Fertility

Should you be Saving Sperm when TTC?

Eloise Edington  |   29 Oct 2021


When you begin trying to conceive, you might find that friends or family offer unsolicited advice, some useful and some misinformed or even counterproductive.

At Fertility Help Hub, we want to ensure that you are well informed to make the best decisions with regard to fertility and conception. Read on to find out why fresh is best when it comes to sperm.

By Katherine Compton

Is ‘saving’ sperm a thing?

A common myth is that men should save their sperm until the fertile window for optimal chances of a successful conception. However, this is not an accurate depiction of the functionality of sperm. Sperm cannot be “saved”. Hundreds of millions of sperm can be produced and they are healthier at their earliest stage. From this point forward, sperm will begin to degrade until the motility is low and quality become poor, hindering the likelihood of conception. By “saving” sperm, you may be worsening the quality and lowering the motility of your sperm right at the time you need it most (during the ovulation window).

Therefore, more sperm is not always best as most of the “saved” sperm will be dead or inadequate. While it only takes one sperm to fertilise an egg, it takes millions of sperm for that single one to be able to travel to the egg. The supporting sperm would need to be at their healthiest to enable fertilisation.

What is the right advice?

Studies have shown that sperm motility and morphology are reduced after five days of ‘saving sperm’ as it is much older. Younger sperm has more promising results.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommend that you should have intercourse every few days during the month and every other day during the time of ovulation to keep sperm quality and motility healthy.

Overdoing it could also jeopardise your chances of conception as much as ‘saving’ sperm can. If you are concerned about the quality of your sperm, it is best to consult with your fertility specialist.

Further suggestions for improving sperm and fertility

Temperature

Overheated testicles can cause weak sperm and low motility. To make sure sperm are at a comfortable and manageable temperature, avoid long and arduous exercise that could overheat the testicles, limit exposure to hot laptops, tablets and other such devices as well as hot baths.

Moderate exercise

Maintaining a moderately active exercise routine can improve your sperm quality and health. Daily but moderate exercise is a great way to make sure you are not overdoing it (which can hinder sperm quality). Moderate exercises would include swimming, yoga, pilates and brisk walks.

Healthy and balanced diet

Healthy foods are typically made of fresh ingredients, which can contain fertility-improving nutrients, for example tomatoes contain lycopene which are great for sperm health. The Mediterranean diet, which consists primarily of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats like avocados, olive oil and fish, has been acknowledged as a great diet for boosting male fertility. This diet would exclude eating a lot of meat and dairy products.

Sleep well

Stress can put a big strain on the proper function of your reproductive organs. Throughout the day, stress can build up and while there are plenty of relaxation techniques that may be able to help reduce stress, a good sleep pattern can be invaluable for de-stressing. Getting the right amount of undisturbed sleep can wash away the stresses of the day and subsequently improve fertility.

Avoid toxins

Environmental toxins or endocrine disruptors can cause infertility. These can be found in things like skin and haircare products, cleaning products, microplastics found in fish, and plastic storage containers. To better avoid these toxins you can reduce your fish intake to twice a week and double check the brands you purchase from as there are a lot of natural, eco-friendly products that avoid toxins or are openly fertility-friendly.  Replace plastic storage containers with glass alternatives.

Fertility friendly lubricants

TTC shouldn’t meant that you should compromise on comfort. While most lubricants contain spermicides that destroy sperm and hinder fertilisation, there are fertility-friendly lubricants that can improve sperm performance. FERTI·LILY Conception Gel contains fructose, which energises sperm and gives a speed boost to enable the sperm to reach the finish line! For 15% off, use code: HUBBUNDLE, at checkout.

Fertility supplements

Through diet alone, it can be difficult to guarantee that you are receiving the right amount of nutrients required to improve fertility. Some men find that fertility supplements help to ensure they are getting the right quantities. Beli has the number 1 prenatal supplement for men and they are backed by science. If you would like to learn more about Beli fertility supplements, use code FHH15 at check out for 15% off. 

At-home sperm testing 

If you want to know more about your sperm health, it might be worth having it analysed. Fertility testing can help you find out how your sperm is impacting your fertility i.e., speed, quality or perhaps DNA fragmentation could be affecting conception. Knowing the root cause can help you understand how to fix it. By advocating for yourself and getting your fertility tested, you will be able to understand if fertility specialist treatment is needed, what specific nutrients you may want to look for in a male prenatal and other lifestyle changes to try.

Legacy offers the most advanced semen analysis kit available. They analyse the five key factors of sperm health, including assessment of sperm DNA fragmentation, which no other at-home semen testing kit offers. Use code: DADLIFE65 at checkout for $65 off your testing kits.

Hopefully this article has busted a common myth and also given you some ideas on how you may be able to improve your sperm health with small lifestyle changes.

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