Sperm: The Fertility Facts

    It takes just 1 sperm to fertilize an egg; yet there are multiple factors that affect the viability of sperm.  All too often the infertility medical complex, only focuses on the quality and quantity of a women’s eggs, overlooking the fact that a successful pregnancy requires sperm to be as healthy and as viable as an egg.

    In the last 50 years, the quantity and quality of sperm has reduced by much as fifty percent and considering  40% of infertility is due to male factor, here are facts about sperm to consider:

  • On average, men produce 1,500 sperm per second
  • Each batch of new sperm takes 90 to 100 days to fully mature
  • Without an ejaculation, sperm viability last about 74 days
  • Once inside the cervix and uterus, most die within a day or two, but with adequate fertile cervical mucus, sperm can live 3 to 5 days. By contrast, an ovulated egg is viable for only 12 to 24 hours 
  • Y Chromosome (Male) sperm usually live to 1 to 1.5 days while X chromosome (Female) sperm can live twice as long
  • Of those millions, it’s estimated only 10 to 20 sperm seem to make it pass all the hurdles
  • Once sperm swim into the fallopian tubes, they’ve been found to still be there 7 days later
  • With a acidic vaginal environment, sperm can’t live past a 2 hour window
  • It can take as little as 45 minutes for fastest of the sperm to find the egg and as long as 12 hours for the slower swimmers
  • Hot tubs, saunas and excessive overheating of the testicles due to extreme strenuous exercise can affect the viability of sperm

    Sperm gets a new fresh make-over every 90 days or so, making it ideal and possible to change the quality of the sperm. But, first you’ll need to know what’s wrong. Given the statistics affecting sperm, have your partner get his sperm tested as soon as you start trying.

    With couples doing an IVF cycle, poor sperm quality is often overlooked as a critical cause of infertility because of the use of ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). ICSI is a procedure where a single sperm is injected into the egg under a microscope, using a fine glass needle. This technique adds another two to three thousand dollars per attempt and is used when sperm are of poor quality or with a prior poor rate of fertilization. While ICIS is a important adjunct modality, it doesn’t improve the quality of the sperm. It makes more sense to address the the cause. Here is where low sperm count, low sperm morphology, reduced motility, and sperm fragmentation can almost always improve with appropriate nutrition, micronutrients, acupuncture, and herbal support.

    Conventional sperm test do not test for sperm fragmentation and sperm antibodies. Over the last 32 years, I’ve treated hundreds of women for infertility. I’ve seen firsthand, the lack of interest and foresight of physicians in testing and addressing the issues related to male factor infertility. I’ve had women undergo many expensive IVF cycles to find out years later, there was sperm fragmentation. Sperm fragmentation is when DNA strands breaks or separate into pieces. DNA fragmentation levels are closely correlated with pregnancy rates, IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVF, and ICSI as well as miscarriage. The test only costs several hundred dollars, much less than the cost of ICIS. Studies have shown that ICIS procedures, do not improve the outcome regardless of the assisted reproductive technology used.

    Sperm antibodies are more commonly found in men than women. When found in women, pregnancy is unlikely with natural intercourse or an IUI. Generally ICIS applied within a IVF cycle can be very effective in overriding the issue.
Being proactive and getting your partner to do comprehensive testing can make a 40% difference in your ability to achieve a successful outcome.

If this article doesn’t apply to you: Please feel free to forward this article to friends wanting to start a family.