Ok boys the data is finally out about the quality of men’s sperm. The truth is male factor infertility is on the rise and the quality of men’s sperm is on the decline.  I wanted to raise awareness around this topic as it has affected many of my male clients recently.

In 2010, the World Health Organization published and revised their reference values for semen analysis, in fact they lowered their reference values, determining that the quality of men’s sperm is decreasing. What’s more concerning is the value for determining sperm morphology has changed rather substantially. This is definitely not a good thing when it comes to fertilizing an egg.

It takes around 70 days for sperm (spermatozoa) to develop. The good news is that men are constantly producing new sperm. The not so good new is that because of the long development and maturation time of sperm cells, events in a man’s life such as binge drinking can have a far-reaching effect on the quality of his sperm.  To be realistic you need to give yourself three months of clean living to produce what I call “healthy or improved sperm”.

What happens in the magical testes is really quite amazing. Men produce individual sperm from a cell called spermatogonium. The spermatogonium then divides to produce spermatocytes, which then develop into spermatids. The next process is really important when it comes to having good swimmers! Take note. The spermatids then develop their tail and then gradually acquire the ability to move by beating its tail. The spermatid then eventually develops in mature spermatozoa otherwise known as sperm. This maturation process takes a whooping 60 days and the sperm another 10-14 days to pass through the ducts of each testicle, and it’s sperm-maturing tube, the epididymis before it can leave the body in the semen during ejaculation. You can see just how long it takes for new sperm to produce. It is a lengthy process almost 3 months in fact.

Part 2: How to read your semen analysis?