After not beeing able to conceive for 8 months, my husband did a spermtest and the result is Asthenoteratozoospermie. Not enough normal moving and formed Spermatozoen. Reduced motility. What can he do to improve his fertility?

asked 31 Jan '10, 13:21

kerstin's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 01 Feb '10, 15:24

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones

I'm very curious -- since you have a very specific diagnosis, presumably by a medical professional, did they not already give you suggestions for improving fertility? What did they say would or would not help?

(02 Feb '10, 06:36) lgritz

(see BetsyB's answer for specific advice regarding the diagnosis of Asthenoteratozoospermie. This answer is really general advice to help improve sperm count, motility, and morphology, which may or may not be relevant in this particular case)

There are quite a things you can do to improve your chances of conception, I've listed a few below, sources are at the bottom.

  • Sperm counts are higher in the winter and lower in the summer, possibly because sperm production is increased in cooler temperatures.*
  • Sperm counts for men are also highest in the morning when male hormone levels are also at a daily high.*
  • Watch your weight, being significantly overweight or underweight can affect fertility.
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce or cut out alcohol intake
  • Don't do drugs
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Cut down on junk food
  • Eat protein rich food, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
  • Take plenty of vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium
  • Consider taking amino acids like L-Arginine and L-Carnitine, which are important for semen volume and sperm motility.
  • Try to avoid fatigue, cut back on work if needed.
  • Exercise regularly, this helps reduce stress
  • Don't overdo the sex, more is not always better. Opinion is a bit divided on the ideal frequency, but it appears more than twice a day will work against you.
  • Sperm count is higher when kept cool. Other things you can do to help keep the boys cool include:
    • Wearing looser clothing
    • Wearing breathable fabrics, like cotton or linen and avoiding polyester
    • Wear boxers rather than briefs or jockeys
    • Keep heat sources away from the lap, such as laptops and cats
    • Avoid hot tubs and saunas, hot showers and baths
    • Avoid extended periods on bicycles or motorbikes, particularly in cycle shorts/leathers

*Note that experts do not really agree whether the time of day or year have an effect on fertility rates when looking at the big picture.

Most of the points above are really general advice for a healthy lifestyle. They are mainly factors that may help increase fertility as a byproduct of being fitter, healthier and more comfortable. A key issue is how stressed or fatigued you are, so try to relax and give it time.



answered 31 Jan '10, 19:15

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

edited 01 Feb '10, 16:27

Something that you can do, check your fertile dates on an ovulation calculator. I used the one on WebMD and got pregnant the first month we used it (after six months of not getting pregnant).

WebMD also has a list of things you both can do to help with fertility. I would like to especially note on the last page where it discusses lubricants. It points out that many commercial lubricants contain a spermicide which would hinder your efforts. The article suggests using Canola Oil instead.


answered 31 Jan '10, 15:45

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 02 Feb '10, 00:50


Don't discount this; if the male sperm count is low, also looking at ways to improve the female fertility in addition to the male may tip the balance in favor of conception vs non-conception.

(01 Feb '10, 05:35) Joel Coehoorn

Your diagnosis of "Asthenoteratozoospermie" would suggest that your husband does not simply have low sperm count, but his sperm are abnormally shaped and have low motility (using the definitions found here). You could certainly make some lifestyle changes together, but if the problem is due to something like a varicocele, he may need more invasive treatment. According to this article, "Recently several scientific researches have shown that in over 90% of the cases in male infertility the main cause is bilateral varicocele".

I have a friend who went through this recently with her husband. He was treated for a varicocele, but ultimately they ended up getting pregnant after their first IVF cycle.

If you aren't already, please schedule a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist. They will be able to help you out more than any of us can.

Good luck!


answered 01 Feb '10, 16:06

BetsyB's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


+1 for addressing the specific diagnosis

(01 Feb '10, 16:23) Rich Seller

I have heard that taking zinc helps improve men's sperm count. This article touches a little on that idea. Good luck!


answered 31 Jan '10, 14:36

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 01 Feb '10, 19:50


I think this is one of those cases where "on the web" doesn't necessarily satisfy the "back it up" rule. Since the article cited is plugging "male enhancement" products widely known in medical circles to be a complete scam, I am not inclined to trust what they say about zinc or anything else.

(01 Feb '10, 18:40) lgritz

thank you for the rude awakening. i won't rush my research in the future. someone told me about zinc when i was trying to conceive, so when i found what i thought was a supporting article i used it. i've changed the article for one from WebMD that actually talks about zinc and folic acid.

(01 Feb '10, 19:50) DazedandConfused

It may well be true that a zinc deficiency could be a contributing factor to low sperm counts, but that doesn't necessarily mean that zinc supplements will help (or could even harm, for all we know, if your zinc levels are already fine or high). That's the problem with all the claims about dietary supplements -- in the US and probably other places as well, you can imply just about any claim without evidence if you are calling it a "food" or "supplement" as opposed to a drug (which does have rigorous standards for safety and efficacy).

(02 Feb '10, 06:34) lgritz

He should also avoid hot baths/showers, too-tight underwear or pants, and avoid drinking and smoking. There is a good list, here.


answered 31 Jan '10, 15:22

YMCbuzz's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


And don't put his laptop on his lap or sitting with his legs crossed and maybe switch to boxers.

(31 Jan '10, 15:41) mkcoehoorn

Also, keep the cell phone out of his pocket, too!

(01 Feb '10, 02:14) Fun2Dream

@Fun2Dream Any evidence for the cell phone thing? Laptops get extremely hot, cell phones don't tend to. I've not seen any studies showing fertility issues from cell phones.

(01 Feb '10, 17:09) ceejayoz

See in which the doctor says "Hot showers should not lower the sperm count. The body temperature does not usually increase with a shower, though it may increase with a sauna or a long hot tub stay." It might be worth finding real medical citations on the other parts (underwear, etc.) before necessarily believing it.

(01 Feb '10, 18:45) lgritz

Follow-up: I'm not sure that the article I cite is right, either, but it's an area that's ripe for urban legends. I would recommend accepting nothing less than peer-reviewed medical journal articles for the final word on whether any of these things affects sperm counts.

(01 Feb '10, 18:48) lgritz

@Igritz I saw an article on a few years ago related to the temp of a man's groin area and his sperm count - cautioning against putting a laptop directly on a man's lap. I'd link to it if I could but I don't remember the title or when I read it. I just remember being surprised to see something about fertility on The article I linked to on WebMD in my answer, says that the underwear issue has no noticeable difference, but the other heat sources are valid.

(02 Feb '10, 00:45) mkcoehoorn
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Among other things already suggested like vitamins, avoiding really hot showers, etc., I was put on Clomid for a few months (gets some funny looks from pharmacy cashiers!). Didn't work for me, but it apparently does for some. We wound up going with donated sperm, and have never regretted it.


answered 31 Jan '10, 18:57

ceejayoz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

+1 for avoiding really hot showers. I remember learning long ago that tight-fitting briefs increase body temperature in area around the testes resulting in lower counts and lower motility/mobility. Same effect with hot showers, jacuzzis/hot tubs.

(01 Feb '10, 17:06) Jeff

Not necessarily. See this article in which the doctor says "Hot showers should not lower the sperm count. The body temperature does not usually increase with a shower, though it may increase with a sauna or a long hot tub stay."

(01 Feb '10, 18:44) lgritz
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Asked: 31 Jan '10, 13:21

Seen: 11,706 times

Last updated: 02 Feb '10, 00:50