There is such a lot you can do in the weeks and months leading to IVF but much of the advice is geared towards the woman’s role, overlooking the fact that IVF male preparation can be just as important.
Although there is no doubt that the woman takes on the bulk of the workload when getting ready for the procedure, the simple fact is that if the sperm is below quality for any reason at all, then this obviously affects the potential success of the whole process.
IVF Male Preparation-Where To Start
The ideal situation is to be planning and preparing several months in advance of the actual procedure itself. The main reason for this, as far as men are concerned, is the fact that sperm production actually goes through a cycle which lasts around 3 months. This means that something you do today, could affect the quality of your sperm 3 months from now.
Assuming you have the luxury of a window of 3 months, the ideal IVF male preparation involves several aspects, all of which work towards ensuring that your sperm is at the optimum quality.
You may already be aware of the fact that cycling is thought to affect male fertility and this is correct to a certain extent. Supervised studies have been done which indicate that the compression which happens when cycling, coupled with the higher temperature can both destroy sperm and cause reduced mobility. The effect is more pronounced when cycling for long periods of time over rough terrain. Additionally, riding a bike which has the front of the saddle pointed up slightly can cause harm by increasing pressure on the genitals.
So, all in all, if you enjoy cycling and still wish to go ahead, restrict the length of time you spend on the bike and go for a comfortable, wider seat, ensuring it is not pointed upwards.
Bathing and Using A Hot Tub
There is a good reason why the testicles hang outside of the body and this is to keep them cooler than body temperature. The testes require a cool environment to produce healthy sperm and studies have shown that the temperature and season can affect sperm count and quality. For this reason, it is best to avoid the hot tub or hot baths or at the very least, limiting your time in there and ensuring that the temperature isn’t too high.
Smoking and Drug Use
It goes without saying really that certain bad habits can adversely affect sperm count and quality. As far as IVF male preparation is concerned, you will not only help improve your sperm count, but your overall health too if you cut out practices which are known to be harmful. It therefore makes complete sense to at least cut down on smoking (stopping if possible) and of course you should not take any drugs. If you are taking prescription drugs, then check with your doctor if these could be harmful to your sperm and see if there is an alternative available.
During the lengthy period before IVF when sperm is being produced, you should ensure that you are eating a healthy diet, the basis of which should be organically grown or produced natural foods. Lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, peas and beans are all healthy as is a good intake of water. As well as these general guidelines, there are specific foods which can help with IVF male preparation and these include:
- Vitamin A Rich Foods – Such as red peppers, oatmeal, apricots and oatmeal
- Zinc Rich Foods – Pumpkin seeds, turkey, eggs and oysters are all good sources
- Vitamin C Rich Foods – Include oranges, asparagus, strawberries and tomatoes
- Folic Acid - Important for men as well as women. Sources include wholegrains, beans and dark green leafy vegetables
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Anchovies, walnuts, sardines and salmon are all rich sources
As well as choosing the right diet, most fertility doctors agree that it does not harm to take a nutritional supplement which includes the important nutrients which are important for the development of healthy sperm. It is certainly worth asking your IVF doctor for recommendations. Alternatively, there are many reputable, household brands available at most pharmacists.
As you will now understand, as a man, the optimum time to begin preparing for IVF is 3 months in advance of the first cycle. Of course, it might well be that you are reading this much nearer to the time when you will be trying to conceive your baby. However, do not be disheartened, there is still much you can do which will help and it is never too late to start making beneficial changes.
In terms of IVF male preparation, the old adage “better late than never” certainly applies and as well as helping yourself, there is a lot you can do to help your partner along too.
Read about Pre IVF Preparation For Women