Thursday, 16 December 2010

Can antioxidant and folic acid intake improve sperm quality?

Making slight changes to your diet can help in improving the quality of your sperm.

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain, prompted by the gradual decline of sperm counts across Europe, hypothesised that a healthy antioxidant rich diet could potentially improve sperm concentration and motility by reducing the oxidation of molecules which harm sperm.

Professor Mendiola, one of the researchers said, “People who eat more fruits and vegetables are ingesting more antioxidants, and this is the important point”

The study showed that those men on the study with a good sperm count ate significantly more fruit and vegetables than those who had diets rich in meat and full fat dairy products.

So, a diet rich in antioxidants is thought to be the key in terms of sperm quality and motility. Foods like, blueberries, garlic, broccoli, plums, strawberries, spinach, citrus fruits and Vitamin C are rich in antioxidants and could mean faster swimming sperm.

Another study carried out at the University of California, looked at the diet and consumption of vitamin supplements of 89 healthy non smoking men and measured the effect it had on their sperm quality.

They concluded that a diet with sufficient amount of products rich in folic acid prevents formation of defective sperm, in particular aneuploidy (the presence of defective sperm with extra or shortage of chromosomes). Thus a diet rich in folic acid helps reduce the risk of chromosomal anomalies in newborns.

Brenda Eskenazi, head researcher,stated that “the study showed that among men who consumed the largest doses of folic acid (the dose ranged from 722 to 1150) aneuploidy was observed by 20-30% less than in the participants who received low levels of folate”

Eskenazi also reported that this study is the first one to demonstrate that a man’s diet could play a key role in the development of a baby.

Foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, whole-bran bread, yeasts, and liver are great sources of folic acid.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to preserve your fertility

There are many more environmental factors that can affect male fertility.  The factors include:
  • endocrine disrupters
  • toxic pollutants
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • zinc deficiency
  • alcoholism
  • smoking
  • anabolic steroid use
  • Ionising radiation.
Endocrine disrupters are chemicals present in the environment that, by virtue of their ability to adversely affect the endocrine (hormonal) system, cause health consequences. Several industrial pollutants can affect fertility, as can smoking and alcohol use. Some of these toxins can cause reproductive disorders, neurological disease, immune system disorders and cancer

How can I preserve my fertility?
1.      Adopt a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

2.      Don't smoke or use recreational drugs.

3.      Don't drink alcohol, or keep alcohol consumption within recommended limits.

4.      Try to avoid exposure to industrial and occupational hazards by following safety procedures and wearing protective clothing when provided. Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide information on occupational health risks and to ensure employees have a safe and healthy working environment.

5.      Avoid exposure to sexually transmitted diseases by adopting safer sexual practices, such as using condoms and reducing your number of partners.

6.      Treat underlying medical conditions: Treating underlying medical conditions may help increase your fertility. Untreated diabetes may lead to infertility, specifically causing retrograde ejaculation. Even if you're without symptoms, you might want to get your blood sugars tested if you have been diagnosed with retrograde ejaculation. Up to one third of people with diabetes are unaware that they have the disease.

An untreated infection of the reproductive system or urinary tract can cause infertility in men. For example, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may lead to reduced sperm motility, and repeated STD infection may lead to scarring, which can block the passage of semen. Some infections have no symptoms besides infertility.

Other medical conditions that can lead to infertility are thyroid disease, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, Cushing's syndrome, and anaemia. These diseases are also commonly missed. For example, it's not uncommon for someone to walk around with thyroid problems for years before getting a diagnosis.

Be sure to get a well-check with your primary care doctor before you start trying to conceive, and if you suspect something's not quite right with how you're feeling, voice these concerns.

7.      Reduce your soy intake: Too much soy may impact your sperm counts, according to a research study that looked at eating habits.  The study found men who ate high amounts of soy had lower sperm counts than men who did not. In fact, men who had the highest soy intake had 41 million/ml less sperm than men who did not eat soy foods.

8.      The causes of stress in modern life are legion and concerns over fertility or failure to conceive are very important causes of stress. If you are concerned that you have a fertility problem, it is sensible to seek advice from your family doctor.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sperm Donation Myths

Erm, no! You can't just pop into a donor bank and make one extremely large deposit!!! Sperm Banks do need to see you a bit more often than that! But donors will get a Free STI check and Fertility test, oh and not to mention a Free Sperm Mug and T-shirt, If you donate at The London Sperm Bank!!

There are many myths surrounding sperm donation, here are just a few of them:
Myth: Sperm Donation Is Easy
Fact: Although it may seem like an easy proposition, the truth is the screening process for sperm donation is rigorous and less than 5% of the men attempting to become a sperm donor are successful. The screening process includes testing for STDs, genetic abnormalities and disease. Sperm must meet specific quality standards regarding sperm count, and both physical and psychological factors are considered. A donor must be over 18, able to provide their family’s health history and be able to commit to the program for up to six months. They must also be in good health.

Myth: Sperm Count Is Constant
Fact: Many men believe their sperm count will be the same every time it is examined. Not so. A man’s sperm count can fluctuate depending on several factors. Illness, medication, and especially the time between ejaculations will have an effect on sperm count. Before making a sperm donation, a man will be requested to refrain from ejaculating for up to three days prior to the appointment.

Myth: Sperm Donation Pays Good Money
Fact: It's a myth! Many people seem to think you can make a fortune but that is simply not true. In the UK, Sperm donation is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).  Due to this regulation, it is illegal in the UK to pay sperm donors for their donations.  Although there are banks outside of the UK that pay for donations, sperm donors in the UK can only make expense claims for things such as travel and loss of earnings. 
See the following directions for receiving money as a donor according to the human fertilisation and embryology act 1990:
  1. Individual donors of gametes may be given money or other benefits for the supply of their gametes, subject to the conditions of these Directions.
2.      In money or money's worth, a donor may be reimbursed reasonable expenses which he or she has incurred, within the UK, in connection with the donation.
3.      Donors may be compensated for loss of earnings (but not for other costs or inconveniences) up to a daily maximum of £55.19 but with an overall limit of £250 (or the equivalent in local currency) for each course of sperm donation or each cycle of egg donation.

Sperm donors must be altruistic first and foremost with a strong desire to help others. Without sperm donation, many couples and single women would have no recourse to starting a family. Sperm donation is a very special gift to people struggling with reproductive issues.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Does sperm count decrease with age?

According to Dr. Silber, of St Luke's Infertility Hospital in the US, until recently we have had a poor understanding of the effect of aging on male fertility. As many examples have been offered of older men having babies, the thought of decreased fertility in men was never greatly addressed. "It was assumed that male fertility was relatively immortal because so many elderly men have been able to impregnate their wives," says Dr. Silber. "However, there has been previous crude data showing a relative decrease in sperm count, and possibly fertility, in a certain percentage of aging men. Now, the field of male fertility has come to be mainstream and full of new research, new data and new conclusions."

Research is exploring many of the whys and how’s of decreased sperm production and maturity with age. As a result, many explanations have been uncovered.

"Men experience an age-related decrease in testicular size and in sperm production," says Dr. Silber. "In some men, there is a decline in testosterone production that becomes noticeable after the age of 40. The loss of testosterone can result in a decrease in bone and muscle mass in the aging male, the loss of sex-drive, the decreased ability of the body to produce and mature sperm cells, as well as the inability to obtain or maintain an erection. Both the decrease in testosterone and the decrease in sperm production cause an age-related decrease in fertility. In addition, sperm may also be affected by repeated ejaculation decreasing the secretions of the glands, the decrease of the number of hormones and the weakening of the sexual muscles."

some of the most common effects of age on the sperm that is produced include the following:

  • Decreased Motility: Sperm that has not matured will not have the adequate motility to reach and penetrate the egg. In addition, with age comes a decreased ability to have strong ejaculations, thus, decreasing the distance that the sperm will travel upon ejaculation.
  • Decreased Strength: Immature sperm will not have the needed strength to travel the distance to the egg, nor the needed strength to penetrate the membrane for fertilization.
  • Decreased Potency: The force of the ejaculatory squirt in young men is often powerful and can eject the sperm some distance. The force of the squirt, propelled by the powerful contraction of the bulbocavernosus muscles, is much less in older men than in younger men. Thus, in every measurable way male potency is clearly affected by age.
  • Altered Genetic Make-Up: As men age, sperm cells can accumulate mutations that are passed to offspring. Regardless of age, sperm continues to reproduce through division. If a sperm becomes altered or mutates, any other sperm that is produced by the natural division will also be altered or mutated. Each successive division introduces a slight risk of error in the genetic material of the new sperm, which is passed on to the children.
"Sperm studies in aging men often show kinetic or formation disorders," says Dr. W-B Schill, professor in the Department of Dermatology and Andrology at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. "Most observed were impaired spermatogoniogenesis (reproduction, dividing and development of the sperm cell) or spermatid (a maturing sperm cell) malformations, paralleled by a highly significant decrease in daily sperm production. This indicates and accompanies a gradual decline of fertility with increasing age. And, although alterations in sperm quality may be apparent, reduced motility and a lower percentage of spermatozoa (a totally mature sperm cell) with normal morphology are most frequent."

Male Fertility Myths

Male infertility can result from many different reasons from abnormal formation of sperm to failure of sperm – egg interactions. Medically, the definition of infertility is the inability to conceive a child after twelve months of active or regular unprotected sex.

Many myths surrounding male fertility included ‘if you have more sex, you will exhaust your sperm supply’ or ‘if men masturbate, they will have less sperm’. This is not true. The frequency of sex or number of times a man ejaculates does not decrease the amount of sperm, or sperm count. In fact, a man may lose all sensations and sexual functions due to a spinal cord injury but he still has a normal sperm count.

Fertility Myths and Facts
Myth: Only people over 40 have fertility issues.
Fact:People can face fertility issues at any age.  Varicoceles, damage to the sex organs, and chronic diseases all affect fertility.  This common fertility myth probably came from good, well-intentioned advice–older men are more susceptible to infertility, according to several studies.  This does not mean young men are automatically excluded from having these issues, however.

Myth: The best way to conceive is by having sex every day.
Fact:Regular sexual intercourse actually decreases a couple's ability to conceive.  According to Sharon Perkins (author of Infertility for Dummies), having too much sex depletes sperm volume, decreasing a man's ability to reproduce.  This fertility myth was probably based on common sense; having more sex would seem to increase conception rate.  It does more harm than good, however.

Another fact: Want to increase your fertility?  Try smart sex instead.  Only have sex when your partner is ovulating, as determined by a physician, and have sex every other day to maximize sperm volume.  This maximizes your reproductive potential during this period (and it may lead to a more satisfying sex life).

Myth: Keeping testicles cold helps you conceive.
Fact: Along with being painful and potentially dangerous, keeping the testicles cold does not increase fertility.  Increased scrotal temperature decreases sperm volume, but this does not mean cold temperatures improve this rate.  Taking care to keep cool before intercourse is the best method for increasing your reproductive rate.

Myth: More semen increases conception time.
Fact: Many believe bigger volumes of semen increases conception time, but this is actually a myth.  The fact is the quality of semen is just as important as volume.  Combining both factors maximizes a couple's ability to conceive. 

Myth: Infertility doesn't really exist.  Just relax and you'll get pregnant!
Fact: This myth is believed by most couples.  It is not true, however.  10% of couples each year face fertility issues, and that number is rising.  Getting medical help for fertility issues resolves nearly all cases, so it is important not to ignore it.

Myth: Infertility is a woman's issue.
Fact: Half of all fertility issues are a man's issue.  Male infertility affects half of all couples, but many do not report it because of a lack of information. 

Myth: Stress causes infertility.
Fact: Stress affects sex drive, but it does not affect infertility.  Getting rid of stress will not increase fertility either–it is a medical issue, not a psychological one.

 ‘viagra increases sperm count’ - Viagra does not increase sperm count but helps a man maintain or get an erection.

‘the bigger your penis, the more sperms’ - Size of the penis has nothing to do with sperm count or fertility.
‘wear your pants too tight and you will kill the sperms' - This one is not a myth, so it is true. Temperature affects the sperm’s well being and it thrives in an environment that’s between 74 – 7 degrees cooler than our body temperature. Sperm motility declines when the environment is not conducive. Men in tropical climate, compared to their male counterparts in cooler climates, have a lower sperm count on average. A normal count is about 20 million sperms or more.

More facts:

Male infertility can be caused by any of the following:
  • too much heat around the testicles (affecting sperm count)
  • high levels of free radicals (example, men who smoke in excess)
  • taking excessive alcohol
  • too much smoking
  • stress
  • childhood infections like mumps that may affect the testes and sperm count
  • undescended testes where the testes is in a abnormal position – stays too high in the groin area
  • genetic abnormalities
  • obesity, causing testosterone/ ostrogen imbalance
  • impotence
  • medical history with prolonged illness like liver or kidney failure
  • some drugs and medication may affect the hormones and formation of sperm
  • trauma to the groin due to accidents or sports injury
  • varicceles – a congestions of veins on top of the testes (increases temperature of the testes, affecting sperm count)
  • blocked epididymes caused by scarring like after infection with Chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • untreated low grade infection with inflamed cells in the semen
  • prostate cancer
  • anti-cancer chemotherapy
  • immoderacy sperm antibodies
  • retrograde ejaculation where the sperm flow backwards into the bladder instead of being ejaculated from the penis during an orgasm and they would be lost of discharged next time the bladder is emptied

Sperm Bank Jokes

One day a man was talking to his aunt and tells her she needs a job so she goes out and looks for one the next day.
She calls up her nephew and tells him the news. He asks, “Where did you find a job at?”
She replies, “At a sperm bank.”
He says to his aunt, “Well what do you do there?”
She says, “I greet and say goodbye to the men.”
He says, “Well what do you say when they enter?”
She says, “Hello, please wait over here.”
He continues, “What do you say when they leave?”
She replies with honesty, “Thanks for cumming.”

Q. How do you cancel an appointment at the sperm bank?
A. Ring them up and say you can't come
Boy: Dad, why is sperm donation more expensive than blood donation?
Dad: Because its handmade.