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Biology for beginners tells us that it takes a sperm and an egg to create a baby, yet if you’re a couple struggling to get pregnant, the emphasis is very often on the woman’s health.

But the quality of the sperm plays a role in half of couple’s fertility issues—and more when it comes to miscarriages.

According to fertility specialist Dr Andrew Orr, up to 85% of issues with miscarriage can be related to poor quality sperm.

Infertility is normally defined as when a couple is unable to conceive after a year of unprotected regular intercourse during the ovulation period.

It’s a heart-breaking issue for many couples and there are many causative factors, some of which are as yet unknown. 

Up to 85% of issues with miscarriage can be related to poor quality sperm.

~ Dr. Andrew Orr

There are many things that may help to increase fertility for both men and women, such as a nutrient dense diet, reducing toxicity and making lifestyle changes.

We all know that smoking, drinking alcohol and taking medications while pregnant can be a bad idea, as they’re toxic to the baby.

So it’s a good idea for both partners to give themselves at least six months of preconception care prior to trying for a baby. 

Beer glasses saying cheers

Alcohol can reduce sperm quality, DNA and depletes the body of nutrients

Chemicals Affecting Male Sperm

Depending on what you read, the life span of sperm can take around 76 days to 120 days to mature.

So let’s say that if three to four months ago you were stressed, smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol and eating total junk, the quality of your sperm today would not be very healthy. 

If your swimmers did manage to fertilize an egg, the impact of your poor-quality sperm would be carried through to the fetus.

Drinking alcohol, taking drugs or medication and being stressed reduces sperm quality, DNA and depletes the body of nutrients. 

Studies also find that obesity in men reduces sperm count, because excess fat increases the body’s estrogen levels.

Cigarette smoke contains many chemicals, including heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and nickel.

One of the clearest studies I’ve seen on semen was from Islamabad in Pakistan, where levels of trace metals in sperm are lower than other countries. 

Here cadmium and nickel in seminal plasma were shown to negatively affect sperm concentration and motility.  

Even if you’re a non-smoker, heavy metals that can impact your fertility could have been passed down to you from parents and grandparents across the placenta barrier. 

Lead is also known to reduce testosterone levels and libido, according to extensive research done by chemical engineer and author of Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities, Dr Andrew Cutler. 

Even if you’re a non-smoker, heavy metals that can impact your fertility are well known to pass down through the placenta line from parents and grandparents.

Alternatively, you may have been exposed to them in your job, if you have tattoos, amalgam fillings or vaccinations, through the food you eat, water you drink and air you breath.

Having a hair and mineral analysis test may help determine if your heavy metal toxic load is too high, so that you can have them chelated (removed) from your blood by a professional.

Sperm and Nutrition

Hair and mineral tests are also important for checking your mineral levels. 

Here are six of the top nutrients needed in order for the sperm to be healthy:  

Table showing the nutrients needed for healthy sperm

In conclusion, there are many more things that can affect the quality of sperm, but leading a nutrient-dense, organic, whole-food clean diet for six months before trying to conceive may greatly increase fertility rates.