Ladies, the data is finally out about the quality of men’s sperm. The truth is male factor infertility is on the rise, and the quality of men’s sperm is on the decline. In 2010, the World Health Organisation (WHO) changed the parameters measuring the health of men’s sperm. Suddenly, some men were not considered as fertile as they once thought.
But before we get into it, just a friendly warning – things are about to get real! We’re about to dive into the nitty gritty of all things men, women and fertility. So buckle up!
To begin, lets look at the difference between semen and sperm. Sperm are teeny tiny sex cells that can only be seen under a microscope. Semen is the thick fluid that the sperm live in.
Today, Infertility is just as much as a man’s issue as women, with up to 40% of in fertility being traced to men, which is a huge statistic.
Research shows that poor eating habits and regular consumption of alcohol, for instance, can lower the quality and quantity of sperm, making conception more difficult. Eating healthily will not only boosts your sperm quality and quantity, it will also help increases your chances of conceiving a healthy child.
According to Chinese medicine theory, reproductive health is the result of your body being in correct balance. Stress, poor lifestyle, inadequate diet and other factors can disturb natural balance. This results in poor health including impaired semen quality and quantity. It takes 70 days for your body to create and mature sperm. A healthy diet and lifestyle can increase sperm production, increase the percentage of healthy sperm, and improve sperm movement.
Rejoice ladies – it doesn’t all just fall on you! It takes two to tango to make a baby, so you need to make sure your partner’s sperm can perform its healthy action of fertilising an egg when the time comes.
In 2010, the World Health Organization published and revised their reference values for semen analysis. In fact they lowered their reference values, determining that the quality of men’s sperm is decreasing. What’s more concerning is the value for determining sperm morphology has changed rather substantially. This is definitely not a good thing when it comes to fertilising an egg!
It takes around 70 days for sperm to develop. The good news is that men are constantly producing new sperm. The bad news is that because of the long development and maturation time of sperm cells, events in a man’s life such as binge drinking, can have a far-reaching effect on the quality of his sperm. To be realistic, you need to give yourself three months of clean living to produce what I call “healthy or improved sperm”.
What happens in the testes is really quite amazing. Men produce individual sperm from a cell called spermatogonium. The spermatogonium then divides to produce spermatocytes, which then develop into spermatids. The next process is really important when it comes to having good swimmers! Take note.
The spermatids then develop their tail and gradually acquire the ability to move by beating their tails. The spermatid then eventually develops into mature spermatozoa, otherwise known as sperm. This maturation process takes a whopping 60 days, and the sperm another 10-14 days to pass through the ducts of each testicle and sperm-maturing tube, before it can leave the body during ejaculation. You can see just how long it takes for new sperm to produce. It is a lengthy process, almost 3 months in fact!
The following diet and lifestyle habits may help with male infertility:
- Losing excess weight – weight loss can increase testosterone, energy and vitality
- Eat a well-balanced, anti-inflammatory fertility diet to ensure maximum intake of minerals
- Choose organic foods and chemical free personal hygiene and cleaning products.
- Eliminate caffeine and alcohol
- Eat foods high in natural health fats and nutrient dense help promote male fertility
- Take good quality supplements
Several studies show that even short-term zinc deficiencies can reduce semen volume and testosterone levels. Other studies suggest that men with low levels of folate have lower sperm counts. Calcium and Vitamin D play a role as well. The addition of essential fatty acids and Coenzyme Q10 will help with energy production, blood flow and control inflammation that can interfere with sperm motility. L-Carnitine is a necessary nutrient for sperm cells to function normally. In studies – supplementing with L-Carnitine helps to normalise sperm motility in men with low sperm quality.
Regardless of the source of infertility, it is important for both partners to support each other in the fertility process. The fertility diet is a healthy diet that supports energy, vitality, longevity, health promotion and disease prevention.
*please always seek medical advice if you are concerned about infertility.
SHARE your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Main image source: Shutterstock