Preconception checklist for men

Male infertility could be due to three major problems- problem with erection and ejaculation, problem with the reproductive duct, and problem with sperm production (poor quality and quantity). A “father-to-be” is expected to make sure of some simple lifestyle modifications that not only keeps you away from fertility problems but also makes you stay healthy and fit. The following are few suggestions that could increase the chances of you becoming a father sooner.

  • Do you smoke? Studies have proven that smoking or other forms tobacco consumption has adverse effects on the quality and the sperm count. It is better to quit smoking or at least temporarily restrain. It is important to know that your habit of smoking could lead to a miscarriage of your partner.
  • Do you drink alcohol? Excess alcohol consumption could lead to zinc deficiency resulting in a decrease in sperm count and motility of the sperm. Limit yourself to not more than 175ml of alcohol per day.
  • Are you eating healthy food? Men having zinc deficiency could land in low sperm count. Eat foods rich in Vitamin E and zinc such as meat, fish, whole grains, Brazil nuts, etc.
  • Do you maintain an ideal weight? Studies have shown that being overweight by 20 pounds could decrease the chances of becoming a father by 10%. So, it is advisable to start exercising and get rid of the extra pounds.
  • Do you wear right undergarments? If the sperm should be viable, testicles need to be cool. Tight fitting pants could heat up the testicles and deplete the health of the sperm. So, avoid wearing tight jeans.
  • Do you take hot tub shower? Long showers(more than 30 minutes) in hot tubs, electric blankets, and heating pads should be avoided. All of these could affect the health of the sperms by making the testicles warm.
  • Do you put a laptop on the “lap”? Most men are into the habit of placing the laptop on the laps. It causes the scrotum to heat up, and a drastic fall in the sperm count happens. So, beware of laptop positioning during work.
  • Are you at risk for work hazards? Beware of harmful chemicals and toxins such as pesticides, fertilizers, lead, mercury, radiation, etc. All of these could drastically affect the quantity and quality of sperms produced leading to infertility.
  • Did you clear old medicines? Some of the medications for gastrointestinal, urinary tract diseases, or asthma such as steroids, cimetidine, etc. are known to diminish the sperm production. You may need to stop using them, but consult your doctor before doing so.
  • Did you fix an appointment for doctor check-up? A preconception appointment with the doctor is a necessity. It gives the overall view of your medical history and if any of these factors could affect the fertility.
  • Are you in stress?

    Stress could impair the normal balance of hormones in the body resulting in fertility problems. Do not get yourself into stress. Be happy and enjoy every moment in life. Support and stay with your partner through the journey of becoming parents.

    Diagnostic procedure for evaluating male infertility includes checking previous medical history, physical examination, and few laboratory tests. Your doctor will question you about previous surgery, medicines used, any previous family history of infertility, and occupational hazards. A detailed examination of the penis, scrotum, testes, and prostate will be done. Based on these, lab tests may be conducted. Urine test may be conducted to rule out presence of urinary infections. Semen analysis is done to check the volume of semen, sperm structure, sperm motility, sperm maturity, actual sperm count, and the liquidity of the semen. Testosterone and follicle stimulating hormonal levels are evaluated to check the state of sperm production. Serum luteinizing and prolactin hormone levels will also be checked if you physician feels the need for them. In addition, ultrasound may be done to detect varicocele or reproductive tract obstruction. Another test called testicular biopsy will be taken to check whether sperm production is impaired or is there any blockage.

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