This May Be the Best Time of Year to Get Pregnant; Find Out Why
If you are ready to expand your family, winter and early spring is the best time of year to try to get pregnant. Researchers have found that men’s sperm are at their healthiest during this time of year.
Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel collected and analyzed 6,455 semen samples from men at their fertility clinic between January 2006 and July 2009. Of the men who had normal sperm counts (anything over 16 million sperm per milliliter), the highest counts were recorded during the winter (average 70 million sperm per milliliter) and early spring (68 million sperm per milliliter.) Of those, about 3-5% of those sperm had fast motility, further improving a couple’s chance of getting pregnant.
Although the relationship was not as strong, the men with abnormal sperm production had better motility during the fall and made the largest percentage of “normal” sperm in the spring.
Sperm morphology (size and shape of a sperm) were also noted to be more normal during the spring. Researchers theorize, based on previous animal studies, that factors that account for this phenomenon include temperature, length of daylight exposure, and hormone variations.
"Based on our results the (normal) semen will perform better in winter, whereas infertility cases related to low sperm counts should be encouraged to choose spring and fall," wrote lead researcher Eliahu Levitas MD.
Doctors aren’t likely however to tell couples to wait until a certain season to begin trying to conceive. "We would continue to encourage them to try regardless of the season, and they may benefit from interventions or treatments," conclude the research authors.
Meanwhile, men can take further steps to improve their sperm count through some simple lifestyle changes:
1. Be less sedentary. There has recently been an association made between inactivity during television watching and low sperm count.
2. Quit smoking and decrease use of alcohol.
3. Lose weight if you are overweight through healthy diet and exercise. Be sure to get in all of the essential nutrients you need each day, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Avoid overheating. Frequent use of saunas, hot tubs and laptop computers can overheat the testicles
5. and decrease sperm production.
6. Avoid certain chemicals, such as pesticides, and heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium and arsenic. Also limit exposure to BPA.
7. Stress, both physical and emotional, can inhibit sperm count by interfering with certain hormones.
Eliahu Levitas MD et al. Seasonal variations of human sperm cells among 6455 semen samples: a plausible explanation of a seasonal birth pattern. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. published online 11 February 2013