Having a Baby: The Man's Role

IMAGE Thinking about starting a family? A little common sense coupled with an ounce or two of prevention can go a long way in having a healthy child. Once you and your partner decide you're ready to be parents, you probably want to get the baby show on the road right away. Many couples are surprised when it takes them six months or more to conceive; after all, haven't we spent most of our reproductive lives trying not to reproduce? For couples actively seeking pregnancy, it can take months to achieve. If the woman is older, it can take even longer.But fertility, or a lack thereof, does not rest only with the woman. You and your partner both have important roles to play. You will, after all, contribute half of your child's chromosomes. Indeed, it is your sexual chromosome make-up—XY—that determines the sex of the baby. There are things you can do to increase both your chances of conception and your odds of having a healthy baby.

How It All Works

Let's take a brief look at what's involved in the story of "Sperm Meets Egg."Here's the short version: The male's sperm must navigate through the female's cervical mucus (now receptive at ovulation to the sperm), travel the length of the uterus, and enter the fallopian tubes.Once in the fallopian tube, sperm must meet an egg, penetrate the egg's protective coating and inner membrane, and fertilize the egg.

What To Watch

Before you can take care of baby, you must begin by taking care of yourself. Stop anything that interferes with normal body functions, because it could have an effect on reproduction. This means all the usual suspects need to go. Recreational drugs, like marijuana and anabolic steroids can reduce sperm counts. While men don't need to abstain from alcohol completely, heavy drinking can reduce overall sperm count. Moderate drinking is considered 2 drinks per day. Toss the cigarettes too. Smoking not only affects sperm production, but can also affect the quality of the sperm. Quitting now also creates a healthier environment for the child in your future. If you are significantly overweight, lose some weight . Male obesity can affect sperm concentration. The bottom line: When it comes to health, use common sense. If it's bad for you, it's most likely bad for your baby-to-be.

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