Causes & Treatment

Should he try a sperm overhaul? How to test and improve sperm quality, with a motility focus

Jessie Day, in partnership with YO Sperm  |   15 Nov 2023


Give your (or your partner’s) sperm a kick in the, well, balls*. Or not. Never mind, here’s how to improve sperm quality (from motility to morphology) and tips for getting pregnant, even with a low count

*Seriously, don’t do this. Your guy (and his sperm) won’t thank you.

Get serious about lifestyle

Sperm health can absolutely be affected by age, especially after age 50. Various medical issues can also factor into how your sperm is doing – or not doing – including hypogonadism, and certain disorders. 

But alongside these crucial aspects, sits lifestyle. And when it comes to diet and nutrition, toxin exposure, daily habits, exercise and lots of other tips and tricks – there’s a whole lot we can do to improve sperm quality – i.e motility and morphology – and increase count and volume. 

We’d recommend paying close attention to these key aspects, and we’ll dive into a few must-do actions further down: 

  • weight and BMI 
  • diet and nutrition 
  • stress management
  • toxin exposure (including smoking, BPA food packaging, alcohol use, pesticide and lead exposure)
  • scrotal temperature (we’ve all read the mainstream stuff on loose-fitting underwear and no laptops on the crotch – it’s not yet fully proven, but best avoid) 
  • STI prevention
  • staying active

How does your sperm score?

No-one knows sperm quite like YO Sperm. So we’ve pulled in their team to give deep insight on what it takes to make real, dynamic changes to sperm quality (as well as count and volume). While you’re on it, the YO Home Sperm Test is one to have on standby to check in on your sperm, making sure your reboot is on track. 

The primary result delivered by the YO Home Sperm Test is your ‘motile sperm concentration’ – which basically means the number of moving sperm in the sample. This is a key aspect of your overall sperm quality, because motility – how your sperm move – plays such a big part in fertilizing an egg, at conception. 

Working entirely through your phone, PC or MAC device, this test is our go-to for discreet home sperm testing. No mail-in, lab visit or waiting around. With results ready in three minutes, it even gives whoever’s testing a real-time YO Score (from 10-90) and video clip, for an at-a-glance understanding of where their sperm quality – and that crucial motility factor – is at. 

Once you’re done, the results are yours to share with a doctor or medical professional, or keep 100% private.

Grab your test now, and while the team sort your super-fast, free delivery, check off these top tips to improve sperm quality.

tips for getting pregnant with low sperm count

1. Exercise is good (just be sensible about it)

Movement is great for sperm, for a whole host of reasons. Moderate exercise can boost your levels of key antioxidant enzymes (always good, in sperm health), and testosterone. If you go quite hard with training, make sure you’re pairing it with zinc intake, to help protect your testosterone levels from dipping down the other side.

2. Cut your alcohol intake

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, here. The odd drink is (usually) fine. And equally, if it’s been a big weekend, be mindful the following week. But alcohol in excess, as a regular habit, can reduce your testosterone levels and sperm quality, and quantity. 

You can make a big impact by cutting back – often reversing the effects of excessive drinking, if you maintain a low to no alcohol intake. Go for a soda water with fresh lime at the bar, and a hops-infused kombucha for the extra microbiome health punch. Team TRB love this one by Lucky Elixir Kombucha – beer vibes, without the booze.

A note on smoking

Do we need to talk about smoking? Quite possibly, yes. Multiple studies have confirmed that smoking reduces sperm count. If you smoke, quitting could be a game-changer for your sperm health. Do it. 

Illegal drugs are simply a no. Cannabis has a proven negative impact on sperm production, and harder drugs come with myriad sperm-related problems. Steroids and prescription drugs are also something to assess, if you’re trying to boost sperm health.

3. Go for boxers, ditch the hot tubs & no hot crotches

This is old news, we know. But guys, it bears repeating. And even if you’re a boxers fan (step away from the tight underwear, it’s thought to significantly increase testicle temps), you might need a reminder to get that laptop off your lap (the clue is in the name, hey?) and go for showers rather than soaking in a hot tub.  

how to increase sperm count and volume

4. Eat for sperm health

Think whole foods, a balanced diet and good variety of colors and flavor profiles – eating the rainbow may sound a bit basic but don’t knock it. Getting those vibrant reds from bell peppers, yellows from zucchini, greens from your leafy veggies and purples from berries and stone fruit – not to mention the pink you see in shrimp and the golden orange of an egg yolk – helps you build a web of dense nutrition. 

And, your sperm will thank you, three(ish) months down the line. Eat for sperm health, avoid processed foods, sweeteners, refined grains and trans fats, and leave a little space in your budget for these star players. You can mix and match them across every breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for truly well-fed sperm: 

  • beef liver, oily fish, lamb and feta for vitamin B12 (if you’re plant-based, nutritional yeast or a good supplement are options) 
  • black currants, red and green peppers, broccoli and kiwi for vitamin C
  • nuts and seeds (sunflower come out top) for added vitamin E
  • beef liver plus greens like spinach, asparagus and brussels sprouts to boost folate
  • Brazil nuts, oily fish and turkey for selenium 
  • oysters, lamb and pumpkin seeds for a zinc boost 

You may also have seen walnuts recommended as superstars of the semen quality world. Studies do show that for men consuming a Western-style diet, walnuts can be helpful. No harm in grabbing a few bags and adding them to salads, breakfast or snacking on them during the day. 

We also love a good supplement to power things up. Keep reading for our top tips. 

5. Know your supplements

So yes, supplements. Here are a few of the most well-known, when it comes to sperm health. This isn’t a recommendation, more a round-up of where the research is at. We’ve also included a few herbs and superfoods, which are frequently used by practitioners: 

6. Reduce your toxic load

Some toxic sources – like cigarettes and tobacco use – are pretty obvious. 

But less so, and sometimes less avoidable, are the toxins we’re exposed to from the world we live in. We can look to avoid using pesticides ourselves, but it’s difficult to avoid pesticides in the general environment, which we often won’t be aware of. 

Our mantra here is good, better, best. Do what you can to reduce toxic load, checking off this list of suggestions, but don’t go down a rabbit hole that leaves you afraid to leave the house! Plus, antioxidant support through diet and nutrition can have a dynamic counter-balancing impact. 

  • check any meds and steroids you’re taking through with a doctor, and discuss any potential impact
  • wash your produce before eating, to reduce pesticide exposure (and go for good sourcing, where you can) 
  • ditch food you know to be packaged with bisphenol-A (BPA) 
  • be aware of chemical exposure, and speak to a medical professional or qualified practitioner if you’re concerned. Certain paints, glues and industrial products can be a problem
  • it’s not exactly a toxin, but soy and soy food products may be ones to watch, and avoid

That’s it! Six tips to help you overhaul your sperm health, wherever you’re starting from. Most of these will impact whole-body health too, which is crucial for conception goals, as well as benefiting related reproductive health concerns, such as libido and erectile function.

Remember, it takes around two to three months for your good work to impact sperm health. The sperm you’re working with right now are very different to the swimmers you’ll have next season, so see this as some serious prep and conditioning time. 

And, when you’re ready to test – particularly that motility and quality score – team TRB go for YO Sperm in the US, every time.

how to get pregnant with low sperm count and motility

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