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.
Sperm DNA damage multiplies
There are several parameters that can be used to assess sperm quality, the level of DNA damage can be measured using a DNA Fragmentation index (DFI).
Dr Greening and his team, measured the DFI levels in men attending a fertility clinic in Sydney. Men who had DFI levels of 15 % or more, were then invited to participate in the study.
118 men were included in the study. The DFI levels of the participants, ranged from 15 % to 98 % (ouch). The average DFI was 34 % i.e. the sperm were considered to be poor.
The men were instructed to live life as usual…….. but they needed to make whoopee (ejaculate), everyday for the next week.
At the end of the week, they returned to the clinic and sperm quality was re-assessed.
And……….. DNA damage was down.
Better quality sperm
Individuals showed different levels of benefit, but the majority showed a drop in the level of damaged sperm. The average DFI dropped to 26 %.
This drop was enough to change the classification of sperm quality. Some moved from poor to fair (poor is below 29 %), some from fair to good (good is between 15 and 24 %) and a few went from good, to great. From a scientific perspective, the change in numbers was considered to be significant i.e. there was a real improvement.
On the negative side…….. the volume of semen and the number of sperm did decline.
But …….. the sperm leaving the station, were more capable of winning the race.
Boys will be boys
When it comes to conception, it actually only takes one sperm to “rescue” the egg. So sperm quality is critical too.
But, this research suggests abstaining from sex, can have unexpected consequences on sperm quality.
The trouble arises because……………boys will be boys.
Okay, it might not be the sperm damaging each other, the team speculate the benefit comes from the fact that the sperm end up spending less time in the testicular ducts and epididymis, so they are not exposed to quite as many reactive oxygen species. These are the bad guys, which when in excess cause damage.
Time to let the boys out
Trying to get the timing just “right”, puts stress on more than just the humans involved, it stresses out the sperm.
So don’t be afraid to let the boys out during ovulation week.
And if you’re getting a little assistance from science, practice a little at home, before the big day………… it will improve the quality of your boys. And this is important, because damaged sperm don’t make good Dads.
|Sedentary living is creating sperm spuds, not studs||Is too much sugar to blame for the rise in infertility ?||Soy foods shooting down the little guys|
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