Often at Fertility Solutions Sunshine Coast or Bundaberg, our staff’s focus is on the female and her cycle, but what about the BOYS? In this article, let’s focus the attention on fertility treatment for MEN and how they contribute to the fertility picture!
What is a Semen Analysis?
Males account for approximately 40% of all couples having difficulties conceiving. A semen analysis is a non-invasive test that your GP or specialist can request. The test assesses male fertility and measures the key parameters of semen known to impact fertility. If you have had a semen analysis you may like to compare your results with normal ranges as stipulated by WHO (click here to access the semen analysis comparison table).
When results are outside the normal ranges, the following terms are used to describe the findings:
- Asthenozoospermia – reduced number of motile sperm
- Azoospermia – no sperm present in the ejaculate
- Oligospermia – reduced number of sperm in the sample
- Teratozoospermia – reduced number of normal shaped sperm
Sperm DNA Fragmentation
Although a semen analysis is thorough and a scientists will study the external features of your sperm. The analysis does not necessarily take into account any problems inside the sperm. These problems could relate to the integrity of the DNA itself. (DNA is the component within the chromosomes that carries the genetic information).
Although DNA damage or fragmentation can be linked with poor semen parameters, approximately 8% of patients with DNA fragmentation can return a normal conventional semen analysis result. While this is not a large group of men, for some patients it could have a real and negative impact on their fertility potential. Fertility treatment for men can sometimes involve further testing to identify any issues inside the sperm.
If your Fertility Doctor feels this may be a concern, they will discuss further tests with you.
Click here to read more about Sperm DNA Fragmentation.
How can I Improve My Sperm Health?
No man wants to hear that he has a “low sperm count”, that he has “slow swimmers” or “irregular shaped” sperm. But it happens. However, it does not necessarily mean that you will never get your partner pregnant. There are many ways that you can improve your sperm count and their motility on your own. Some options include: staying healthy, not smoking, watching your alcohol intake, decreasing your stress levels, not getting overheated and watching out for environmental threats.
Click here to read our Top Six Tips on how to improve sperm count and motility.
The Good News!
New sperm are produced, on average, every 3 months. If you have lived a not-so-healthy lifestyle, there is good news. Generally, any potential damage caused by lifestyle factors (poor food choices, drinking excessive alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs) can be reversed.
However, it can take up to a year to see a difference in your sperm quality. So, it’s best to start early with lifestyle changes in order to have a positive impact on your reproductive health.
How Often Should I Ejaculate?
There is a common misconception that if you “save it up” and don’t ejaculate regularly, then you will have more sperm and, therefore, a better chance at fertilisation. This is definitely not the case. If you do this, you are in fact hindering your chance. The ‘saved’ sperm will have been exposed to the oxidative stresses of the body longer. As a result, it will have a higher amount of DNA damage.
It is far better to ejaculate every 2-3 days. This will promote good sperm health and DNA integrity.
Helping our male patients with their fertility concerns is one of our key goals. We aim to help our male patients realise their goals of starting a family. We do this in an educated, private and supportive environment.