Top 10 Sperm Killers: How to Increase Male Fertility

Top 10 Sperm Killers: How to Increase Male Fertility

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When it comes to fertility, oftentimes the focus is on a woman’s fertility health, and the health of the man sort of gets left on the back burner. However, most people do not understand just how important male fertility health is. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

In fact, male fertility health is so important that some experts and doctors say that up to 30 % of all fertility problems are caused by a male related fertility issue.

Another 30 percent or so are caused by a combination of male and female fertility issues together, so focusing on male fertility really needs to be a thing that couples do when they are trying to conceive. Men have just as much responsibility towards taking control of their fertility health and making sure they are in the best possible shape to have a child as women do, and it’s important that we put more focus on male fertility health.

Today, we are going to go over the Top 10 Biggest Sperm killers, and hopefully give some insight into how men can take control of their fertility health as well.

Top 10 Sperm Killers Infographic


Sperm Killer #1: Weight Issues

Just as we know that being overweight can affect a woman’s fertility, men with weight problems can experience diminished fertility as well. In couples where the man is overweight, it can take longer to conceive a child, regardless of whether or not the woman in the relationship is overweight.

being overweight can cause infertility in men

Also, interestingly, one study done in 2006 states that for every ten pounds that a man is overweight, his chances of infertility increase by 10 %.

Men who are overweight often have lower levels of testosterone and also are likely to have a higher chance of sexual problems. This, in turn, can lead to lower sperm counts and lower sperm concentration for men who struggle with weight problems.

On the other side of the spectrum, there have also been recent studies that show that men who are either underweight or who participate in excessive exercise can also have fertility problems as well. Excessive exercise, including weight training, can lead to lower levels of testosterone in the body, or overheating of the testicles, which can lower a man’s fertility.

This is why it is important for men to talk with their doctors when they are trying to conceive, in order to fully understand if their weight might play a role in any fertility issues that they might experience.


Sperm Killer #2: Smoking

We all know that smoking is detrimental to our overall health, but many people do not realize that smoking can actually have a very negative effect on sperm health and male fertility as well.

Studies show that smoking can reduce sperm count as well as sperm motility and sperm morphology. That is a lot of damage for a little cigarette to do!

Studies have also shown that the more a man smokes, the more damage to his sperm, which is understandable.

smoking can cause infertility in men

Some experts also believe that when a man smokes, it can also decrease the effectiveness of IVF treatments and can even cause higher miscarriage rates in women when a woman does happen to get pregnant.

Cutting down on cigarettes is a great choice for men who are trying to conceive. Of course, stopping smoking all together is going to be the best choice for overall health as well as fertility related health, so if men can cut the habit once and for all, that is going to be the best decision.


Sperm Killer #3: Overheating Testicles

While it may sound a little bit crazy, men who participate in activities that can overheat their testicles can have reduced sperm counts, which can lead to lowered fertility.

Things that can contribute to overheating the testicles include spending lots of times in hot baths, steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs.

Overheating Testicles can cause infertility in men

Men who wear tight clothing, such as brief style underwear and biking shorts can also experience overheated testicles and lowered sperm counts. Men who are actively trying to conceive should stick to showers only, and make sure to wear boxers or boxer brief style underwear in order to help to prevent the testicles getting too hot.

BUT… theory is if you want to know how to get pregnant with a girl, girl sperm prefer tighty whities. So keep that in mind!

Sperm Killer #4: Chemical Exposure

In today’s world, it is impossible to be completely removed from all chemical exposure. There are chemicals in the soaps we use to clean our bodies, the soaps we use to clean our clothing and our dishes, and chemicals in the clothes we wear.

There are chemicals in the plastic bottles and food containers we use to eat and drink, and chemicals present in the cars we drive and the cleaners we use on a daily basis. Health and grooming supplies such as hairspray and deodorant are also full of chemicals. Even the pots and pans that we use to cook with are coated with chemicals that are used to make them non-stick, and all of this can contribute to decreased sperm health.

With all of this chemical exposure in our every day life, it can be incredibly difficult to steer away from chemicals all together.

However, there are a few things that men can do to take control of their fertility health and minimize their exposure to these chemicals. When it comes to food related chemicals, men should stay away from fast food restaurants that use a lot of chemicals in their packaging products, and regular non stick pots and pans.

being exposed to chemical can cause infertility in men

Cooking in stainless steel or cast iron pans is the best bet for minimal chemical exposure. Cleaners can contain a lot of chemicals as well, so cleaning with natural products such as white vinegar, peroxide and baking soda is a good way to keep away from these chemicals.

Staying away from canned foods and plastic bottles and food containers is another great way to stay away from food related chemicals, and men should opt for fresh foods whenever possible.

Choosing “green” laundry products or all natural and plant, organic based health and grooming products are another great way to minimize chemical exposure.

Men should also take consideration to eat organic whenever possible and use filtered water as opposed to regular tap water to avoid exposure to these chemicals as well.


Sperm Killer #5: Lubricants

It might sound a little bit crazy, but lubricants designed to improve sexual experiences are sometimes responsible for killing off sperm.

Many over the counter lubricants can actually damage sperm because of the chemicals that they contain.

Lubricants can also effect the motility of sperm, making it harder for the sperm to actually reach the egg in the first place. Couples who are trying to conceive should try going without any lubricants at all, and using only foreplay instead.

sperm friendly lubricants

However, if couples are in need of a lubricant during sexual activity, there are some “sperm friendly” lubricants on the market today that have been designed with sperm health in mind and couples can try these if they need a lubricant choice that is good for sperm health.

PreSeed is the most common brand of “sperm friendly” lubricant that is on the market today, and with its applicator wand, actually helps aid sperm on their journey and can really help boost fertility.

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Sperm Killer #6: Alcohol Use

Much like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol can have a very negative effect on sperm parameters as well. Things like sperm count, sperm motility, sperm morphology and sperm concentration can all be affected by the consumption of alcohol, even in moderation.

Excessive alcohol use has been shown over and over again in many studies to dramatically reduce testosterone levels and testosterone production and in some very severe cases can even shrink the testicles directly.

As you might imagine, the more alcohol a man consumes, the more severe the sperm problems can be. With as little as five drinks per week, men’s sperm counts were lowered in various studies.

semen analysis

The good news when it comes to this is that if a man decides to stop drinking, the damage to his fertility can be reversed in as little as three months. This is definitely something to keep in mind for men who are drinkers and who also want to conceive.


Sperm Killer #7: Drug Use

As you might imagine, if smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can have a negative impact on sperm health and male fertility, using illegal drugs can do the same thing. Even casual use of marijuana, which is becoming more and more socially acceptable these days, can have a very negative effect on a man’s sperm health.

Lower levels of testosterone are reported in men who use illegal drugs, and there has even been some evidence that using illegal drugs while trying to conceive can lead to increased risks of miscarriage or even birth defects should a woman happen to get pregnant.

taking drugs can cause infertility in men


Sperm Killer #8: Radiation Exposure

Radiation is harmful to fertility on so many levels. Radiation exposure in men can lead to reduced sperm production, reduced sperm quality and reduced sperm counts as well.

The good news is that in men who are only occasionally exposed to radiation, such as an occasional x-ray every now and then, the damage is usually mild, and sperm counts do usually return to normal over the course of time.

However, for men who are exposed to lots of radiation over a period of time, such as with cancer treatments, male fertility can be permanently and irreversibly damaged.

Men who have been exposed to radiation treatments at any time in their lives should talk with their doctors to see what sort of effect could be had on their sperm health.

Sperm Killer #9: Diet

One of the biggest factors that affect sperm health and male fertility is also one of the most simple factors. That would be dietary choices.

Simply put, if a man is not getting enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients in his daily diet, it can be very difficult for his sperm to be healthy.

Sperm counts and overall sperm health can be diminished in men who do not eat a healthy diet. It’s really important for men to pay attention to their dietary choices when trying to conceive a baby.

First of all, the simplest thing that a man can do is to cut out bad things out of his diet.

This includes fast foods, “empty calorie” foods and sugar laden snacks such as cookies, donuts, cakes and crackers, and soda and other energy drinks. These things are no good for a diet in the first place, and can have an even worse effect on male fertility.

Men should work on putting positive things in their diets when they are trying to conceive. This includes eating lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, whole grains, and dairy products whenever possible.

unhealthy diet can cause infertility in men

Men should also opt for taking a daily multivitamin supplement to help with their fertility and overall health whenever possible.

This includes making sure to get enough zinc. Zinc is an important nutrient for men because it helps to keep sperm from clumping together, which can hurt sperm motility. Vitamin C and other antioxidants can also help to improve sperm motility and increase sperm production. Folic acid is also an important nutrient for men as well as women, since it helps in the production of healthy sperm. Men should make sure to get enough of this B vitamin in their diet for sure. All of these things can help to improve a man’s overall fertility through diet alone.


Sperm Killer #10: Health Issues

There are many different health issues that can affect a man’s fertility, from the production of sperm to the concentration or overall health of the sperm. Swollen or varicose veins in the scrotum, or inflammation or other testicle problems can cause issues with the actual production of sperm in men.

Certain sexually transmitted diseases can also cause problems with sperm production or sperm counts as well. Some men also have ejaculation problems, such as retrograde ejaculation, where the semen actually drains into the bladder instead of the urethra during ejaculation, which can really hurt sperm counts.

retrograde ejaculation

Men who feel like they might be suffering from a health problem that could affect their fertility should definitely see their doctor to explore their options and find out an appropriate treatment option for their particular case.

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Dr. Christine Lee, MD
Dr. Christine Lee, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Christine Lee earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Master of Science in Biomolecular Organization. Dr. Lee is Lab Director for ConceiveEasy and is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD).