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IntroductionIt takes two to make a baby. Although a woman will carry and deliver the child, a man also has a leading role in pregnancy. For fertilization to occur, his sperm must be healthy and strong to reach and penetrate her egg.
To make this process happen, a man must be able to have and keep an erection, have enough sperm that are the right shape and move in the right way, and have enough semen to carry the sperm to the egg, suggests the U.S. Office on Women’s Health (OWH). A problem in any step in this process can cause trouble conceiving.
A variety of factors, from genetics and lifestyle to environmental exposures and hormones, can affect a man's fertility, so it's difficult to isolate the exact cause for infertility, said Dr. Jared Robins, chief of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Northwestern Medicine's Fertility and Reproductive Medicine in Chicago.
In fact, doctors can identify the cause of problems in about 80 percent of infertile couples, Robins noted. When there is a known cause of infertility, problems in the male partner tend to account for about 40 percent of infertile couples, Robins said.
When asked for his most important recommendation for men who want to start a family, Robins said, "A man should make sure he has a happy, healthy lifestyle — and a good relationship."
Robins said one of the problems he sees is that when couples become so fertility focused, they essentially stop having sex until they think it's the best times to conceive. "Their sex lives become focused on pregnancy, so infrequent sex can be a problem in these couples," he said.
The focus on fertility can also be stressful on a relationship, Robins noted. But there are many steps that men can take to enhance their health, lifestyle and relationship to increase a couple's chances of conceiving.
Here are 12 tips for men who want to improve their fertility.
Lose extra poundsSlide 2 of 25
Lose extra poundsSlide 3 of 25
Get health conditions under controlSlide 4 of 25
Get health conditions under controlSlide 5 of 25
Eat healthy foodsSlide 6 of 25
Eat healthy foodsSlide 7 of 25
Get regular physical activitySlide 8 of 25