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Semen Quality and Male Fertility

For the dream of having a baby, the couple must be sure of their reproductive health. This includes the fertility of both the male and female partners. If we specifically discuss male fertility, the most important factors are sperm quality, quantity, motility and structure. About one out of six couples are suffering from infertility, and around half of the cases are due to male infertility alone. This blog will discuss sperm quality and its effect on male fertility.

What does a good quality sperm mean?

The following characteristics define a healthy quality sperm: 

  • Quantity of sperm in the ejaculate: In the semen discharged during a single ejaculation, there should be at least 15 million sperm per millilitre. If the quantity of sperm is too low, pregnancy chances reduce since fewer candidates are available to fertilize the egg.
  • Movement / Motility of the sperm: The sperm should wriggle and swim through a woman’s cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes to fertilise an egg. The ability to swim to perform this action is known as motility. For better chances of pregnancy, at least 40% of your sperm should be motile.
  • Structure/morphology of the sperm: A healthy sperm has an oval-shaped head and a long tail, and both of them together propel the sperm. The sperm has a cap that covers 40% to 70% of its head. The head has no droplets of fluid bigger than half of its size. If the number of sperm with this normal shape and structure is more, then the chances of pregnancy are higher. 

What are the causes of the reduction in the quality of sperm?

Sperm quality reduction is a combination of medical, environmental and lifestyle factors. 

  • Medical Causes for poor sperm quality
  • If there is an issue with the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, which are the parts of the brain that signal the testicles to produce testosterone and sperm
    • Testicular diseases
    • Sperm transport disorders
    • Medicines such as Calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, Anabolic steroids, and anti-androgens contribute to fertility issues.
    • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer can permanently impair your infertility, which might be permanent.
  • Lifestyle causes lower sperm quality.
    • As age increases, sperm motility reduces. The size also reduces, especially after age 50.
    • Addiction to smoking reduces or lowers the sperm count.
    • Excess alcohol reduces testosterone and sperm production and enhances impotence.
    • Artificial chemical based lubricants can cause infertility. If necessary, it is advised to use baby oil, canola oil, egg white or a fertility-friendly lubricant.
    • Tight clothes and excess scrotal temperatures hamper sperm production. 
  • Environmental factors that reduce sperm quality – Toxic work environments with heavy exposure to pesticides, harmful chemicals, lead, and radioactive materials affect sperm quantity and quality. 

How to improve/preserve sperm quality? 

Following are a few simple and easy steps to increase your chances of producing high-quality, healthy sperm. 

  • Maintain a healthy BMI(Body Mass Index) – Out of the many ill effects of obesity, sperm count reduction and low motility are one of the main ones affecting fertility. If your BMI is higher than normal, make sure you discuss it with your fertility medical professional and take the necessary steps to achieve optimum BMI. Regular exercise promotes higher testosterone levels and better semen quality than inactive men.
  • Healthy and well-balanced diet – Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants.
  • Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – Sexually transmitted infections — such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea lead to infertility. Hence, limiting your number of sexual partners and using a condom each time you have sex is advised.
  • Avoid stress – Join a yoga class, or start practicing meditation to reduce stress and anxiety. Manage stress. Stress can decrease sexual function and interfere with the hormones needed to produce sperm.
  • Reduce alcohol intake, smoking and any other drugs.
  • While working with toxins, wear protective clothing and equipment, and avoid skin contact with chemicals.
  • When you are planning to have a baby wear loose-fitting underwear, avoid saunas and hot tubs, and limit the exposure of scrotum exposure, such as a laptop.
  • If you have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation, talk to your doctor and store your sperm. 

To improve sperm quality, the key element is your lifestyle. Adopt healthy lifestyle practices and bid goodbye that can damage it. Even after a year of unprotected sex, If you and your partner haven’t gotten pregnant, you might consider being evaluated for infertility. We at ZIVA fertility centers – consider all aspects before determining the causes of infertility. We not only recommend medication but will also suggest relevant lifestyle changes. Reach us today at +91-9100002737, +91-9392834024, or Visit our website to know more.