Healthy Sperm: Myths, Truths and Missing Links

Posted on 15 December 2017

When you and your partner are trying to conceive, you want to give your baby the best start in life. From a man’s perspective, that means achieving the best sperm health.

There is a lot said in the media about sperm. This article is to clarify what may be a myth, what we know to be true fact and also areas where the jury are still out.

Age – Truth
While not the deal breaker that it can be for women, advancing male age is associated with sperm DNA damage, infertility and also some rare spontaneous risks of disease in the offspring, including schizophrenia, autism and achondroplasia. So don’t put off having your babies gentlemen.

Smoking – Truth
Smoking is very very bad for sperm. Not only is smoking associated with infertility, it has also been linked to miscarriage, childhood asthma and cot death/SIDS.

Carrying excess weight – Truth
Being overweight is linked with infertility which may be reversible with weight reduction in men.

Plastics and phthalate exposure – Missing links
There is still not conclusive evidence that our daily life level of exposure to plastics causes infertility in humans. However animal studies raise cause for concern.

Bike riding – Missing links but possibly a myth.
A 2014 study of 5,000 male British cyclists by University College London found no association between cycling and infertility.

Heat bad for sperm – Truth
Testes ‘hang’ outside of the body for a reason, to keep them relatively cool. Prolonged exposure to temperature rise has a negative effect on sperm DNA. Things to avoid include prolonged sitting and hot baths, showers, spas or saunas, and more controversially, tight jocks.

Frequent ejaculation is bad for sperm quality – Myth
Sperm motility suffers when there is infrequent ejaculation. Men tying to conceive should be ejaculating at least two times per week to improve sperm DNA fragmentation.

Foods can make you fertile – Truth
Foods that re naturally high in antioxidants help to create strong sperm DNA. Good dietary antioxidants include vitamins C and E, folate and zinc. This effect is particularly important in men over 40 who have higher baseline rates of sperm DNA damage related to age.


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