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There is a lot of argument about how to improve a man’s sperm. There are even more reasons why a man’s sperm goes wrong in the first place. Many men that do have sperm problems do not want to do anything about it. If you or your partner has poor sperm, then you need to fix it! Hoping that IVF will solve your problems is not the smart way to go about it. We are going to look at simple ways to improve sperm and how to avoid the things that can harm them.
Taking care of your sperm
Dramatic drops in the average man’s sperm count since 1940 has been recorded by science. In 1940 133 million sperm was normal, by 1990 66 million was the average, and by 2011 the average is 32 million. Up to 20% of all males have less than 20 million sperm, which is not enough to fertilize an egg.
With infertility on the rise, it is essential for men to make sure their sperm is of good quality.
Techniques of IVF and ICSI have given hope and children to many couples with low sperm quality. But it has also created a rise in reproductive problems of boys born through it. Studies have shown that ICSI can create many problems for the unborn boys of IVF couples. This is because doctors cannot tell how good a sperm really is when the inseminate it. Defects in the sperm selected are passed onto the child.
Amazingly, the egg can actually fix problems with a defective sperm before it starts to mix and evolve. If the egg fails to do this, then it may not go on to develop and fail. If the egg fails to fix the problems with the sperm’s DNA but goes onto developing further, then the problem can arise.
- IVF and IVF/ICSI increase the risk of congenital abnormalities of hypospadias and cryptorchidism. Hypospadias is where the urethra does not exit the head of the penis as it should. Cryptorchidism or ‘hidden testicle’ is where one or both testes are missing at birth.
- The is also an increased risk of endocrine abnormalities, autism, and mental retardation.
- Below average sperm count in boys born through ICSI is common.
- Birth defects of children born through IVF are about 10%, but only 3.3% in the natural world.
Why do these problems arise with ICSI and not in the real world?
A natural selection process goes on with the sperm and the egg. Why an egg will pick one sperm over hundreds or thousands of others is still a mystery. The process of natural selection stops when a doctor chooses a particular sperm over another. Much like arranged marriages can be a disaster, selecting the wrong sperm for ICSI can be the same. This doesn’t mean that ICSI is bad science or bad for your child. But it is good to understand it in more depth, and the risks associated with it.
What is the smart way to fertilize an egg using IVF?
Let natural selection go on inside the petri dish. Put an egg and a sperm sample together and see if they work it out. If not then it was always going to be a dud. If so, you’ve likely got the right match. If sperm quality is so bad it is unlikely to fertilize an egg under these circumstances, you need help before thinking ICSI.
ICSI may not be the right answer.
Having good quality sperm is clearly the way to go.
All parents want to give their children the best chance in life once they are born. What about before they are born? Your genetic makeup, egg and sperm health and overall health at the time of conception all go into what will eventually become your child. Why start your child off at a disadvantage with poor sperm?
How to fix sperm through diet and lifestyle.
Oxidative stress is a leading contributor to harming sperm growth. Reactive Oxidative Samples (ROS) are the part that your body’s natural antioxidants keep in balance. An excess of ROS in a man’s body harm every aspect of sperm quality and production.
ROS (or Free Radicals) is where harmful oxidative atoms cannibalize healthy atoms to balance their shield of electrons. Imaging it is like someone stealing the walls of your house to fix their own. These harmful atoms destroy your good ones. The more ROS, the more damage that gets done.
This goes on inside everyone all the time, some more than others. The launch and highlight of ‘antioxidants’ in the mainstream media is a result of this understanding.
Good antioxidants for sperm.
Vitamin E provides missing electrons for ROS making them whole and complete. It helps improve your own antioxidant functions and preserves sperm motility and morphology.
One ounce or 30 grams of almonds or hazelnuts, pine nuts or peanuts or a dish with Salmon, avocado and red pepper will give you your daily requirements.
Vitamin C has a similar but weaker effect as Vitamin E. Vitamin C protects the fluid around the sperm. This helps preserve sperm motility and production.
Strawberries, oranges, lemons, lychees, papaya, and black currants are fruits rich in Vitamin C. Kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts are less tasty but just as effective. You don’t need to eat all them every day, but spreading them through the diet during the week is fine.
Carnitine from meat is an excellent anti-oxidant. It protects the sperm DNA and membranes from oxidative damage and maintains the sperm motility and viability. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is likely you have a cartinine deficiency, as this does not show up in decent quantities in a vegetarian diet. A cartinine supplement, or lots of tempeh (a fermented and press soybean cake) is necessary.
Vitamin D3 that you get for the sun is absolutely necessary for healthy sperm production. If you work 9 to 5 and don’t get out in the sun much, have your levels tested! 15 minutes walk outside with your sleeves up at lunchtime is all you are likely to need.
Things to avoid when you have bed sperm.
Chemicals in tobacco cause an imbalance between ROS and antioxidants in the semen of smokers. This ROS and antioxidant disproportion affect overall semen quality. Smoking has been shown to result in a 48% increase in seminal leukocyte concentrations and a 107% increase in seminal ROS levels.
Smokers have decreased levels of vitamin E and vitamin C, increasing oxidative damage. Smoking increases sperm DNA damage and apoptosis (the natural death of cells), leading to increased male infertility.
Alcohol promotes ROS production. It interferes with the body’s antioxidant defence mechanism in the liver. This doesn’t mean no alcohol, just don’t drink too much, please.
Such as Phthalates. These are chemicals added to plastics to make them more robust and more flexible. They are in more things than you could imagine: think plastic, cosmetics, shampoo and skin cream. Phthalates have been found to impair spermatogenesis and induce sperm DNA damage. You can be tested for Phthalate build up, or you can eat cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, and kale regularly to detoxify yourself of them.
People who were regularly exposed to toxins in the form of metals such as cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and mercury were also more likely to have decreased sperm quality, count, volume, and density.
Diet and lifestyle changes are essential.
Continued use and exposure to elements that harm sperm should be minimized. Using supplements can be helpful. Please make sure that the supplements you are taking have been proven to work on people. Many products on the market are a result of mixing together vitamins and minerals that have independently worked on mice in the lab, but rarely collectively tested to see if they work on people. “What is good for the mouse, must be good for the population, no need to look further” so the science goes.
The MenOvance range is an excellent way to increase all parameters of sperm health, including sperm motility, within 3 – 6 months.
The most important thing to remember is that sperm qualities can easily be improved. Because there are no pharmaceutical drugs to improve sperm doesn’t mean nothing else will work. Quite the contrary.