What do men need to know about planning a family?

Tribune News Service

Having children can sometimes be a crapshoot. Some couples achieve pregnancy on the first try, while other can try for years with no success.

Mayo Clinic urologist and fertility specialist Dr. Landon Trost says there are things men can do to improve their odds.

“In general, the lower the sperm count, typically, the harder time you’ll have to achieve a pregnancy,” Trost said.

You can now get over-the-counter sperm count tests. Ideally, you want more than 55 million sperm, he said.

To improve your sperm count, he said lay off tobacco and alcohol. They can have a modest impact.

You should definitely avoid drugs like cocaine and marijuana, as they can significantly decrease your sperm count.

Some legal drugs can too.

“So, either prescription medicines, or even ones that you can now get over the counter for reflux diseases or heartburn-type conditions,” Trost said. “Those often impair fertility as well.”

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The best thing you can do is improve your overall health.

“Getting yourself, of course, in the best fitness, in shape and losing weight, those probably have some impact as well,” Trost said.

Men should also consider intriguing new research about the impact of a person’s choices on their future children.

“So, you may still be able to achieve a pregnancy, but if you take high levels of alcohol, for example, or are morbidly obese or other things, you children often will face some of those same issues,” Trost said.