Studies and More Information
Male Fertility and Sperm Count: A Numbers Game
We all know that only one sperm is needed to fertilize an egg. So, when you consider that even the semen of men with low sperm counts contains millions of sperm, you might be asking: What is the big deal about my sperm count? Here’s where conception comes down to numbers. A man normally delivers 200-500 million sperm per ejaculation. However, many sperm die immediately upon ejaculation. And, for the sperm that survive ejaculation, it is a long, arduous journey through the female reproductive organs to find the newly released egg. Of the nearly 500 million sperm that are released during ejaculation, only a maximum of 200 sperm ever reach the egg to even have a shot at fertilization. So, the more sperm you have to start with, the greater the chance you have that one sperm will find its way to the egg.
The production of sperm occurs in the testicles, the oval-shaped organs that are enclosed in the scrotum. Like the egg cell, a sperm cell contains only 23 chromosomes. When fertilization occurs, the egg cell and sperm cell combine to make a new cell with 46 chromosomes, in 23 pairs. This fertilized egg, called the zygote, multiplies rapidly to create the fetus. Each sperm cell has a head, a body, and a tail. The tail makes a strong, swimming motion that moves the sperm through the female reproductive system.
When ejaculation occurs during intercourse, sperm are deposited near the entrance of the cervix. After ejaculation, sperm have a lifespan of only a few days, so they must move quickly through the female reproductive system in order to meet the egg. To do so, the sperm work together, as the collective swimming action of all of the sperm helps them move more quickly. The more sperm that are present, the more forceful this swimming action is, and the more likely it is that at least some sperm will reach the Fallopian tubes.
Having a sufficient amount of healthy, motile sperm is necessary for conception. If you and your partner are trying to conceive, determining your sperm count using SpermCheck Fertility is an important first step in evaluating your fertility status. But, remember a low sperm count test result from the SpermCheck Fertility test does not mean you are destined to be childless. Fortunately, making some lifestyle changes can go a long way in improving your fertility status. Following are several suggestions for enhancing both the quantity and quality of your sperm:
- Stop smoking cigarettes and using chewing tobacco. Nicotine has been shown to decrease sperm count and sperm motility. Smoking also uses up valuable stores of antioxidant vitamins, like Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are crucial for sperm health.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being either underweight or overweight can decrease your fertility. Carrying too much weight impacts your hormone balance, and too little weight causes decreased sperm count and sperm functionality.
- Exercise in moderation: Too much exercise can reduce testosterone levels, which impacts the production of sperm.
- Stay away from steroids: Anabolic steroid use can cause testicular shrinkage, which reduces sperm count.
- Supplement your diet with key nutrients: Let’s face it . . .most of us don’t eat as healthfully as we know we should. Scientific research has shown that several nutrients, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and L-carnitine are crucial for sperm health. Ensure that you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, and consider supplementing with FertilAid for Men, Count Boost for Men, and Motility Boost for Men.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol: Too much alcohol decreases the quantity and quality of sperm.
- Avoid exposure to environmental toxins, including pesticides and heavy metals: Studies have shown that agricultural workers, and workers exposed to heavy metals, have a higher incidence of infertility compared with men who are not exposed daily to environmental toxins.
- Practice safe sex: Sexually transmitted diseases decrease male fertility
- Stay calm: Stress has detrimental effects on many aspects of health, including fertility.
The following is a selection of published articles supporting the accuracy of SpermCheck Fertility:
- Coppola MA, Klotz KL, Kim K-a, Cho HY, Kang J, Shetty J. Howards SS, Flickinger CJ, and Herr JC. SpermCheck Fertility, an immunodiagnostic home test that detects normozoospermia and severe oligozoospermia. Hum Reprod 2010; 00: 1-9.
- Bjorndahl L,Kirkman-Brown J, Hart G, Rattle S, Barratt CL. Development of a novel home sperm test. Hum Reprod 2006; 21:145-149.
- Herr JC, Flickinger CJ, Homyk M, Lotz K, John E. Biotchemical and morphological characterization of the intra-acrosomal antigen SP-10 from human sperm. Biol Reprod 1990; 42:181-193
- Kurth BE, Klotz K, Flickinger CJ, Herr JC. Localization of sperm antigen SP-10 during the six stages of the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium in man. Biol Reprod 1991; 44:814-821.
- Kurth BE, Wright RM, Flickinger CH, Herr JC. Stage-specific detection of mRNA for the sperm antigen SP-10 in human testes. Anat Rec 1993; 236:619-625.
- Mankveld R, Wong WY, Lombard CJ, Wetzels AM, Thomas CM, Merkus HM, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Semen parameters, including WHO and strict criteria morphology, in a fertile and subfertile population; an effort towards standardization of in-vivo thresholds. Hum Reprod 2001; 16:1165-1171