Male Fertility – Father’s are Important Too!

Baby_and_FatherIt is very important for both prospective parents to follow preconception health care prior to a planned conception. Sperm are more vulnerable than eggs because they are smaller, more exposed and develop entirely within the present environment. Studies are showing an increasing impact of male health factors on all areas of conception, foetal health and pregnancy.

A higher rate of childhood cancers and respiratory disease, including asthma is particularly associated with the father smoking before conception. One study found that paternal preconception smoking was related to a significantly elevated risk of all childhood cancers, particularly acute leukaemia and lymphoma (J Natl Cancer Inst), while another study connected paternal smoking with congenital abnormalities (Intl J Andrology).

Miscarriage rates are linked to the health and morphology (shape) of the sperm. A study in Stockholm showed 14% of abnormal sperm equated to 14% of miscarriages, whereas 43% abnormal sperm equated to 84% of miscarriages. The study found that half of the miscarriages from the research group were due to the male. Other studies have confirmed these results concluding that higher pregnancy rates were obtained in patients with normal sperm morphology than those with abnormal sperm morphology (Fert & Ster).

If you have had sperm results returned with a less than favourable result, the great news is that by following the Preconception Healthcare Programme you can turn your sperm from dud to stud in a few months!

The production of sperm occurs within the hundreds of seminiferous tubules, which accounts for more than 97% of the volume of the testis. The hypothalamus and anterior pituitary gland control the production of hormones necessary to allow the sperm to form and mature. Sperm take approximately 116 days to mature and during this time undergo many different stages and changes. Once formed, normal sperm can swim at 1-4mm/min.

A subfertile man is defined by any of the following:
– Sperm count less than 20 million per mL of seminal fluid (average is 30-60million)
– Less than 50% motility within 2 hours post-ejaculate
– Low volume – 2mL or less
– Greater than 40% abnormally formed
– Infertile men produce no sperm (azoospermia) or dead sperm (necrospermia)

Sperm can live up to 5 days if conditions are extremely favourably. Usually lasting about 3 days. Sperm decrease by 1/3 each day. The number of sperm in one ejaculation average between 280-400million – all needed to help each other so one reaches and penerates the egg which must seem huge to the tiny spermatozoa!

There are a number of reasons for lowered sperm quality and quantity and hense there are many things you can do to help. Remember, sperm take 3 months to mature so sperm being ejaculated now began their formation in health conditions, which prevailed three months previously. By starting and following the Preconception Healthcare Programme you can dramatically improve the quality and quantity of sperm to improve your chances of a successful conception and a healthy baby.