Dear Dr. G,

My wife and I, are newlywed and have been using contraception until recently.

We both went to the Feng Shui Master who reckons our zodiac signs are just perfect to have a dragon baby for an auspicious family.

Although we are both sexually active and trying during the fertile period, we are keen to maximize our chances.

We both understand the miracle of childbirth takes time, but we are just running out of time to have a dragon child this year.

My wife went to see the doctor recently, and had a full medical check-up, she was given all clear.

My wife’s doctor asked me to see a urologist and check for the health of my testicles. Truthfully, I am terrified I might be the reason for not getting the dragon baby.

I hear many news reports that the fertility rates in men are declining.

Therefore, I am putting Dr. G on the spot for some tips to nurture my reproductive health for a dragon child.

Can you please tell me how is fertility measured in men?

What are the causes of low sperm counts?

Do I understand correctly a lot of the shortcomings are due to lifestyle and lack of nutrition for the sperms?

I understand this is a numbers game and I am keen to follow your advice for lifestyle and supplements to make the mark.

I know the timing may be tight, but I am determined to nurture my crown jewels for a healthy dragon child.

On that note, wishing you and your readers Gong Xi Fa Cai.


Nurturing Nathan

The “goalposts” for the fertility numbers game have shifted in the last few years. For many decades, the low counts were defined as concentrations fewer than 20 million sperms per ml of ejaculate. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently reassessed the criteria and established a lower reference point of 15 million sperms/ml, consistent with the 5th percentile of ejaculates for normal men, possibly the signs of the time.

Research has estimated around one in every three cases of a couple’s infertility is due to low sperm count. Poor quality of sperm can be caused by oligospermia, simply referring to semen content with a low concentration of sperm.

The severity of oligospermia can also be further classified as mild, moderate and severe, ranging from 10 to 20 million, 5 to 10 million and less than 5 million, respectively. The severity of oligospermia helps clinicians to determine the mode of treatment, varied from lifestyle changes to test tube babies. Of course, the higher the number of healthy and active sperm, the more chances of conception following intercourse during the ovulation period.

Sperm counts can fluctuate between individuals, but generally oligospermia can also be a temporary setback due to poor state of health or poor lifestyle. While infertility is not always treatable, different measures can be adopted to boost the chances of conceiving. Fertility can sometimes be improved with a healthy diet, supplements, and other lifestyle strategies.

Nutritional status and dietary habits have been shown to have a significant impact on sperm quality, hence the choices of food play a significant part in the ability to conceive. Naturally a balanced diet, including less meat, plenty of wholegrains, lean proteins, more fruits and vegetables, is encouraged.

Although the scientific evidence of vitamins and minerals helping conception is not robust, incorporating some of the nutrients has a positive impact on those gametes.

These include Zinc and Selenium, which may be deficient in sub-fertile men. Natural sources of such nutrients are in lean beef, baked beans, nuts and eggs. However, supplements such as D-aspartic acid (D-AA) have been shown to increase testosterone levels by 30% and sperm quality by 60% over three months.

The possible link of poor sperm motility to Vitamin D deficiency was also demonstrated. Oily fish, breakfast cereals and plenty of sunlight exposure can enhance Vitamin D absorption, which may be crucial for the healthier sperm. On the other hand, folate-rich food such as broccoli, spinach and potatoes, can have a positive impact on this numbers game.

Many scientists also believe antioxidants may improve the quality of the sperm by decreasing the free radicals which destroy cells. Hence Vitamin A, C and E and a wide range of fruits and vegetables, certainly can protect those hardworking cells in the scrotum.

One study revealed infertile men showed that taking 1,000-mg vitamin C supplements twice a day for up to 2 months increased sperm motility by 92% and sperm count by more than 100%. It also reduced the proportion of deformed sperm cells by 55%.

An American author and renowned thinker, Arnold H Glasgow once said: “Improvement begins with I”. In the journey of male ability to fertility, the first step is often the acknowledgement that couples’ fertility issues are not completely female origin. It is vital for men to have a simple semen analysis to ensure the crown jewels are making the mark.

A healthy lifestyle including adequate sleep and exercise, good hydration with balanced diet, and importantly less stressful lifestyle are all simple measures helping to nurture the spermatogenesis.

When Dr. G is put on the spot by desperate men who want a quick fix of his ability to fertility, his advice living a healthy lifestyle is the key to nurturing the spermatogenesis, all the other supplements are just putting the jewels on the crown pathing the way for a dragon child.

On that note, wishing all Gong Xi Fa Cai on the second day of CNY!!

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