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Study Shows Men Produce Healthier Sperm in Cooler Months

a blog by Kim Griffiths, March 15, 2013

Did you know men have healthier sperm in the winter and spring? I didn’t, but I wonder if that is the reason my in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle in April 2010 was successful.

A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology examined semen samples of 6,455 men, between January 2006 and July 2009, who were being treated for male factor infertility. Researchers found higher count, higher motility, and fewer men exhibiting morphology problems when the sample consisted of sperm made in the cooler months. A sperm production cycle takes approximately three months, so sperm produced in the fall was likely collected in the winter and sperm produced in the winter was likely collected in the spring. Sperm quality showed a steady decline into the summer and fall months, sperm which would have been produced in the spring and summer months.

Scientists theorize the decrease in sperm quality is attributable to warmer temperatures which slow down the production of healthy sperm. Previous animal studies have not only linked poor sperm quality to increased temperatures, but also hormone variations and exposure to daylight as well; biological changes that occur as a seasonal effect.

This data is a most important consideration for couples undergoing fertility treatment as doctors can advise male patients to be especially mindful of heat exposure, and can encourage other fertility-boosting behaviors. It is not likely that fertility doctors will encourage couples to try to conceive only during winter or spring months.

Read: Semen Analysis: A Quick Reference Guide

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