Sperm Health and Getting Pregnant
Sperm health is an essential factor when it comes to getting pregnant. While many getting pregnant options, such as assisted reproductive technology (ART) focus on women's reproductive health, male infertility issues account for 40% of all infertility cases. And because sperm health problems, such as blockages and the inability to produce healthy sperm, are often the main reason behind sperm health problems, it is important to investigate factors affecting sperm health. This is usually done through a series of diagnostic tests used to analyze sperm health as well as treatment options for improving sperm health and you and your partner's chances of getting pregnant.
Factors Affecting Sperm Health
There are a variety of factors that can negatively impact you or your partner's sperm health and therefore have an impact on your chances of getting pregnant, including:
- tight clothing, including underwear
- too many hot baths
- using drugs
- excessive alcohol use
- recent infections or illnesses, including a cold or the flu (these can have a temporary effect on sperm test results)
- previous infections or illnesses, and/or their treatment, including mumps, Chlamydia and radiotherapy treatment (these can have a permanent effect on sperm test results
- stress, which can be caused by test itself
- work hazards, including exposure to heavy metals, solvents and x-rays
- hormonal imbalances
How to Assess Sperm Health
In order to assess your or your partner's sperm health and its effects on your chances of getting pregnant, a fertility specialist will first conduct a physical exam. A physical exam checks for the following physical problems that might be affecting sperm health:
- scrotum conditions
- undescended testes
- tubal blockage
After a physical examination, the next step in assessing sperm health is an initial sperm analysis test. In this test, the man must produce a sperm sample after abstaining from sexual intercourse for a period of 2 to 3 days but no more than 7 days. The sperm sample is then submitted to the laboratory for analysis.
A secondary such test might be performed if test results or poor, or if a temporary problem, such as stress or a cold, has affected the quality of the test results.
Sperm Health Treatment Options
There are a variety of treatment options that can help improve sperm health, such as:
- Drugs. Fertility drugs are usually prescribed if hormonal problems are the cause of poor sperm health.
- Surgery. Surgery is usually performed in cases where physical problems are affecting the creation and release of sperm.
- Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). ART treatment options are used in cases of low sperm count or poor sperm motility. While most assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments are directed at women, intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an ART treatment option directed at treating male fertility problems. ICSI is an assisted reproductive process in which an egg is fertilised using the extraction of a single sperm and is used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF). ICSI is recommended in the following cases: low sperm count, a total absence of sperm, damaged or absent vas deferens, a high number of atypical sperm, ejaculatory problems and irreversible vasectomy.
Here are some tips for improving sperm health:
- use condoms in order to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- don't smoke, use drugs or drink excessively
- follow a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and regular exercise
- don't wear tight clothing, including tight underwear
Find out how to create healthy male sperm by visiting our forum.