News

21-10-2018

Last week was Fertility Week, Healthy You, Healthy Baby. It has been known for many years that the healthier the woman, the higher the chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby at birth. In the last twenty years, more evidence has been gathering about the influence of both men and women's health on fertility and on the health of the baby at birth and for the lifetime of the child. Factors such as nutrition, obesity, chemicals, drugs and alcohol are important for fertility of both partners and for the health of a future child.

yourfertility.org.au is a website produced by the collaboration between The Victorian Assisted Reproduction Authority, Andrology Australia, Jean Hailes Research Unit and the Robinson Research Institute. The website is produced with the collaboration of medical, scientific, academic, health and wellbeing professionals, specialist organisations and those sharing their own stories and is funded by the Australian Government Dept of Health and Victorian Government Dept of Health and Services. There is a broad  range of resources and interactive tools to broadly overview your current position as a couple available without the bias possible when accessing information from the websites provided by the various fertility and IVF clinics.

Your own GP also is an excellent resource regarding your general health, family risks and referral paths that may be appropriate for you. Your GP can also arrange simple initial examinations and tests for both men and women regarding general wellbeing and problems to address regarding associated fertility effects.

For men, the major effects on sperm and the chance of achieving a pregnancy are:

1. healthy weight and general fitness,  being overweigh affects the sperm motility and quantity and can affects the number of abnormal sperm. Obesity also reduces the testosterone level, causing difficulty with sexual performance. A healthy balanced diet provides all the nutrients required for healthy sperm production

2. quitting smoking, as smoking affects sperm quality and volume.

3. reducing alcohol intake, alcohol affects testosterone levels. It is suggested to have no more than 8 standard drinks per week.

4. limiting chemical exposure from the workplace environment, microplastics, herbicides, heavy metals and household chemicals, taking anabolic steroids, some prescription medications, long term pain medications, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, recreational drugs. To further read about how to reduce the chemicals affecting your fertility see ; https://www.yourfertility.org.au/everyone/lifestyle/chemicals-our-environment Warm temperatures might affect the ability of the testis to make sperm, avoid spas, saunas, hot baths and holding your laptop on your lap.

5. age, although sperm are made throughout life, after the age of 45 years partners take longer to achieve pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage increases, the risk of chromosomal or genetic disorders increase with age and  there is a small increase in the risk of mental health issues and autism for the child

6. chronic health conditions, diabetes and hypertension can adversely affect sperm health, and the better controlled the less the possible effect.

7. regular ejaculation helps increase sperm quality. have sex 2-3 times per week.

For women, fertility is also significantly affected by general health , age, medical conditions, lifestyle, gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and sexually transmitted diseases and timing of intercourse. Again, yourfertility.org.au has an extensive range of resources and links regarding each of these topics.

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