A (Relatively) Easy Guide to becoming a Sperm Machine
As I have previously mentioned in articles on this website, unlike ladies who are egg warehouses, we gents are sperm factories. We have all the ingredients in our bodies to make sperm every single day of the working week and even at weekends sometimes.
We continue to make sperm from puberty right up until our dying day, although as you would expect, the older we get, the less we are able to make tip-top sperm. By the age of fifty, roughly half of all males have some degree of impotence. It really is that common, we just tend not to talk about it that much.
Anatomically, the testicle factory is divided into two departments; the department of sperm production and the department of testosterone production (which is essentially the hormone that makes us ‘male’).
These departments work separately and the relationship between testosterone levels and sperm production is relatively independent.
It does not follow that high testosterone levels means high sperm production; in fact it’s quite the opposite. Those gym bunnies who work out and supplement their diets with testosterone either by injection or other means, are more often than not hairy, sweaty and strong but the chances are, they wouldn't make it into the olympic sperm squad.
So here are some pointers to getting yourself a good sperm count:
- Keep cool; especially your testicles. They hang outside the body because sperm is best produced at a core temperature of two degrees below body temperature. Anything that heats up your testicles – such as hot baths, tight underwear and working in a hot environment, will lower your sperm count. Therefore cool your testicles by wearing loose fitting underwear. Avoid hot baths.
- Don't smoke. Don't ever smoke, and if you do, give up because as sure as nicotine will eventually kill you, it will kill your sperm.
- Eat well. Avoid junk food. Give yourself a treat now and again but if you eat rubbish, don't naturally expect to have great sperm. It just doesn’t work like that.
- Try not to be overweight. Overweight and underweight people for that matter are less fertile than those of a normal weight. Divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared and the result should ideally be between 25 and 30.
We all know of Mr X who lives down the road who weighs 25 stone and has got 10 children. He may well have started with a bucketful of sperm but believe me, if he weighed 12 stone, he would probably have had twenty.
- Health supplements are sometimes of little benefit, especially the expensive ones. It sometimes beggars belief what some health foods claim to provide you with. A good healthy diet is the strong foundation, and if your sperm need an extra boost, take some cheap supplements – take a look at the full list we recommend on our 'Top Tips for improving fertility' page. There is no need to go for the reassuringly expensive “Superman Supplements” – it’s often all marketing and little substance.
- Don't be too fit, and avoid all of those get fit quick food supplements. Although they might make you seem ‘manlier’, they'll do nothing for your sperm count.
- Have a healthy sex life; the pipes in and around your testicles need clearing out every five or six days to get rid of impurities that may affect sperm performance. Ejaculate too often and you produce baby sperm, too little and you get old Grandpa sperm.
- If you have to take medication and you are trying for a baby, be sure to ask your doctor about its effect on sperm production and if it does, ask if there is an alternative treatment that may have less of an effect on sperm production.
If you suffered from undescended testicles as a child, or any other below the belt operations, or if you have suffered from some any contagious diseases in your formative years, get a sperm check. They may have harmed your factory.
- Alcohol. There is no doubt that alcohol can be detrimental to sperm production so be careful what you drink. Too much alcohol can have detrimental effects on fertility and also the health of the baby. There’s no real need to stop drinking alcohol altogether but a significant reduction in intake is well worthwhile.
- There’s a large extent to which fertility is hereditary, so my final advice is to pick your Dad carefully. He can have a remarkable effect on your future fertility!
Don't forget, sperm are amazing animals. To swim from the testicle to the egg is the equivalent of a man swimming from Liverpool to New York, at 600 miles per hour! They are remarkable creatures, look after them. And before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle or start taking nutritional supplements, talk through your plans with your medical team.