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Sperm Health: What's Helping It and What's Hurting It

By HERWriter
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sperm health via Unsplash

It takes two to tango, and this holds just as true with regard to fertility. Male infertility issues actually account for almost 40 percent of cases in which a couple has trouble conceiving, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

Just as is the case with female infertility, there are many health factors in play for men that can determine how easy conception might be. Fortunately, some of these factors can be easily controlled with proactive lifestyle decisions.

When a man has healthy sperm this is a reflection of his well-being (putting aside complicating illnesses or physical issues). And choices that help improve sperm quality are often the same straightforward ones that lead to overall health. To understand how these choices specifically impact sperm, let’s review the major characteristics of healthy sperm: (1)

Count: The higher the quantity or concentration of sperm in a man’s ejaculate, the more likely he is to be able to fertilize an egg. 

Motility: Sperm that have low motility do not move quickly or efficiently, and are less likely to reach an egg.

Morphology: Shape is important. Healthy morphology means a single tail and an oval-shaped head. This helps the sperm swim and fertilize eggs properly.  

Here are some basic tips if you’re looking to conceive and stay as healthy as possible: 

What to Avoid:

Smoking Cigarettes

Studies continue to find that smoking cigarettes can negatively impact sperm health. One study found that men who smoked “had lower semen volumes, sperm counts, and percentage of motile sperm compared to men who did not smoke.” Men who smoked in their study experienced up to a “19% reduction in sperm concentration.” (2)

Drinking Alcohol

Consuming alcohol in large amounts can cause lasting problems with fertility. These effects include both reduced concentrations of sperm and reduced concentrations of sperm with good motility. This means that binge drinking can have a lasting impact on both motility and viability. (3)


Marijuana can also negatively impact sperm and lower the chances of conceiving. The sperm of men who use marijuana often swim much too quickly much too soon, exhausting themselves before completing the all-important journey toward an egg. 

Sperm are hyperactivate at the end of their swim in order to work through the exterior of the egg and fertilize it. Sperm that expend that energy in the beginning don’t have the energy left to fertilize an egg. (4)

Exposure to Plastics

Regular contact with plastics can cause problems for male fertility. It has been well-documented that endocrine disruptors, a common class of chemicals found in plastics and everything made with plastics from soap to your sofa, impact the body’s ability to produce healthy sperm. The increased presence of endocrine disruptors has even led to an increase in testicular cancers for men and boys. (5)

What to Focus on:

Dietary Zinc

Zinc is one of several minerals that can have a major impact in boosting sperm production, although there is some inconclusive evidence as to its effects, so it should not be considered a miracle drug. A 2002 study found that men with higher levels of zinc produced higher quality sperm in greater quantities. (6)

Weight Loss

For men who are overweight, losing weight may have a significant positive impact on their fertility. Overweight men have a “higher prevalence of low ejaculate volume, sperm concentration and total sperm count.” (7)

Staying Cool

Some fertility specialists believe that restrictive undergarments reduce the body’s production of healthy sperm due to increased body heat. Sperm cannot survive a normal body temperature, which is part of why they are produced and stored in the testes. The body does its best to regulate the temperature of the testes, and overheating them artificially with tight clothing or in saunas and hot tubs has an effect on the viability of the sperm. (8)

As men and couples start to speak more openly about their path toward parenthood, one of the things that they can help each other with are their lifestyles choices. Any time is a great time for hopeful fathers to begin taking care of themselves as a means of taking care of their future.

The Stork® OTC is one over-the-counter, non-invasive product that may help. Using cervical cap insemination, The Stork® OTC captures sperm and delivers a sperm score concentration to the cervix that is 3.23 times higher than that which occurs via natural intercourse, according to their clinical study.

To learn more, visit: http://www.storkotc.com/

1) Healthy sperm: Improving your fertility. The Mayo Clinic. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.


2) The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Male Fertility. US National Library of Medicine National, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.


3) Just five alcoholic drinks a week could reduce sperm quality. The Guardian. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.


4) Smoking Marijuana Lowers Fertility. Web MD. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.


5) Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Male Reproductive Health. US National Library of Medicine National, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.


6) Folic Acid and Zinc Benefit Male Fertility. Men Fertility. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.


7) The relationship between male BMI and waist circumference on semen quality: data from the LIFE study. US National Library of Medicine National, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved Date 3.20. 2017.

8). Boxers vs. Briefs: Increasing Sperm Count. Web MD. Retrieved Date 3.20.2017.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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