Ways to boost male fertility

One in six couples has fertility problems, says the Men's Health Forum, with infertility affecting one in 20 men. However, the charity also claims that low sperm count - a common cause of infertility in men - is far more prevalent, with 20 percent of men believed to be affected.

There are several things that can cause sperm problems, including when the testicles become damaged or when a man has an abnormally low level of the hormone testosterone (hypogonadism). Certain medicines may also cause problems with sperm production, including anabolic steroids – often used illegally to build muscle – medicines used in chemotherapy, some herbal medicines and illegal recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.

But there’s also evidence that lifestyle factors can have an effect on sperm health. So here are some of the things you can do to keep your sperm healthy:

Lose weight Weight problems can affect the quality of sperm, and experts believe men who are obese are less likely to father children than those of a healthy weight. Losing excess weight can also boost your overall health.

  • Find out if your weight is in the healthy range by using the BMI Healthy Weight tool on our Weight Loss page. Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you lots of advice on losing weight healthily as well as over-the-counter products that could help.

Drink in moderation According to the Drinkaware campaign, drinking heavily can reduce a couple’s chances of conceiving. That’s because it’s thought to reduce testosterone production as well as affect sperm quality and quantity. Not only that, but too much alcohol can reduce your sex drive and cause impotence.

  • Stick to the UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines for healthy alcohol intakes, which advise it’s safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. And if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week, it’s best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days.

Give up smoking Smoking affects sperm counts, but according to the Men’s Health Forum it isn’t know exactly what effect this has on male fertility. However giving up can improve your general health and life expectancy.

  • Ask your local Careway pharmacist about the help and support they can offer with giving up smoking, including advice on nicotine therapy replacement (NRT) products that could help you quit.

Learn to relax Stress can affect your mind and body in many different ways, and is well known to affect erectile function – and, says the Men’s Health Forum, may well affect fertility too. And if you or your partner is stressed, it could affect your relationship in several ways, including reducing the number of times you have sex.

  • If you’re under a lot of pressure, try to find ways to relax and make sure you take time out to relax every day. If stress is affecting you on a regular basis, ask your GP if they can help by referring you for stress or anxiety management.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.