If you’re trying to start a family, and are facing difficulty in getting pregnant, it can be extremely frustrating when there is no obvious reason for the lack of success.
For women, there is a whole host of potential issues to investigate, from egg production to uterus conditions such as endometriosis. However, for men, one of the main factors when it comes to falling pregnant is semen.
The good news for men is that there is only one way to test the quality of your sperm. If you’re concerned about the volume of semen you’re producing, or the rate at which you’re producing it, you can undertake a semen analysis.
This quick and easy test can determine the volume and density of sperm produced, as well as the movement, size and shape of the sample you provide.
But before you jump to any conclusions, there are a few things you should know about your semen:
How is semen formed?
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just the testicles which produce semen. The conception begins in the prostate, where a milky substance, full of proteins, vitamin C, enzymes and minerals, is created. which is. The seminal vesicles then generate the fluid known as semen, which is crucial in the reproductive process as without it, the sperm is unable to swim to the egg.
Lastly, the testes use fine tubes called seminiferous tubules to create sperm cells, which are then matured in the epididymis, and eventually expelled through the urethra via muscle contractions during orgasm.
How much semen is produced?
The volume of semen varies from person to person. The average man produces up to 290 million sperm cells every day. When orgasm is reached, and a man ejaculates, around 1.5-5 millilitres is produced.
Many factors can determine what the sperm count is each time a man ejaculates, but age is an important factor. For example, the younger the man, the more sperm he will produce. Where the average male will create 290 million sperm cells per day, men over 50 will generally create around 130 million a day.
However, despite the large volume of semen created, the majority of sperm is actually useless. Dr Abraham Morgentaler, a clinical professor of urology, presented that only slightly more than half of the sperm count in the average ejaculation can swim, and up to 70% aren’t shaped for swimming.
How can you improve the quality of your semen?
If you’re concerned that you may have a low semen volume, or poor sperm mobility, a semen analysis is definitely a great place to start. Alongside seeing a doctor, there are a few things that you can do increase your sperm count.
Don’t worry about your sex life
A common misconception is that regular sex or masturbation can contribute to a low sperm count. While frequent ejaculation won’t affect the mobility of semen, or the number of sperm cells created, it can lessen the volume of sperm produced each time. While this won’t decrease the virility of the semen, it may lessen the number of sperm reaching an egg.
Be aware of what you consume
Things that you eat or drink in your daily life can directly affect not just the quantity, but also the quality of your sperm. For example, a diet that is full of zinc, vitamin D, and natural antioxidants is great for fertility boosting. Take-aways and greasy food aren’t.
But it’s not just food that can cause low semen volume. Excessive drinking, taking drugs and smoking can all decrease the quality of your semen.
Watch the temperature.
Prolonged exposure to heat can cause a low sperm count. The optimum temperature for producing sperm is 34.5 degrees Celsius, which makes winter a great time of year to start your family. A three- year University of California study discovered that when men stopped taking hot baths, their sperm count increased by almost 500 per cent.
While this information can help you learn more about your sperm volume, if you’re concerned about anything mentioned in this article, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor and discuss the possibility of a sperm analysis.