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The Do’s and Don’ts When It Comes to Increasing Male Fertility

According to The Mayo Clinic, a normal sperm count for males is 15 million to 200 million per milliliter and a low sperm count is 15 million or less per milliliter or less than 39 million sperm total per ejaculate. Though some men with a low sperm count successfully father children, we also know that a low sperm count can make conception difficult and is often associated with male infertility. Fertility issues that involve the female reproductive system are often difficult to treat, but many of those linked to male infertility are receptive to changing health habits and lifestyle. Here are several dos and don’ts that NCCRM male infertility specialists recommend to naturally increase sperm count in hopes to increase male fertility:


  • Eat antioxidant-rich foods: Researchers have found that men who took antioxidants in supplement form had less DNA damaged sperm compared to men who did not take antioxidants. Dietary sources of antioxidants related to increased male fertility:
  • Folic Acid: Beef liver, leafy green vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, and fortified grains
  • Lycopene: Tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, and watermelon
  • Selenium: High amounts in Brazil nuts (1 oz provides 780% of daily recommended value), also found in cod, beef, turkey, and chicken
  • Vitamin C: Many fruits and vegetables, with highest levels in red peppers, kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit
  • Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, oils, and leafy greens
  • Zinc: Oysters, crab, red meat, poultry, and beans

If you find that you can’t get more of these foods in your diet, you might want to consider taking a supplement.

  • Have frequent sex: Having frequent sex throughout the month, not just around the time of your partner’s ovulation, can boost your fertility.  To keep sperm in tip-top shape, try to have sex at least twice a week.
  • Limit your soy intake: There have been studies that proposed the phytoestrogens found in soy and soy-derived products could affect male and female reproduction. However, high-quality research in humans is limited. NCCRM male infertility specialists recommend limiting or avoiding soy if you are concerned about the effect it could have on your fertility.
  • Stick to a balanced, healthy diet: What’s best for your sperm is likely what will be most nutritious for your whole body. Choose lean sources of protein, like fish and chicken, plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, and whole grains.
  • Treat any underlying medical conditions: Medical conditions and infections can also affect fertility. High blood sugar caused by diabetes, untreated infection of the reproductive system or urinary tract, anemia, Celiac or Crohn’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, and thyroid disease are a few medical conditions that have been known to affect male infertility. It’s a good idea to schedule a check-up with your doctor if you are ready to start trying to conceive.
  • Protect yourself from toxic chemicals: Avoiding contact with toxins and hazardous substances in the workplace is vital to every employee’s health, not just men with fertility concerns. Farmers, painters, varnishers, metalworkers, and welders (as a group) were found to have a higher chance of infertility and significantly lower sperm counts than men who worked in other fields. Research has shown that the chemicals and other toxic hazards people in these occupations can be exposed to could damage sperm.


  • Smoke or use tobacco: Studies on smoking and semen quality found that smoking affects many aspects of sperm health, including decreased sperm counts, decreased sperm motility (the swimming ability of the sperm), and sperm shape.
  • Drink too much alcohol in excess: Too much alcohol can decrease your fertility. If you’re hoping to conceive, it might be a good time to cut back, or even stop, consuming alcohol.
  • Take long, hot baths or use hot tubs: Research has shown that high temperatures can damage sperm. The male reproductive organs are outside of the body because they need to be kept at temperatures lower than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. NCCRM male infertility specialists recommend “keeping things cool” by avoiding hot tubs and car seat heaters, not putting laptops directly on your lap, and wearing breathable bottoms to avoid increased heat in the trousers. 
  • Skip dental cleanings: Regular dental check-ups will keep your teeth and gums healthier, and studies have shown that they may even help to protect your fertility. Untreated dental problems have been linked to bacteria in semen, and the presence of bacteria in semen has been linked to male infertility.

NCCRM Male Infertility Specialists

If you or a loved one are concerned about having a low sperm count that may cause male infertility, we encourage you to reach out to our male infertility specialists at NCCRM today. 

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