Sperm Production – What Men Need to Know About Healthy Sperm

Since sperm production is vital to male fertility and pregnancy, men need to know about healthy sperm. Here’s how male fertility affects pregnancy chances; these fertility tips are from Donald P. Evenson, Ph.D., HCLD, of the American Fertility Association.

First, the good news:

“Some alcohol is beneficial [for healthy sperm]” says Dr Evenson. “Especially dark red wines. So a glass a day may be positive [for sperm production]. However, dark grape juice may be substituted.”

And remember that too much alcohol isn’t good for men’s fertility levels, so stick to a glass of dark red wine a few times a week. It’s always good to check with your doctor first, though. If you’re trying to get pregnant and think you’re not producing sperm, read Overcoming Male Infertility.

And, here are several fascinating fertility tips from Dr Evenson — all related to healthy sperm production, quality, and count.

What Men Need to Know – Healthy Sperm Production

Remember that sperm takes three months to mature

It takes three months from a testicular germ cell to mature into a functional healthy sperm. The most important period is the last month which is likely the most sensitive to insults like hot tubs, cortisone treatments and other medications.

So if you’re doing a sperm test to figure out if male infertility is the reason for not getting pregnant, then make sure you do more than one. Illness and prescription medications can affect sperm production and count, which affects getting pregnant. Unhealthy sperm can result in a long time to get pregnant, more miscarriages, or no pregnancy at all.

Also, age matters: at age 50 there is a 1/3 chance of infertility simply due to age factor and sperm DNA fragmentation.

Some men have a high level of sperm DNA fragmentation

Men with a high level of sperm fragmentation have a higher level of spontaneous miscarriages. Couples with repeated pregnancy losses have fathers with a four times higher level of sperm DNA fragmentation than sperm donors. Sperm DNA fragmentation is simply damaged sperm. So, a man can have a normal sperm count but no luck getting pregnant because the sperm aren’t healthy.

Sperm DNA fragmentation causes problems

Men with a high level of fragmentation should go to a urologist and get examined. Hopefully the urologist won’t find a varicocele exists — it causes extra heat to the testes which isn’t good for sperm integrity. Diet is important — there are foods that improve healthy sperm production. If he isn’t getting enough antioxidants in his food, he might consider a supplementary product for oxidative stress (like the one pictured).

Air pollution could affect sperm production

Dr Evenson’s lab, the EPA and the Czech government studied a valley town that had a high level of industrial pollution– and also had a high number of miscarriages or no pregnancies. In an extensive study, sperm DNA fragmentation was the only factor that was correlated with the high and low levels of air pollution. In other words, pollution affects sperm production and getting pregnant.

Medications affect how men produce sperm

An excellent example of how some medications affect sperm motility was in a study of 45 men, according to Dr Evenson. For seven months, a man had excellent sperm DNA integrity – and one month he was very very poor. In the previous month, he had a back injury and had cortisone injection, which likely caused the poor DNA fragmentation. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, check your partner’s prescription medications!

Some natural supplements increase sperm count and production

Supplementary products, in addition to healthy foods, include “cocktails” put together by physicians and patients. There are several commercial products that increase sperm health. To learn more, read Getting Pregnant Faster – 6 Fertility Boosting Supplements.

Studies show older fathers take a longer time to achieve pregnancy

Recently, Dr Evenson found one of the molecular reasons for this. In a study of 100 men that were all healthy and similar backgrounds, they were divided into decades of age. Men in their 20s have about 5% of their sperm with fragmented DNA. Then going into the 30th year, sperm fragmentation increases, and by the age of 50 the average level is 30% of sperm with fragmented DNA. Older men simply have decreased sperm production, count, and quality – which makes getting pregnant more challenging.

To learn more about sperm production, read What Kills Sperm?

If you’ve recently had a sperm test, you might find What Do My Sperm Test Results Mean? helpful.

Source: American Fertility Association webinar, June 17, 2008.

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7 thoughts on “Sperm Production – What Men Need to Know About Healthy Sperm”

  1. I am staying in hostel,i am having irregular periods inhostel,if i go to home there is regular periods,so due to this i gain more weight, so give suggestion?????

  2. Hi Laurie, I have read many articles, and the subject is much greater than the few comments I have made regarding the difficulties posted by Bala. I have searched the web and read many articles. I have read books, research articles over many years, looked for answers for friends, and I have recently looked into many articles because I am planning to remarry after being a widower for ten years. My future wife needed help with a thyroid difficulty, and that stimulated me to do extensive reading about thyroid problems. There are many things that can be done that can increase the probability of conception and also a healthy pregnancy and healthy child. It is biology. Most people do not know that consuming alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome which is from genetic damage. It can come from mother or father or both. I know a lady who is dislexic and has the facial characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome because her father was an alcoholic. Over 30 years ago I read an article about it and saw pictures of examples, and her face showed the characteristic features. In my life, I have at least tried to do some things in a healthy way, and I have not yet tasted tobacco or had a glass of alcohol in my 66 years, but I would drink about 60 ounces of cola a day at work. I found out by reading medical journals that about 85% of the fibroid tumors in women were associated with caffeine, so I quit drinking caffeinated drinks in 1981. Eleven years later, I was at a social event and picked up a can of cola. I drank half a can and noticed that I had no desire for it and discarded the can. I know a man originally was from Nigeria and was a medical technologist. He told me that where he lived in Nigeria, most women would menopause 5 years later than the average in the USA. But he added that if the women from there came to the USA and ate the usual food here, they menopaused at the same time as the average women in the USA. There are many variables with fertility.

  3. Wow, thanks for all this information, Robert! Where did you get it? I’m tempted to put it all in an article and publish it here, because it could really help other guys with their sperm health. Is this all from your own experience?

  4. Hi Bala, you need to know why there is 0% sperm count. Did a doctor verify that there are no sperm with a microscope, or was it a very low count? Did you have the mumps disease during or after puberty? Please see a medical doctor who specializes in fertility. Are the testes producing sperm but the ducts/tubes carrying the sperm are blocked, thus prohibiting the transfer of the sperm to your wife? Have you ever had a vasectomy and later had a reversal operation? Some reversals are not successful. You did not mention your age or your wife’s age. A doctor can do a test to check if you have a normal testosterone level. If you are overweight, it can change your balance of testosterone in the body. I was recently told that the normal reading of testosterone measurement should be between 8 and 34 (whatever unit it represents). The test revealed that his reading was 9. He went on a 6 month weight reduction diet plus much exercise, and his testosterone level was measured at 34. Exercise will increase testosterone levels. If you can find that there are at least some sperm present in your semen, there are many things that can be done to increase the possibility of conception, including diet, supplements, herbs, compounds, and prescriptions to increase sperm production and/or quality. The Personal Path To Pregnancy by Beth Kiley is an e-book available at http://www.bethkiley.com and is the best book on fertility I have ever seen. There are so many different things that affect the fertility of men and women. The book tells about certain common foods that when a man eats them can make a big difference in sperm production. For example, eating much green peas can reduce sperm production. Cottonseed oil is in many foods and was once considered to be used for a male birth control by China because non-hydrogenated cottonseed oil can reduce sperm production as much as 30%. Read food labels: for example, many potato chips are cooked in hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Hydrogenation is bad for arteries, but is not as bad with male fertility but still is not good. I learned so much in this e-book. There are only 2 personal lubricants that do not kill or block sperm. Even saliva can kill sperm. Residual soap from washing can kill sperm. The one sperm-friendly personal lubricant made in the USA is called Pre-seed; it does not harm sperm, and they can swim through Pre-seed unharmed to go where they need to go. Also, it takes about 90 days for sperm to grow in the testicles, and a hot tub or hot sauna can damage a man’s fertility for as much as 90 days. You need to find a doctor who can tell you what causes the sperm problem for you. Feel free to pray for a miracle, too. Amazing things can happen.

    Regarding your wife’s thyroid problem,you did not say if her thyroid gland was under-active or over-active. Most common is an under-active (hypo-active)thyroid gland. An under-active thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone called thyroxine. This regulates many other adrenal glands and also regulates cellular metabolism and low thyroxine can make it easier to gain weight in many people. Insufficient thyroxine will cause the thyroid gland to enlarge (goiter), and the woman’s menstrual cycles can be irregular and even stop or have only a little period. One woman I know in another country had this problem, and her thyroid gland was enlarging. She went to the doctor, and he prescribed the standard dosage of synthetic thyroxine. It helped her. I asked about her diet, and I determined that her diet in the Philippines did not have much iodine in the foods she was eating. I bought some Tri-iodine (brand name) iodine capsules, and she found that it worked better than the doctors prescription. The doctor never asked about her diet; he only prescribed the synthetic thyroxine. First, she took only the prescription. Then the prescription plus iodine supplement which was better than only the prescription. After that, she quit the prescription entirely because her problem was greatly an iodine deficient diet. Her irregular (even some missed or very short)menstrual periods returned to normal and also the normal times of the month, and her thyroid gland reduced in size to normal (better than with the prescription.) Also, many people who have an under-active thyroid gland are allergic to eating chicken, and when she ran out of iodine capsules, eating chicken caused her thyroid gland to enlarge much faster. Your wife might want to see what happens if she takes an iodine supplement and avoids eating poultry (like chicken). Kelp tablets have some iodine in them, but it is not enough unless she took 12 to 15 kelp tablets once or twice a day. Tri-iodine has 12.5 mg of iodine per capsule. Tri-iodine does make a 40 mg capsule that some take daily. There are other brands available. In the 1920’s, it was noticed that many people had goiter in the USA. The government required that most table salt have an iodide (potassium iodide) added to the salt. This stopped most people from developing goiter, and it ceased to be a common problem. If you are vegetarians, there is one brand of prescription thyroid medicine (for hypothyroid) that is made from plants.

  5. Hi Bala,

    I’m sorry to hear that your sperm count is affecting your attempts to get pregnant. I can’t offer any advice or solutions here, but I do encourage you to talk to your doctor or naturopath about ways to increase male fertility.

    Please don’t take advice from the internet – the only place to get good advice about male fertility is from your own doctor, after a physical check up and tests!


  6. DEAR SIR,