Let the boys out – woof, woof
Fertility experts, typically advise a little abstinence for a few days, before an attempt to conceive, whether it be natural or through the help of assisted reproduction.
Intuitively the advice makes lots of sense.
Getting pregnant boils down to a numbers game – the more sperm leaving the starting block, the better the odds one of them will reach the beautiful princess in the tower …….
And, make magic.
But, getting there requires speed and form , something that is often missing in those struggling with infertility.
Sedentary living is creating sperm spuds, not studs
You wouldn’t consider running a marathon without a little training, but this is effectively what you’re asking your little guys to do. Sperm are swimming the race of their lives. It takes stamina and strength (and a good sense of direction ), to reach the egg princess at all, never mind be there first.
Modern day sperm seem to be struggling. Study after study, suggests that sperm quality is declining, contributing to fertility woes , for more and more couples.
If you’re a couch potato, so are your sperm.
Now to be fair – it is tough out there. Dangerous chemicals and things, lurk round every corner. Sperm are vulnerable. But, research from the University of Cordoba, suggests one of the things contributing to dud sperm, is sedentary living.
It seems if you’re spending too much time on the couch, by association, so are your sperm. And sperm that are lounging around on the couch are spuds, not studs.
Soy foods shooting down the little guys
Among the goodies packaged into the tiny yellow bean, which has become a staple of the modern diet, are a group of compounds collectively known as the isoflavones.
The family of plant-derived compounds includes daidzein, genistein and glycitein. They sound pretty healthy and are considered to be flavanoids, which exhibit anti-oxidant properties, but they also show structural similarities to the female hormone, estrogen. The chemical similarity means they can bind to human estrogen receptors and illicit oestrogenic effects.
Animal studies have linked high consumption of isoflavones with infertility in animals. Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health think these plant estrogens, known as phytoestrogens are knocking out human sperm too.
Vitamin D whips sperm into speed demons
For a sperm, it is a long and arduous swim through the cervix, to the top of the uterus and down the fallopian tube to claim the prize. The distance may seem small when measured with a ruler, but when you’re microscopic in size – a few centimetres is the equivalent of a marathon.
Only the strong make it to the finish line.
There is only one winner. The competition is fierce – a billion or more typically line up at the start gate. The sperm that reaches the egg first, drills into the thick wall and caboom fuses with the nucleus of the egg to create a zygote . A brand new, unique individual carrying the genetic package.
There is no silver medal in the sperm race. It’s first or nothing. But lots of men are producing sperm that are in such poor shape they can’t go the distance to claim the prize.
Your laptop might be roasting your future kids
Laptops produce quite a bit of heat, so if you’re in the habit of using your laptop on your lap, you’re potentially overheating the sperm factory.
Keeping the nether regions cool is important, this is why the testicles are “outside” of the body – the sertoli cells which make the sperm prefer a slightly cooler temperature. Normal body temperature is a tad too hot at 37°C.
Raising the temperature of the testicles, decreases the number of sperm produced (sperm count) and the sperm that are produced, are typically poor swimmers. Meagre sperm production can mean trouble fathering kids down the line.
Are your sperm leaving the station unarmed ?
Anything that is sleek and pointy is going to move better, including sperm. To make a sperm that is sleek and pointy, requires an omega-3 fatty acid.
The basic blueprint of a sperm is simple. A sperm is made up of three bits – the head, the mid-piece and a tail.