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Let's Talk Sperm Quality


a blog by marie lee

Let’s talk spem quality.

If you are having trouble getting pregnant, this is one time I might suggest seeing a specialist. But if the quality and quantity is fine and you’re still having trouble, a recent study in Australia suggests that having MORE SEX might help reduce the number of DNA-damaged sperm.

This is interesting because many specialists recommend abstaining from sex before an IVF procedure (I’m not sure why; admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about IVF as I don’t plan to ever do it) and before sperm donation. But my late, wise, fertility consultant-doctor used to chuckle and suggested we do it every day leading up to and past ovulation. And he sure has had some success. So who knows?

There are actually a lot of things you can do to help sperm quality besides the obvious. To start, don’t overheat the little guys: no tight pants, too much bicycling, laptops, etc.

And there are a number of supplements that are available. At this year’s annual American Society of Andrology meeting, a study was presented suggesting that most men (small sample size, though) experience sperm improvement taking this product.

Some other herbal ideas: At my CSA (community supported agriculture — sort of like a farmer’s market that comes to you) we used to get this herb called “sacred basil.” Apparently this plant is often worshipped in India, hence the name. It’s also known as “tulsi,” and it’s an overall health promoter, plus it has a reputation as being spermatogenic (i.e., helping the production of sperm). Generally anything that contributes to overall health (stopping smoking, reducing stress, antioxidants), can help sperm.

Acupuncture is another sperm helper. A study published in the aforementioned Archives of Andrology shows that, with acupuncture, sperm quality can improve in as little as one to three months.

And if you are interested in knowing how the little swimmers are doing without going to see the doctor, there is an at-home test available. My husband seems to have great sperm quality (though I’ve miscarried, we got pregnant with our son the very first time and have gotten pregnant (often while trying not to) a bunch of times). But for fun we tried out a test called Fertell, which measures both motility and number, and he scored high on both, so the test, at least in for us, seemed to be accurate. Fertell kits can be found all over the place including Amazon and Walgreen’s.

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