Many people all over the world experience the joy of having a child almost every day. As much as a kid brings joy, having one is not always as simple.
Conception is tricky and involves hundreds of processes to take place even before the fusion of the male and the female gamete begins. It all starts with the health of the male gamete and its ability to be able to fuse with the female gamete (egg). For this reason, it is extremely important that these male gametes; or more commonly known as ‘sperms’ are healthy and are produced in big numbers.
Why the health of sperm is important?
The health of sperm generally depends on three main factors; the quantity in which it is produced, its ability to have quick movement, and normal morphology. Abnormality in any of the three factors can lead to problems in conceptions, or sometimes even be a result of infertility.
Physiologically, the normal production of sperms should be about 15 million per mL. The reason why the sperm needs to be agile with its to and fro motion is that it has to work its way all to the site of the egg. This makes the sperm travel all the way up the cervix, the uterus, and then the fallopian tube in order to fuse with the egg and then begin the process of embryogenesis.
The normal morphology of a sperm consists of an oval head and a long tail. It is the tail that is responsible to propel the cell forward and towards the female gamete.
“Hence, fertility is achieved when a person has normal functioning sperms that are produced in great quantity, are mobile, and have the right morphology.”
Hence, fertility is achieved when a person has normal functioning sperms that are produced in great quantity, are mobile, and have the right morphology.
What kind of problems results in infertility?
There are many reasons that can cause infertility in males. There are a few factors that can result in the deterioration of the quality and health of sperms such as increased age, smoking, obesity, hypertension, usage of anabolic steroids, heat, or injury to the testis. Most of these factors once eliminated, can help restore the normal functioning of the sperms.
Apart from these factors, there are also some medical conditions that severely impair the health and production of sperms. This includes problems in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. Problems in these structures result in decreased production of testosterone, which directly affects the production of sperms. Sperm transport disorders, as well as testicular disease, are also some of the reasons to cause problems in conception due to problems in the production of sperms.
Is there any way to improve the production and quality of sperms?
There are many ways, which can help improve the chances of conception and also fix some of the problems that might interfere in the process.
First and foremost is having the right weight. This regards to the person having a body mass index according to his height. The more the BMI, the less the chances of having healthy sperm production. Achieving the right weight can only be done if the person starts on a healthy diet.
It has scientifically been proven that diet containing fish, poultry, whole grains, fruits as well as vegetables are linked with better semen quality in men.
It has also been seen that men who increase the use of anti-oxidants in their diet also have healthier production of sperms which can aid in the process of conception.
Another important yet neglected reason seen to decrease the sperm count in many men is stress. Stress can act as one of the reasons that can interfere in the way of hormones and significantly impact both in the production of sperms as well as it’s quality.
Infertility has also shown to be associated strongly with smoking and drinking alcohol, therefore, if you are a habitual smoker or drinker, it is best to tone those habits as much as you can. These addictive habits not just significantly decrease sperm counts but also are very dangerous for health.
- Healthy sperm: Improving your fertility. (2020, April 25). Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/fertility/art-20047584
- R, F. (n.d.). Sperm Morphology (Shape): Does It Affect Fertility? Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/sperm-morphology-shape-does-it-affect-fertility/
- Louis GM, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney A, Lynch CD, Kim S, Maisog JM, Gore-Langton R, Eisenberg ML, Chen Z. Semen quality and time to pregnancy: the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study. Fertility and sterility. 2014 Feb 1;101(2):453-62.
- Gaskins AJ, Chavarro JE. Diet and fertility: a review. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 2018 Apr 1;218(4):379-89.