Like most of you, I’ve been spending more time indoors, which forces me to be alone with my thoughts (Yikes!) which leads me to think, ponder and overshare some things. Like, sperm! Gross, I know. But get your mind out of the gutter for a quick sec. I was thinking about my journey over the past 11 years and I’ve come to realize that as men we also need to play a role in setting ourselves up for success as Intended Fathers whether in solo, same-sex or heterosexual relationships.
Some small changes I made, may have helped me with my sperm quality. These tips could help men from all walks of life help improve their counts if they are trying to have a child. So, sit back, relax, and let’s air out some of my sperm secrets.
Here are 6 sperm secrets I’ve learned over the years:
Discontinue Use of Hair-Loss Products (ie. Finasteride)
I know we all have our vanity, and for me, that was my hair. By the time I turned 25, I started crying when I noticed strands of hair in the shower stall. What in the world am I to do? I’m too young to go bald, who will love me now?” So I turned to a friendly pharmacist who recommended Finasteride. “Great”, I thought, all my worries are gone; just like my receding hairline. However, through some more detailed research (no, not just YouTube), I found out that drugs like these could be hampering my boys below. So I eventually stopped the meds, embraced my future (less hair) and learned to love me for me.
Getting alternative hair loss treatment not involving Finasteride
I regularly encourage surrogate angels to pursue fertility acupuncture, but what about for us men? Who would have thought, huh? I heard that acupuncture helped some women trying to get pregnant, but for men, too? I will share that I went once a week for over four months, and the final weeks leading up to the actual time I “used” my sperm for samples, I went twice a week. Was it directly connected to the needles? Who’s to know? But it didn’t hurt to try it out and I got a great two year old now.
Underwear: Letting My Boys Fly Free
Many people have heard this myth a lot: tight underwear leads to more restrictions, which means less airflow, which means the testes are hotter, which means less sperm count. But is it true? Well, yes, kinda. Studies have shown that tight underwear can lead to pushing the testes closer to the abdomen resulting in higher temperature inside the scrotum. So, I did that as well. Goodbye Andrew Christian, Pump and JJMalibu, hello, fabulous Fruit of the Loom. But I can still look them up for…research, right? 🙂
Less Biking, More Walking
I used to be an avid spinning instructor back in my early 20s. Which was why it was so hard for me to consider giving up the bike and turning in my Shimano shoes for New Balance runners. But according to some research, biking more than 5 hours per week can lower your counts. This was hard, believe me, I didn’t want to end up a couch potato. Rather than being a shut-in cat lady, I laced up my sneakers and started walking each day-up to 10,000 steps or 1.5 hours. That way I kept the weight off, felt great being outside, and I got to catch up on my favourite podcasts. Even now, I still love going for a socially distanced walk by the river.
Drugs, Drugs, Drugs
As time wizzed by, and my desire for a child grew, I was ready to try just about anything, including vitamins and supplements. I was swallowing vitamin C and D, popped a few zincs, and even nibbled on something called ashwagandha (Don’t worry, I talked to my doctor before I did and you should too!) Maybe some combo of these supplements got my boys stronger and healthier, swimming to victory. I’m not sure which, or if it was all a placebo effect, but I got what I set out after in the end.
More Juice, Less Booze
I will admit that I did enjoy drinking alcohol years ago, and I pretend to think I know a thing or two about wine. But now, hand me a Corona or Amaretto Sour and Bellini, (see what I did there?) I’m on the floor in 10 minutes. Maybe it’s my old…er age. But booze of any kind is not our sperm’s BFF. I made a commitment to toss away the coolers, the rum n’ cokes, vodka sodas and welcome pomegranate juice like POM into my fridge. But be careful, these concentrate juices from the stores are loaded with sugars, so mix with water and add a fresh lemon or lime. Then it’s party time and I won’t end up passed out on the couch.
Looking back on all my endeavours, trying a bunch of different things to increase my sperm quality, I can’t know if any or all of them got me my child in the end. Maybe one of them did the trick, maybe all of them combined. I’ll never really know for sure. But I can say for certain, that these trials made me more mature, more dedicated to going after what I wanted in life. And that sperm does play a role, it’s not necessarily only about the eggs. If I could change my habits, I know you can too.
Disclaimer: These are solely my advice tips – I didn’t even complete high school biology but have learned a lot about sperm since then. 🙂