SEX IMPROVES SPERM: WHAT ELSE CAN HELP MEN?
And if I date a younger woman? The embryologist also received this absurd question when she notified the male patient about unfavourable results of his spermogram.
Both the male fertility and the attitude of the stronger of the sexes leaves a lot to be desired, when it comes to the fact: I am the reason why me and my partner cannot conceive a child. The embryologist from the reproductive medicine clinic ReproMedica defends men saying they are more willing to accept the truth and solve the problem constructively.
The male ego must be bruised after being said the spermogram is not 100% perfect. What reactions have you seen?
Some men accept the fact, they adopt a matter-of-fact and detached view, since they know there is the option of the assisted reproduction. However, there are also men who cannot easily bear any minor change or deviation in the spermogram. They check each parameter, seek the reason why, ask how the results may improve. And they mainly seek the answer what is the cause.
It is not a frequent scenario, but there are men who, despite the obviously unfavourable result of spermogram, insist on not blaming them. I have been even asked: And if I date a younger woman, will it help? I had a long discussion with the gentleman, but he never returned to the clinic even though we recommended a follow-up spermogram examination. We are used to any kind of reaction.
The gentleman I spoke about at least attended the examination, some men still remain reluctant and do not even step on the threshold of the assisted reproduction clinic. They are terrified of the image of a nurse who will hand them a sampler on the corridor and they will head to the sperm collection room to give their genetic material – watched by all people who are present. These are the movie scenes. What is the truth behind this?
There are still many men who ignore their problem. They do not have to fear the collection of ejaculate and evaluation of spermogram. The sperm collection room at our clinic is located on a separate floor. They have absolute privacy and comfort, as much time as they need, even two or three hours. Even with their partner, if necessary.
Sometimes, men wrongly believe that sperm is collected by means of electroejaculation, i.e. using a device. It is actually a painful intervention, therefore it is done only by a doctor, usually anaesthesia is needed, and solely in indicated cases. Men also ask why they cannot bring sample from home. We allow it only exceptionally, if a man faces large difficulties to hand the ejaculate over at the clinic.
What does spermogram hint about the man?
Sperm must have certain parameters to fertilize ova. These parameters include the concentration of sperm in ejaculate, number of sperm in millilitre, number of movable sperm, its speed and shape. We introduced the sperm analysis in a computerized analyser which shows the result in a few seconds and saves it with as a video. And that is not all. The analyser can detect the speed and exact shape of sperm, which cannot be specified in the standard microscopic examination. Nowadays, we can even look inside the sperm head and “read” what is the quality of genetic material therein. Sometimes DNA is damaged to the extent which both reduces the probability of ovum fertilization, correct division of embryo, and causes frequent spontaneous miscarriages.
What hurts sperm?
Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and anabolic steroids. The spermograms of bodybuilders and sportsmen who were administered such steroids frequently show severe deviations, when there is not a single sperm in the ejaculate. The overheating of testicles do not beneficially impact the number and the movability of sperm, this also explains why we are not happy to see the laptops in lap, tight dress, excessive sauna or many hours seated. One careful man asked about sunbathing. If you do not sunbath too often, your body can put up with it. The spermatogenesis is sensitive to antibiotics or popular painkillers.
Is it true sperm is not fond of lubricants?
Lubricants and sperm are not fond of each other, sperm are damaged or slowed down by the lubricants and saliva. Some lubricants also include spermicides which kill sperm. The use of lubricants is prohibited when ejaculate is collected for spermogram examination. Regular sex, even every day, highly probably increases the quality of sperm.
Any retention or storage of sperm in a man’s body makes it lazier and they cannot penetrate the ovum. Be it as it may, two to five hours before you attend spermogram examination we recommend you to avoid sexual intercourse.
Currently, there is a flu period. May (viral) infections somehow influence the efforts to conceive a child?
Also could negatively influence the spermogram. When a man recovers and he was alright before, the values will be again normal in two months. Some diseases, such as teenage mumps and diabetes, cancer, cause irreversible damage.
Oncologic treatment causes irreversible changes, especially the radiotherapy which may irreversibly alter chromosomes, chemotherapy is less severe. Therefore we recommend to freeze sperm and to store it in spermbank before the oncologic treatment starts. By the way, there is a worldwide tendency to “social freezing” which refers to preventive freezing of sperm to use it later in the family planning.
Young healthy men let their sperm to be frozen for “bad times” to enjoy life freely. If they wish to have family in their forties, and there is a problem, they are secured. We also offer the prevention problem “social freezing”.
Dietary habits are considered an almighty medicine. What should women cook for their partners, if they wish to have a child?
We know the overweight and obesity influence the number and movability of sperm, so gentlemen do not need to dine a flitch of bacon. Higher percentage of fat triggers excessive production of estrogen. Diverse diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals should be preferred. The fertility may be also “activated” by antioxidants in citrus fruits, pepper, spinach and tomatoes. They may regulate the influence of free radicals. The menu should be enriched with zinc which supports the production of testosterone and increases the amount of sperm.
The reduction of the amount of sperm may be attributed to selenium. Vitamin C will contribute to sperm movability, vitamin E will improve the ability of sperm to penetrate ovum. Ginseng and propolis also increase sperm movability.
The influence of stress on somatic dysfunction is often discussed. Do you think stress is overestimated?
It is not. It can be clearly seen in students who donate sperm. If they come during the period of exams, over average spermogram parameters fall to under average. Suddenly you see three million of sperm instead of forty million in one millilitre of ejaculate. And these are less movable. The values are again normal after the period of exams ends.
Regarding the low number of sperm, keep in mind it takes only one, even lazy, sperm to fertilize ovum. Therefore, even if there are deviations in the spermogram, I do not dare say the female partner will not get naturally pregnant. However, the probability is very low. There is still an elegant method to use a thin needle and inject the sperm directly to ovum. We wait eighteen hours to see, if the miracle works.