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Making Movember Matter: Exploring the Importance of Sperm Quality


Almost one-third of infertility cases are related to a man’s health, and are specifically sperm-related, while others occur due to a combination of both male and female issues. For this reason it is crucial to assess sperm health before attempting to conceive. For couples, or men, experiencing fertility issues, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a fertility specialist. They can suggest tests and screenings to identify specific factors affecting fertility and provide personalized recommendations for treatment or lifestyle changes.

The quality of sperm also plays a crucial role in the success of the infertility treatments prescribed. In the context of assisted reproductive technologies such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), focusing on improving sperm quality becomes paramount. The effectiveness of these treatments is closely tied to the health and quality of, not only the the egg but also the sperm involved.

Enhancing sperm quality can positively impact the outcomes of infertility treatments in several ways:

Increased fertilization rates: High-quality sperm is more likely to successfully fertilize an egg during IVF or ICSI procedures, leading to the formation of a healthy embryo.

Improved embryo development: Quality sperm contributes to the development of a strong and healthy embryo. This, in turn, enhances the chances of successful implantation in the uterus during infertility treatments.

Reduced risk of miscarriage: Using high-quality sperm in assisted reproductive procedures may decrease the risk of miscarriage. Healthy sperm can contribute to the formation of a more resilient embryo, reducing the likelihood of pregnancy complications.

Enhanced pregnancy rates: Couples undergoing infertility treatments are more likely to achieve a successful pregnancy when the sperm used is of optimal quality. This can lead to higher success rates in terms of achieving a viable pregnancy.

How to improve sperm quality?

Improving sperm quality involves a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and overall health practices. Here are some strategies that may help enhance sperm quality and male fertility overall:

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can negatively impact male fertility by increasing testosterone levels. Elevated testosterone levels may reduce libido and weaken sperm. Exercise and weight loss are effective strategies to counteract these effects.

Follow a healthy diet: Consume a balanced and nutritious diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

  • Prioritize a diet rich in fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains over red meat, processed products, sweets, and fast foods.
  • Boost your Vitamin B12: Found in cabbage, liver, milk, eggs, fish, and poultry, Vitamin B12 is crucial for sperm production. Adequate levels can protect sperm from inflammation and free radicals, boosting sperm count and motility.
  • Boost your Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, bell peppers, and tomatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps increase the number of active and healthy sperm.
  • Boost your Vitamin D: Essential for sperm nucleus formation, vitamin D is found in fortified dairy products, fatty fish like salmon, and cod liver oil. Maintaining sufficient levels supports sperm quality and motility.
  • Boost your Vitamin E: Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, kiwi, tomatoes, mustard, whole wheat, and olives are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant crucial for maintaining sperm membrane health.
  • Boost your Selenium: Wheat bran, nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts), whole grains, sunflower seeds, fish, and sesame provide selenium, aiding sperm in fighting free radicals and improving motility.
  • Boost your Zinc: Essential for the outer membrane and tail formation of sperm, zinc protects sperm DNA and prevents defects. Fish, red meat, poultry, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds are good sources.
  • Boost your Coenzyme Q10: Found in peanuts, pistachios, soybeans, walnuts, hazelnuts, apples, broccoli, carrots, corn, flaxseed, barley, potatoes, and salmon, coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that significantly enhances sperm quality.
  • Replace Unsaturated Fats: Opt for unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 over saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. These fats are vital for sperm membrane growth and can increase sperm count.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Steer clear of soy, processed foods, canned foods, and packaged foods. Soy contains phytoestrogens that can disrupt testosterone binding, and processed foods may contain synthetic estrogen, impacting male fertility.

Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, as it can help improve overall health, including sperm health. However, excessive and intense exercise may have adverse effects, so moderation is key.

Regular exercise triggers the release of endorphins and increases blood flow. These physiological responses can positively influence sexual desire in men, contributing to improved fertility.

Engaging in light aerobic exercises, such as walking and swimming, is particularly effective for enhancing male fertility. Scientific studies have demonstrated that regular exercise can increase both the quantity and motility of sperm while improving their normal shape.

While exercise is beneficial, it’s important to note that strenuous physical activities, especially cycling, running, and mountaineering, may lead to hormonal changes that could potentially reduce sperm quality.

Get sufficient sleep: Lack of sleep can interfere with reproductive hormone production. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support overall health, including fertility.

Stay hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial for overall health, including sperm production. Dehydration can affect sperm concentration and motility.

Engage in regular sexual activity: Regular ejaculation helps maintain sperm quality. However, excessive abstinence may lead to a decrease in sperm quality. Finding a balance is key.

Manage stress: Chronic stress can negatively impact sperm quality. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness or other relaxation methods.

Avoid caffeine: Research suggests that the caffeine found in soft drinks can be associated with sperm DNA damage. This damage can have implications for sperm quality and overall reproductive success. High caffeine intake has also been linked to a reduction in sperm count. Managing and moderating caffeine consumption is advisable for men aiming to maintain optimal sperm production (recommended limit: not more than three cups of caffeinated beverages per day. This includes coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soft drinks). *It’s worth noting that individual responses to caffeine can vary. Some individuals may be more sensitive to its effects, while others may tolerate higher levels without noticeable impact on sperm health.

Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drugs: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and the use of recreational drugs harms overall health and can also harm sperm quality. Quitting or reducing these substances can positively impact fertility.

Limit exposure to toxins: Minimize exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals, including pesticides, heavy metals, and industrial pollutants. These can interfere with the production of certain hormones in the body and thus hurt the health of the reproductive system.

These chemicals and contaminants can be present in the workplace, in the air, and even in some personal care products. Scientific research shows that men who are exposed to chemicals and toxins produce fewer sperm and lower sperm quality. Therefore, it is recommended that men avoid exposure to contaminants and toxins as much as possible. Some of the chemicals that interfere with the production of hormones are:

  • Mercury vapor
  • Lead
  • Styrene
  • Acetone

Most of these chemicals are found in industrial factories. But some of them are also found in soaps, detergents, and plastic containers. Therefore, when buying these products, you should pay attention to their ingredients and avoid buying products that contain these chemicals.

Avoid excessive heat: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, such as in hot tubs or saunas, can temporarily reduce sperm production. The testicles are sensitive to temperature, and it’s crucial to keep them below body temperature for proper sperm production and maturation.

  • No tight underwear: Wearing loose underwear is recommended to prevent an increase in testicular temperature. Research indicates that men who wear loose underwear tend to produce more and higher-quality sperm compared to those who wear tight underwear.
  • Consider work environment: Men working in hot environments, such as laundry or bakery settings, are at risk of elevated testicular temperature, which can adversely affect sperm quality. Choosing appropriate clothing in such environments is important for reproductive health.
  • Be mindful of prolonged sitting: Extended periods of sitting, especially in jobs that require it, can also contribute to increased testicular temperature. Taking breaks, standing, and choosing loose-fitting clothing can help mitigate the impact on sperm health.
  • Avoid laptop placement on abdomen or legs: Placing a laptop on the abdomen or legs can raise the temperature of the testicles, potentially affecting sperm quality. It’s advisable to use a desk or table for laptops to prevent overheating.

Stop taking certain medications: Men who want to boost their sperm are advised to be careful in taking medications. Drugs that may temporarily reduce the production and growth of healthy sperm include:

  • Some antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-androgens
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anaerobic steroids (may affect sperm count for up to one year after stopping the drug)
  • Exogenous testosterone
  • Methadone
  • Antidepressants


oto mekhashishvili