A man holds out a vegetable from his hand and smiles.
Trying to conceive? Here’s what you need to tell the man in your life about his sperm quality. (For Spectrum Health Beat)


You see them everywhere.

If you are trying to get pregnant, it seems everyone around you is pregnant. This time of trying is easy for some, but can be very difficult for others.

According to a study done by Mayo Clinic, 10 percent to 15 percent of couples are infertile. This means they’ve had unprotected sex for six months to a year and have not conceived.

Researchers say that the average man’s sperm count is lower now than 50 years ago and up to 20 percent of infertility issues are related to low sperm count.

If you’ve been trying for a while, you should see your doctor. There are specific tests that can be done for both the male and female.

We know there are things you can do to help conceive. For this blog post, let’s focus on the man.

These lifestyle changes can help:

  • Improving your diet. This starts with the basic things we probably all know. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some current literature has more specifics about what to eat and not eat. This would include eating healthy fats, supplementing with vitamin C, eat folate (folic acid), and include zinc, which has been linked to fertility. Foods with folate include dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, broccoli, lentils and asparagus. Foods with zinc include oysters, wheat germ, spinach, beans, mushrooms and nuts. Keep in mind that vitamin C and zinc help to stop the sperm from clumping.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. We know that obesity can affect male reproduction. Exercise can also be important to your health. Excessive exercise can cause issues for both male and female reproduction.
  • Avoid chemicals. This includes pollution, heavy metal exposure, smoking and drugs.
  • Check your medications. Certain medications, such as some used to treat ulcers, can have an effect on the sperm count.
  • Other suggestions include avoiding hot tubs, wearing boxers to avoid constricting underwear, and avoiding sitting for long periods of time.
  • Consider herbal supplements. You want to contact an herbalist to find out what is best for you. New sperm formation takes almost three months, so these changes will take a little bit of time. Always remember to check with your doctor first.

Checking with your doctor before you are trying to conceive is valuable as your doctor knows your history. They can then help you to make changes that might be helpful and run tests if necessary.