Written by Charmaine Dennis, Naturopath.
The most recent systematic review and meta-regression analysis of recent trends in sperm counts are not looking good fellas! There is a trend of SIGNIFICANT DECLINE. Certainly, the SBS On Demand TV series everyone is watching The Handmaid’s Tale, may truly be cause for concern. It shows female fertility as the problem for our future, but worth considering it may be more likely that there are no fertile men left. What would that do to the plot?? It’s fascinating and frightening to consider.
It is an inconvenient truth that lifestyle choices are playing a major role in the decline of healthy sperm and there is much other published research that shows the effect is not just on chances of conception, but also the health outcomes for the resulting babies throughout their life. Contrary to what seems to still be an ingrained belief in our society, fertility is not just the woman’s problem. If you are not getting pregnant or have experienced a miscarriage or other problems in pregnancy, it could be that male fertility is a significant factor – even if there are female fertility problems, we need to test the man too.
Good attention to all factors in preconception health care makes a major difference to outcomes in semen analysis results, DNA integrity, chances of conceiving a healthy pregnancy (even if you are doing ICSI and IVF it is still very important) and healthy baby/child/teen/adult.
Smoking, alcohol, weight, age, timing of sex and other factors such as chemicals, heavy metals, radiation and hormone disrupting exposure need to be considered, while exercise, drugs or medication and other health issues and family history all need to be attended to and addressed. The addition of specific nutrient and herbal treatments significantly help too.
Our naturopaths love this work and are constantly so inspired by the changes men are willing to make for the sake of their fertility and family when they understand the impact of their choices. It’s a complex puzzle and one worth investigating thoroughly for the best outcomes, as significant improvement can be made within months (sperm develop from scratch in under 3 months so what you change or start today makes a difference quickly and builds over time). Acupuncture has been shown in research to have great benefit on sperm health outcomes too, so we prefer to combine the approaches for the best and fastest improvements. And of course, we work in collaboration with your GP, fertility or andrology specialist and for the best results, we are happy to refer you to some good ones who appreciate working with us.
When considered as a biomarker for the rest of your cellular health, it’s a no brainer that attention to sperm health is required to prevent all sorts of potential and impending health issues. Start today – your future self and family will thank you for it!
Some other great resources for more information about sperm health:
Learn more about what you can do about your sperm health: Naturopathic Care for Male Factor Fertility Issues by Rhiannon Hardingham
Watch this great video on SBS and study link. http://www.sbs.com.au/…/western-mens-sperm-count-falling-sh…
Read the systematic review and meta-regression analysis report here: https://academic.oup.com/…/Temporal-trends-in-sperm-count-a…