Sperm quality

Written by: Editors

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Fast, smart and decisive: sperm usually travel pretty quickly. But sometimes the quality and health of sperm can be affected. Some men have low sperm motility or a low sperm count.

What is this exactly and what factors influence sperm health? This blog post tells you everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about sperm.

How long can sperm live in the body?

This may come as a shock, but sperm can survive within the female reproductive system for up to 72 hours. However, this varies per person: in some men, sperm has a shorter lifespan. In principle, good quality sperm can survive longer than less healthy sperm. The higher the quality, the longer sperm will be able to live, and the higher their chances of fertilising an egg. Outside the body, sperm will not last more than a few minutes tops.

What is poor sperm?

Fertilisation takes a lot of effort. Following ejaculation, sperm have to swim a mighty journey of about 17 cm to reach a woman’s peritoneal cavity and they undergo all kinds of biochemical changes in the uterus. Also, they need to outswim the competition and get to the egg first. In total, the journey takes about five minutes. Poor quality sperm are simply not up to this task.

There are a variety of causes for poor quality sperm:

Low sperm motility, colloquially also known as slow or lazy sperm. If your motility is below 25%, you are considered to have low sperm motility.

Low sperm count. Normal sperm densities range from 100 million to 200 million sperm per ejaculate. Sperm counts below 20 million per ejaculate are considered poor.

Abnormal sperm. Normal sperm have an oval head with a long tail. Abnormal sperm have head or tail defects, such as a no head or tail, or other defects. Of course, some percentage of ejaculated sperm always has an irregular shape. Having more than 70% of abnormally formed sperm is a sign of a condition called teratozoospermia, which can be a cause of reduced fertility.

Although some abnormalities cannot be fixed, a healthy lifestyle can help improve overall sperm health.

What can you do to improve sperm quality?

It is possible to improve sperm quality. The healthier you are, the greater the chances of producing healthy sperm.

Here are some tips to boost your sperm quality.

  • Don’t smoke. Men who smoke cigarettes are more likely to have poor quality sperm.
  • Be active. Couch potatoes are more likely to have problems like low sperm motility. So it’s important to exercise regularly.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes and underwear. Increased scrotal temperature can hamper sperm production. For this reason, it’s best to limit your use of saunas and hot tubs.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs contain substances that can lead to decreased sperm production and may impact fertility.
  • Eating a healthy diet can help improve sperm quality. Especially fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C are good for sperm health.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight affects the male hormone testosterone, which in turn can impair sperm production.

Does frequent ejaculation affect sperm quality?

Yes, frequent sex or masturbation may lower your sperm count. But this is also true for prolonged sexual abstinence. As a guideline, you could say that the best quality of sperm is achieved by ejaculating every three to five days.

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