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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.

Quality (Morphology)

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.


Movement (Motility)

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.


Nutrition Matters

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.


Further Reading 



  • Brian says:

    In the 1990’s, I subscribed to Prostate Help Association in order to obtain
    the best info re prostate problems. I had BPH and it was recommended that
    plant sterols ( beta – sitosterol) would help, which it did and I have been
    taking this medication ever since. I think you will find the attachment
    interesting as it cites a trial in 1995 taken from the Lancet. As you are
    aware the active ingredient in Saw Palmetto is beta-sitosterol which when
    combined with quercetin helps prostatitis.
    I am aware that you are promoting saw palmetto products rather that plant
    sterols as such – for obvious reasons, but I thought this would be of
    interest. A “side effect” of plant sterols is that it can lower cholesterol
    levels without the side effects of statins. So I have a double interest in
    taking the product.
    Steroidal contraceptive hormones

    I had a look at male contraception where testosterone (administered to a
    man)suppresses the secretion of luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle
    stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland. This impairs sperm
    production. This is analogous to the oestrogen/progesterone pill for women,
    where GnRH and LH are suppressed by oestrogen and progesterone. Steroid
    hormones are also lipophilic and can be stored in the body fat.

    It appears that another culprit is dairy milk and soya milk. In pregnant
    cows oestrogen/progesterone levels are markedly elevated, and soya milk is
    oestrogenic. Also added to the equation are endocrine disruptive chemicals.

    Therefore, the amount of hormones that a man could ingest through the above
    being in the drinking water plus oestrogen is an antagonist to testosterone
    will produce a low sperm count and low sperm activity leading to an
    inability to fertilise the ovum. Hence the upsurge in IVF treatment..

    Another side effect from the pill is that it is possibly responsible for
    more aggression in young women, and the early onset of puberty in children
    especially girls.


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