Sperm quality

    • Brief

    • Sperm is made in a man’s balls (testicles) and is released from the penis through ejaculation. The quality of sperm is important for fertility.

      Structural or functional abnormalities in sperm can be identified and corrected through treatment. Lifestyle changes (e.g. quitting cigarette smoking and reducing alcohol consumption) can also improve sperm quality.

    • Structure of sperm

    • Sperm is the male reproductive cell and consists of a head, a body and a tail:

      • The head is flattened, shaped like an almond, and contains the nucleus with the genetic materials and the chromosomes (X and Y) that determine the sex of the baby.
      • The body contains the mitochondria that provide the power for the sperm to move forwards. 
      • The tail is long, slender and looks like a hair. Once activated, the tail moves the sperm towards the egg for fertilization. 


    • Healthy sperm

    • Sperm is healthy when:

      • There are enough sperm. Ejaculate should contain a minimum of 15 million sperm per millilitre. 
      • Sperm has a smooth oval-shaped head with a well-defined cap and a normal body and tail.
      • It moves forward at about 25 micrometres per second. 
      • A single ejaculation consists of a minimum of 1.5 millilitres of fluid, about half a tablespoon.
      • It is thick at the initial release, and in about 20 minutes it turns liquid. 
      • The PH level of sperm is between 7.1 to 8.0 (slightly alkaline).
    • Reason for unhealthy sperm

    • Sperm may not be healthy due to underlying conditions or lifestyle, including:

      • Hormonal problems.
      • Varicocele, where the scrotum veins are swollen and affect the sperm quality.
      • Diseases affecting the balls (testicles).
      • A blockage or obstruction of the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis.
      • Immune problems that cause the body to kill sperm.
      • Medications used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, depression and cancer.
      • Smoking tobacco.
      • Drinking alcohol.
      • Use of recreational drugs.

       

    • Ways to improve sperm quality

      • Exercise at least three times a week to help improve the quantity and quality of sperm. 
      • Quit smoking as it lowers sperm count, reduces the movement of sperm, and changes the shape of sperm. 
      • Reduce alcohol consumption.
      • Wear loose-fitted underwear to lower the temperature of the balls (testicles) to increase sperm production. 
      • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. 
      • Do not use recreational drugs as this may stop sperm production. 


    • Kulawa Cares

    • Leading a healthy life improves your chances of having healthy sperm and being fertile. If, despite a healthy life, you and your partner are having difficulties conceiving, see a fertility expert or visit a sexual health clinic. They will run tests on you and your partner to determine the cause of your inability to conceive. Sperm quality may be an issue. Treatment of underlying conditions can help improve the situation.