How Healthy Is Your Sperm?
Semen Analysis – Identifying the Health of Your Sperm
The importance of sperm health is often underestimated when trying to conceive.
Statistically 1 in 6 couples have difficulty trying to become pregnant. Problems with male fertility represents about 40% of the reason some couples have difficulty conceiving.
Unlike women, men are constantly producing sex cells. While a woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, men produce sperm continually. What a man does on a daily basis to his body therefore can definitely affect the sperm maturation process.
Additionally a mans sperm health and sperm quality begins to decline around the age of 25! Many men aren’t even contemplating fatherhood at this age.
Improving and identifying sperm health is possible. The first step is getting yourself educated with the basics.
Causes of Male Infertility
Causes of male infertility are mostly easier to identify and address than female infertility.
Common problems are also more likely to be experienced by older (44 years and above) men.
These problems could include:
- A low sperm count
- Ducts that carry ejaculating sperm becoming clogged
- Infection in the testes
- Problems getting an erection
What is a Sperm “Supposed’ to Look Like?
A normal sperm typically has an oval head and one tail. Going by this criteria however only about a third of mens sperm look normal.
Consequently for most men, most of their sperm are ‘funny looking’.
These defects can occur in one or a combination of the sex cells three parts: the head, mid -piece or the tail.
For example a defective sperm could have double heads, a small or oversized head, a bent neck, a thin mid-piece, a tail that’s bent, broken, coiled or multiple tails.
Interestingly what is a source of debate by fertility specialists and researchers is whether these abnormalities make for less potent sperm.
Life Span of Sperm
With every ejaculation, men produce around 200 million sperm cells and the life span of sperm after ejaculation depends on the health of the sperm alongside other circumstances.
Sperm ejaculated into a womans vagina can live in her cervical mucus or upper genital tract from anywhere from three to five days. Fertilisation is possible as long as the sperm remain alive.
Sperm ejaculated outside the body might survive in semen — the fluid released during ejaculation — up to a few hours.
What Constitutes a Healthy Sperm?
Sperm health depends on various factors including quantity, quality (morphology) and movement (motility).
A man is more likely to be fertile if the ejaculate — the semen discharged in a single ejaculation — contains more than 15 million sperm per millilitre.
These sperm need to be the healthiest they can be as it’s survival of the fittest!
A man requires millions of sperm to be ejaculated when in search of a receptive egg. Most of these sperm will drop off or get lost along the way. Therefore the more healthy sperm a man has the more likely a single sperm will find the egg.
Only 4% of sperm will have a normal shape and structure – that is, an oval head and a long tail, which work together to propel it forward.
Sperm with large, small, tapered or crooked heads or kinky, curled or double tails will struggle to fertilise an egg. The more sperm you have with a normal shape and structure, the more likely a man will be fertile.
To reach and penetrate an egg, sperm must move — wriggling and swimming through a woman’s cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes on their way to the egg. A man is most likely to be fertile if more than 40% of the sperm are moving.
Sperm health can therefore be improved by increasing sperm count, motility and morphology as well as by improving DNA integrity.
A reproductive support formula for men to help conception is essential. This is a formula that improves sperm health by improving DNA integrity and increasing sperm count, motility and morphology.
One of the fatty acids in fish is called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for sperm formation. Researchers have found that DHA turns dysfunctional round-headed sperm into strong swimmers with cone-shaped heads packed with egg-opening proteins.
For older (over 44 years of age) men, an antioxidant-rich diet and a quality multivitamin can be useful. A study by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that men over 44 with high vitamin-C diets had 20 percent less DNA damage to sperm than men who consumed less vitamin C.
Antioxidants, vitamin E, zinc and folate had similar effects, the researchers reported in 2012 in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
Other Lifestyle Factors
If a man smokes, drinks alcohol to excess, is stressed, has poor nutrition and doesn’t exercise, these will contribute to poor sperm quality resulting in healthy sperm and therefore not up to the task of fertilisation.
Read Top 10 Male Fertility Killers and Treating Infertility – What You Can Do for a more detailed look at the importance of modifying nutrition and lifestyle factors in improving sperm health and fertility.
Male fertility is complicated, with many contributing factors. If your sperm count is below 20 million sperm per milliliter (negative), you should consult a fertility specialist about a complete fertility evaluation.
Emed can assist you by providing leading nutritional and herbal advice so you can achieve your full potential with your fertility. Contact us to find out how.
- Top 10 Male Fertility Killers
- Ubiquinol Linked to Improved Male Fertility
- Treating Infertility – What You Can Do
- Making a Healthy Baby