MFS Fertility Blog

Secrets to Healthy Sperm Count and Motility

Posted on May 9, 2013 in Low Sperm Count, Sperm Health

Adequate sperm quantity and motility are the essential components of a man's fertility and a combination of both are needed to conceive naturally. Although several factors affect your sperm, it is essential to realize that a low sperm count often be influenced by lifestyle choices.

Sperm Quantity
Sperm quantity, or count, refers to the concentration of sperm in one milliliter of ejaculate and it is a standard part of a semen analysis.While the average sperm count in the Western world is between 20 and 40 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate, you are considered fertile if your sperm count is at least 15 million sperm cells per milliliter.

Sperm Motility
Sperm motility, or movement, refers to the ability of your sperm to move forward through the female reproductive tract into the fallopian tubes. A motility analysis is another parameter of a standard semen test and the results are presented as the percentage of sperm that are correctly swimming in a forward direction. A motility score of at least 50 percent indicates a healthy motility.

Ways to increase your sperm health
A healthy diet and exercise are a vital part of healthy sperm. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can benefit your sperm count and motility; in particular, deficiencies in zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, folic acid, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and A, can have adverse effects on sperm health. Regular exercise helps maintain weight and also enhances sperm production by releasing testosterone; however, exercise that is too strenuous can have adverse effects. Certain foods, such as soy-based foods and high-fructose corn syrup, can cause hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance and thus, should be avoided when aiming to improve fertility.

Other lifestyle choices that can enhance both sperm count and motility include managing stress, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.In addition, keeping testicles cool encourages maximum sperm motility as well as production and therefore, avoiding hot tubs and saunas, wearing light and loose underwear, and taking frequent breaks from biking or sitting can enhance the health of your sperm.Evidence also suggests that ejaculating more often than every 2 to 3 days can lessen sperm count and motility. An additional factor that can affect sperm motility is heavy metal exposure.Ways to reduce heavy metal intake include avoiding iodized salt and high intake of wild fish. Certain illegal drugs can also hamper sperm motility, as can certain lubricants used during sexual intercourse.

If you are having difficulties conceiving a child, and a sperm quality or quantity problem is to blame, talk to your doctor about which of these changes might be most beneficial.

  • Pacific Coast Reproductive Society logo
  • American Urological Association logo
  • Fellow American College of Surgeons logo
  • The American Society for Reproductive Medicine logo
  • CBS logo
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