example, a study of over 1200 young Danish men, published in 2015 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that regular cannabis smoking of more than once per week reduced sperm concentration by 52% and total sperm count by 55%, though it was unclear if the young men studied also used other recreational drugs. These types of sperm changes generally are not seen until men reach middle age, which concerned the investigators.

However, research conducted by Boston University found there was no link between pot use and the likelihood of conceiving, though the male partner’s sperm was not analyzed. It is reassuring news if a man needs to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Because the research is inclusive and, sometimes, contradictory, doctors advise men to stop using cannabis in any form while they are trying to get their partner pregnant and to let their body manufacture new sperm.

Saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs

A three-year study published in 2007 from the University of California San Francisco Department of Urology confirmed what many male reproductive specialists already suspected: men repeatedly exposed to the high temperatures of hot tubs and saunas were put at risk for lower sperm production, motility, and male infertility. Saunas and steam rooms may be less damaging because men do not submerge their scrotums in water.

The research also demonstrated, however, that the negative effects could be reversed in at least 50% of the men, once they refrained from these habits.

Men have an easier time than women in being able to regenerate their genetic material throughout most of their lives. If lifestyle habits are the reason for a subpar sperm count, they should be able to ‘fix’ their problem with abstinence from the offending routine within two to three months.

So, men (and women), as you can see through awareness, discipline and modification of some lifestyle habits, the potential for maximizing fertility success and for improving your overall health can be achieved.


HRC Fertility, 333 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, (626) 440-9161 or visit







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