(NewsUSA) - While women are often the first to undergo a battery of tests when conception is slow to happen, almost half of all infertility problems are directly attributed to the male. Low sperm count is the most common culprit, so analyzing sperm count is considered a key first step by infertility specialists. However, a new survey conducted for SpermCheck Fertility, the only FDA-approved at-home sperm count screening test, finds that only 17 percent of men ever get tested.
While a majority of men are not getting tested, according to Pamela Madsen, fertility advocate and founder of The American Fertility Association, they are also doing little to prepare for conception. She says there are several things men can do to help boost fertility naturally:
1. Feed fertility. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts and low-fat proteins will help boost zinc and selenium levels. Selenium has been found to contribute to healthy sperm, while a zinc deficiency may contribute to reduced fertility.
2. Trade happy hour for power hour. Heavy drinking, even caffeine, can be a fertility wrecker for men. Madsen advises capping caffeine to one cup of coffee per day, avoiding energy drinks and limiting alcohol intake before and while trying to conceive. Get into a moderate workout routine. Exercise can help keep hormones happy, manage weight and lower stress, all of which boost fertility.
3. Limit exposure. The work environment may contribute to fertility problems, ranging from chemical exposure to excessive heat. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reports that continued exposure to things like pesticides, chemical fertilizers and radiation can lower sperm count. Using a laptop computer on the lap, versus a desk, can reduce fertility due to heat exposure.
4. Check the boys. The SpermCheck survey found that 83 percent of men who are planning or trying to conceive assume they are fertile. "Most men make this assumption, but around half actually may have issues," says Madsen.