03 Aug Is summer making you less or more fertile?
Summer is a season like no other: the sun shining brightly makes our bodies release serotonin, which puts us all in a good mood. But have you ever wondered if hot weather has any impact on your fertility?
It’s very difficult to give a precise answer to this question, as there are many things to consider. The truth is, as much as the summertime can do good things for your fertility, it can also affect it negatively, especially that of men. But there’s no need to worry, as we’ll be giving you some helpful tips to mitigate any downside!
Let’s start with the good news: sunny months normally translate into higher levels of the hormone melatonin and vitamin D. You might be wondering why those two things are important. Well, high melatonin and vitamin D levels increase pregnancy rates. It’s also important to underline that we’re talking about sun exposure, not heat exposure.
Melatonin is a natural regulator of women’s menstrual cycles. As a result, the ovulation period can be calculated with a much higher precision during the summer, which is extremely useful for couples trying to conceive. Isn’t it amazing that a daily walk outside can increase your chances of having a baby?
Vitamin D is synthesized by the body when it is exposed to sunlight, so even a 15-minute walk during the day can prove to be beneficial. The best way to increase your vitamin D levels is to skip sunscreen, but in any case it is advisable to avoid direct sunlight at the brightest hours of the day, between 11:00 and 15:00 approximately. Good levels of vitamin D improve the quality of a woman’s oocytes. In fact, studies have proven that women with normal levels (≥30 ng/ml) of vitamin D are much more likely to conceive through IVF than those with low levels because the former can produce more progesterone and estrogen, which in turn improve embryo quality and pregnancy rates. Vitamin D also helps both the mother and the baby avoid health complications during the pregnancy. Vitamin D is also beneficial for men, as it has been linked to improved semen quality, resulting from the increased calcium levels in the sperm, which increases its motility.
Another reason why summertime is great is that it relieves stress for many of us. It goes without saying that stress is one of the main enemies of fertility, as it increases cortisol levels, so anything that helps tackle it is always welcome, right?
Now, it’s also important to consider another aspect of the summer: heat waves. It’s been proven time and time again by scientists that heat negatively affects the sperm. Recently, researchers from the University of Padua in Italy, discovered that exposure to heat induces the activation of the E2F1 gene, which regulates the division of cells that produce sperm. The testicular damage caused by the increase in the activity of this gene results in a lower ability to produce spermatozoa.
Another study previously demonstrated that not only does heat cause a decrease in the total number of spermatozoa, but, in addition, it increases sperm DNA fragmentation, thus reducing fertilization rates and increasing miscarriage rates. This phenomenon could then make conception unlikely or increase the chances of miscarriage. No need to panic, though, as this process is reversible, but in any case, it’s useful to keep this in mind during the hot months.
Lastly, let’s explore some ways in which you can stay safe during a heat wave. The most important thing is to stay hydrated, and not wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. If you want to switch it up a little, water-rich snacks like watermelon and cucumber are always a good idea! If you have limited access to air conditioning, wet washcloths in the fridge can also do the trick. To keep your body temperature at a normal level, avoid hot baths and saunas, especially after embryo implantation, since they leave you more vulnerable to infections. Men can also take care of themselves during this hot season, by choosing natural fiber underwear and loose clothing, which allow for breathability, and reduce, or even better, eliminate alcohol and smoking, which are known to change the body temperature.
Luckily for you, fertility treatments are carried out in laboratories with full temperature control. Hence, IVF results do not vary much between seasons. Our team of experts at Reproclinic can help you choose the best treatment for your unique case, taking into consideration your needs and preferences. What are you waiting for? Hurry up and book your initial consultation with us today, and you’ll learn about our special summer promotions!