Preconception care: men

There are a number of factors that can influence your fertility that you have no control over, but there are several things that you can do to maximise your chances of conception. City Fertility tell The Baby Project men how to maximise their fertility.


Men who smoke have noted reductions in sperm count, motility and normal appearances of sperm. There is an associated higher incidence of impotence, increased birth defects, higher rates of childhood cancer and asthma in their children. Studies have also shown problems with DNA fragmentation

Smoking cessation should be an integral part of preconception care for both partners.


Excessive alcohol consumption affects sperm quality making it harder to conceive, so you should limit your intake if trying to conceive.


High consumption of caffeine can result in sperm DNA damage; therefore you should limit your daily consumption to no more than one to two cups of coffee per day. If smoking, alcohol and caffeine are combined there is a dramatic decrease in sperm quality.


As with the female, there is a clear relationship between weight and fertility. Men should try to maintain a healthy body weight when trying to conceive. Particularly, excess abdominal weight can inhibit the testical’s ability to remain at a lower temperature than the rest of the body.

Diet and Exercise

Your exercise can be spread over the day in smaller bursts. Try three 10-min walks daily

Diet and exercise play an important role in the production of healthy sperm. A healthy balanced diet rich in lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables is recommended.

Men need to keep in mind that sperm is produced at slightly below body temperature, so it is important to exercise at a sensible pace and not overheat yourself.

Keep Cool

Because of overheating, sperm quality can be affected. The testes are outside the body to keep them cooler for a reason. Avoid hot spas, saunas, tight jeans or even sitting with your laptop on your lap.

Vitamin Supplements

Zinc deficiency can reduce testosterone levels and semen production. Taking a supplement can improve DNA quality.

We recommend taking a supplement with antioxidants and zinc. There are several formulations available so ask your doctor for advice. You will need to begin taking these three months prior to conception.

Recreational Drugs

Studies have shown Marijuana to have a major impact on sperm quality and quantity. It is not advisable to use any form of recreational drugs when trying to conceive or after conception

Ejaculation Frequency

There is a common misconception that if you ‘save it up’ and don’t ejaculate until ovulation then you will have more sperm and achieve fertilisation. This is definitely not the case. If you ‘save it up’ the sperm becomes sluggish and tend to have more chance of DNA damage. You need to ejaculate regularly to keep the sperm healthy and motile.

For best results you should try to ejaculate every two days especially when your partner is ovulating.  Often we are asked “can you ejaculate too much?” If you are ejaculating daily this will not cause a problem with most males. The quantity will not be as much but the quality should be good.


Studies have shown that the semen quality declines during period of stress. Find ways to lower your stress levels, like going for a walk or playing golf with your friends.


We are faced with a myriad of environmental toxins on a daily basis. If you work with paints, diesel fumes or pesticides to name a few, you need to be using protective equipment.

Pollutions can cause DNA damage to sperm. Give them a wide berth whilst trying to conceive or take all safety measures possible whilst using them. Talk with your doctor or specialist if you have any concerns.

Having trouble falling pregnant? Contact City Fertility.

This article is reproduced with permission from City Fertility.


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