Healthy sperm don’t just happen; people work at it, literally. If anything, lifestyle factors, such as dietary habits, can affect your sperm and, in effect, your ability to become a father! Fertility experts maintain that it’s not every man that could make a woman pregnant. Gynaecologist and Medical Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, says male infertility can be defined as one or more abnormalities in a semen analysis; adding that thick semen and healthy sperm are crucial when it comes to achieving pregnancy.
Before now, whenever couples found it hard to achieve pregnancy, all eyes turned to the wife simply because a man’s fertility finds expression in his wife. Indeed, most men would rather “try” their luck with another woman, instead of undergoing medical examinations to determine if there’s anything wrong with their bodies such that they’re unable to fertilise their wives’ eggs.
Dr. Sunny Abarikwu of the Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, notes that in recent times, there has been a decline in the semen quality of young healthy men worldwide, with similar findings being reported in Nigeria.
Abarikwu says, “Although little is known about what is responsible for the decline in male sperm count worldwide, significant associations have been reported between impaired semen quality, including sperm count, motility as well as morphology and exposures to heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, pesticides, industrial chemicals and endocrine factors.”
He adds, “In Nigeria, the problem is further compounded by a variety of factors such as sexually transmitted infections, genito-urinary tract infections/inflammations and deficiencies of dietary antioxidant nutrients, thereby increasing male-factor contribution to infertility in the population.” He notes that in Nigeria, the male factor is responsible for primary causes of couple infertility by about 35 per cent.
Physicians advise couples who are trying to conceive to seek expert help as soon as possible. Fertility experts say if both of you are over the age of 35, you should seek expert help six months after you have been having unprotected sex; while you may wait for one year if both of you are under the age of 35.
Diet for sperm health
The adage, “You are what you eat,” is apt in every aspect of life, including getting and sustaining semen health. Nutritionists are saying that food plays important role in keeping your semen healthy.
Nutritionist, Dr. Simeon Oladimeji, says since only a healthy sperm can make a woman pregnant, the quantity, quality and ability of your sperm to move swiftly (motility) will determine whether or not you will be a father. This being the case, he advises men to be watchful of their diet at all times, especially where they have challenges in the area of making their spouse pregnant.
“In addition to other factors, nutritional deficiencies can give you low sperm count, resulting in thin and watery semen. However, a man can have thick and healthy sperm through a healthy dietary habit,” the nutritionist says.