How can I improve my chances of becoming a dad?

It may seem obvious, but if you want to become a dad you need to have regular sex (two or three times a week). Having sex around the time your partner ovulates (when an egg is released from the ovary) will increase your chances of conceiving.

Read more about the best time to get pregnant.

There are also a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your chances of becoming a dad.

Sperm temperature

Your testicles are positioned outside your body because they need to be kept slightly cooler than the rest of your body to produce the best quality sperm. The ideal temperature for sperm production is around 34.5oC, which is just below body temperature.

If you are trying to conceive, taking a few simple measures to keep your testicles cool may help. For example, if your job involves working in a hot environment, take regular breaks outside, or if you sit still for long periods, get up and move around regularly.

Wearing tight underwear is also thought to increase testicle temperature by up to 1oC. Although research has shown that tight underwear does not seem to affect sperm quality, you may want to wear loose-fitting underwear, such as boxer shorts, while trying to conceive.

Smoking

Smoking can reduce fertility, so you should give up smoking if you want to become a dad.

Smoking around a newborn baby also significantly increases their chances of developing respiratory disease and sudden infant death syndrome (cot death).

Your GP will be able to provide advice and treatment to help you quit smoking. You can also visit the NHS smokefree website for more help and advice about quitting smoking, or you can call their helpline on 0800 022 4 332 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm).

Alcohol

Men should not drink more than the Department of Health’s recommendation of three to four units of alcohol a day. Drinking more than this can reduce your sperm quality. Therefore, you should not exceed the recommended daily alcohol limits and, ideally, drink less than the recommended daily amounts.

One unit of alcohol is the equivalent of half a pint of beer or lager or a single pub measure (25ml) of spirits. A small glass of wine (125ml) contains one-and-a-half units of alcohol.

Read more about drinking and alcohol and alcohol units.

Diet, weight and exercise

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight is essential for keeping your sperm in good condition. Your diet should include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and pasta, and lean meat, fish, and pulses for protein.

Being overweight (having a body mass index of 25 or over) may affect the quality and quantity of your sperm. Therefore, if you are overweight and trying to conceive, you should lose weight by combining healthy eating with regular exercise.

Stress

Stress can affect your relationship. It can also reduce your or your partner’s libido (sex drive), which in turn can reduce how often you have sex. Severe stress may also limit sperm production.

Therefore, when trying to conceive learning to relax and taking steps to reduce the amount of stress in your life will help.

Read more about loss of libido and relaxation tips to reduce stress.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 25/04/2013

Next review due: 25/04/2015