When you're trying your very best to father a child, it makes sense that you would want to ensure you've got healthy sperm. The quality of your sperm
When you’re trying your very best to father a child, it makes sense that you would want to ensure you’ve got healthy sperm. The quality of your sperm does affect how your baby will develop inside the womb.
More importantly, the quality of the genetic material that you pass on to your offspring will affect how your child will develop later on. Learn more about factors that affect your sperm quality and how you can keep your sperm healthy.
Healthy Sperm Defined
When you have your semen sample analyzed, there are several parameters that are measured. Of these, the three most important parameters for sperm health are quantity, motility, and morphology.
To have a healthy sperm count, you will need at least 15 million or more per one milliliter of semen. Although it will still be possible to impregnate your partner if you have a lower sperm count than that, your chances of successful fertilization increase if your sperm count is higher.
A high sperm count wouldn’t do you much good if your spermatozoa are not motile. Sperm motility is a measure of your sperm cells’ ability to move effectively. When you ejaculate, you basically deposit your sperm inside your partner’s vagina. It’s up to your spermatozoa to swim and navigate your partner’s reproductive tract to get to the egg cell.
Asthenozoospermia is a male infertility problem that’s diagnosed when less than 32% of your spermatozoa are efficiently motile. When you have a low percentage of motile sperm, it means that your spermatozoa find it hard to swim toward the egg. If none of your sperm are motile at all, it can result in fertility problems and you may need to undergo IVF.
Sperm morphology is another measure of sperm health. Sperm cells that have a long, straight tail and oval-shaped head are considered healthy. While it’s possible for an abnormally shaped sperm cell to fertilize the egg cell, those that are of healthy shape and size have higher chances of successful fertilization.
Why Do You Need to Keep Your Sperm Healthy?
The health of your sperm will influence not only your chances of conceiving but also how the pregnancy will progress, as well as the baby’s health later on.
When there are many problems with your semen parameters such as if you have a low sperm count, poor sperm morphology, and a low percentage of motile sperm, your chances of successfully impregnating your partner are greatly reduced.
The genetic material that a sperm cell carries is one of the most important aspects of sperm health. It can greatly influence both the pregnancy and the baby’s health. You can think of fertilization as the process of passing on your genetic material to your child.
However, if the sperm cell that is able to successfully fertilize the egg cell contains incomplete or damaged DNA material, that can present a lot of problems later on. Because the genetic material is damaged, it will definitely have negative effects on the embryo’s health.
It’s possible that the embryo will not fully develop due to incomplete or damaged genetic material. Experts also note that fertilization with a sperm cell that has damaged or fragmented DNA material can lead to spontaneous abortion.
Oxidative stress is one of the most common reasons why a sperm cell may end up having damaged or fragmented genetic material. This happens when there are too many free radicals and reactive oxygen species present in your system and your antioxidant defense mechanism is unable to cope with the damage that oxidative stress causes.
Oxidative Stress and Male Infertility
Research shows that oxidative stress is a big factor in male infertility. When it comes to sperm health, oxidative stress can cause several types of damage to sperm cells. Lipid peroxidation, for instance, can cause damage to the cell membrane of the sperm cell.
A sperm cell that has been damaged by oxidative stress can end up having a fragmented DNA, abnormal morphology, impaired motility, and impaired fertilization capacity. This means that the higher your oxidative stress levels are, the more likely it is that you will experience problems when you’re trying to get your partner pregnant.
Smoking, exposure to toxic chemicals, alcohol consumption, and medical conditions like diabetes and obesity are all known to cause high oxidative stress levels.
How to Improve Your Sperm Health
One of the first things you’ll need to do if you want to improve your sperm health is to boost your antioxidant defense mechanism. You can do this by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Alternatively, you can also take supplements that can increase your antioxidant protection.
For enhancing male fertility, some of the most popularly used herbal supplements include Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha, and Tribulus terrestris. One thing that these three herbs have in common is that they’re all rich in antioxidants, which is why they also have a lot of health benefits.
Tongkat Ali, for instance, contains alkaloids, flavonoids, quassinoids, and other phytochemicals that have therapeutic effects. Some of the known benefits of Long Jack or Tongkat Ali include increased testosterone production, higher sperm counts, increased sperm motility, as well as improved sperm morphology.
Ashwagandha is quite similar to Tongkat Ali because both of these herbs are known to have stress-reducing and energy-boosting properties. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is used as a general tonic for rejuvenation.
Ashwagandha has also been studied for its fertility-enhancing effects. It’s been found to help improve sperm morphology and motility, as well as increase sperm production and improve sperm health. Because Ashwagandha contains several antioxidants, it also helps protect spermatozoa from oxidative stress.
Tribulus terrestris is another herb that’s known to improve male sexual performance and as well as enhance male fertility. Part of its positive effects on sperm health is due to the fact that Tribulus terrestris is rich in antioxidants like steroidal saponins, and part of it is due to the herb’s testosterone-boosting effects.
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