WHAT MEN CAN DO TO OPTIMISE THEIR SPERM SAMPLES PRIOR TO GIVING SPERM FOR AN ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE ATTEMPT (INCLUDES INSEMINATION, IVF OR ICSI )
MALE FACTOR FOUND IN 70% OF INFERTILE COUPLES
Disease processes, ageing and lifestyle issues can affect sperm quality, leading to decreased fertility. The maturation process for sperm takes at least 3 months so any form of corrective action will take 3 months to be effective.
Sperm is essentially made of 2 components – the sperm cells made in the testis and the fluid component made in the various sites along the male reproductive tract including the prostate and seminal vesicles. During ejaculation, the 2 are brought together, The seminal plasma is essential for the transport and health of the sperm cells.
DNA FRAGMENTATION TESTING
The level of sperm DNA fragmentation is thought to be a measure of oxidative damage of sperm. Increased levels Currently of oxidative damage may lead to impaired fertility, abnormal embryo development and implantation and decreased pregnancy rates among other things. Currenlty the presence of reduced morphology is thought to reflect DNA fragmentation and reduced male fertility.
There are many factors capable of inducing DNA damage in sperm (almost 50). The most important include: smoking, alcohol diabetes, infection, excessive physical exertion, varicocoele, drugs, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and other forms of radiation, heavy metals and chemicals. DNA fragmentation testing is expensive and at best a research tool, so why not begin following lifestyle changes, as it will not cost you anything and save you money.
POSITIVE LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO IMPROVE SPERM TIMING
On an average, it may takes 3 months to start seeing an effect, and so lifestyle changes should be continued until a healthy conception is achieved.
ANTIOXIDANTS (e.g. Menovit)- ( little value).
Even moderate alcohol consumption has a major effect on fertility. Its mechanism of action is not fully understood Alcohol can reduce the outcome of IVF live birth rate. There is no safe limit so alcohol should be avoided. Combining alcohol and smoking compounds their negative effects as do combining other negative factors.
SMOKING Must stop.
FREQUENCY OF EJACULATION
Whether you are attempting normal conception or providing a sperm sample for insemination or IVF, you should ideally not ejaculation for more than 2-3 days. Longer periods of abstinence decrease sperm quality
Regular exercise is beneficial for your general health and an effective means of dealing with stress. Excessive exercise can affect the hormonal control of sperm production.
Exposure to water greater than or equal to 40 degrees centigrade may lower your sperm count. Saunas and steam rooms should be avoided.
Tight synthetic underwear and cycling shorts may have an effect. So if possible, choose cotton and loose fitting so that your testes are not firmly held against the body.
Maintain a healthy body mass. Fat tissue is metabolically active and a site where male hormones are converted to female hormones. An imbalance in hormones can affect sperm.
The effects of most drugs on male fertility are not known: however, if you are required to take medication, especially for prolonged periods, it is always advisable to discuss this, with your medical practitioner. Marijuana and opiates affect the sperm and should be avoided at all costs. Some natural products will also affect sperm quality. Avoid St John's Wort.
To avoid EMR do not keep phones in your pocket rather on your belt or elsewhere.