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Male Fertility >> FAQ: What are the factors in sperm health?
More about the Swimmers
All the Facts About Sperm and Getting Pregnant!
Traditionally, fertility - the ability for a couple to conceive - has been conventionally (and wrongly) viewed as a "woman's issue". Today, we know that this is not the case, and that sperm health is just as important as regular, predictable ovulation and overall menstrual health. In other words, it does in fact take two to tango. A woman must indeed ovulate - but for a pregnancy to be achieved, healthy and motile sperm must be present to fertilize the egg.
The fact is, when it comes to infertility obstacles, about 1/3 of issues are the result of female fertility (cycle irregularity, hormonal imbalance, anovulation, etc) and 1/3 are the result of male issues (sperm count, abnormal motility, morphology, etc). The remaining 30 or so percent of all obstacles relate to both male and female issues together or cannot be adequately diagnosed. So, now that we see that male fertility health does in fact play a big role in achieving pregnancy, let's review some information on this topic, take a microscopic look at sperm, and discuss results on a recent study on the male fertility supplement, FertilAid for Men.
First off, what is required from sperm in human reproduction? Well, they do not call them "swimmers" for nothing. A single sperm is tiny - invisible to the naked eye - and the journey it must take would be comparable to a human swimming from Los Angeles to Hawaii. Well, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration there, but its not an easy trip, given the microscopic size of a single sperm. The journey begins in the male - and it will take a few months for sperm cells to develop and mature. To enhance sperm health and normal development, a diet rich in antioxidants is vital. Also, a healthy lifestyle and avoiding nasty habits like smoking will go a long way in ensuring that each sperm can be the best it can be.
During sex, sperm are ejaculated into the vagina. From there, the journey begins. The sperm swim through the cervix (with the help, hopefully, of the medium of fertile cervical mucus) and move into the uterus. From one end of the womb to the other, the sperm must swim... to finally reach the fallopian tube. By now, most sperm have likely not made it. They have either run out of energy or swam off in the wrong direction or perhaps went in circles or are knocking on the door of the wrong fallopian tube. Some sperm may have been neutralized by natural antibodies or hostile cervical fluids. Issues like like normal sperm motility, sperm count, sperm metabolism, and the presence of fertile-quality cervical mucus are all contributing factors in how many sperm will make it into the cervix, across the womb, and to the fallopian tube...
If the sperm is lucky, the woman has just ovulated and the egg is on the way. If not, the sperm must wait around for ovulation, or for the egg to drop. In most cases, sperm can survive in the womb for just a few days. Under optimum circumstances, and with optimum sperm health, a few sperm can live up to about five days, but that is rare. To provide a framework for understanding how sensitive sperm are - and how vital cervical fluids can be - a sperm exposed to air outside the human body will likely die within an hour, and most will expire in just a handful of minutes. If sperm can, on the other hand, make it into cervix and womb, their chances of survival are vastly increased. Given general sperm health (motility and metabolism - the ability to stay energized), most will make it just a day or two. And out of the millions of sperm that start the journey, only a few of the robust swimmers will make it.... That's why timing intercourse is essential in increasing your odds of conceiving!
In any case, the surviving sperm will linger about the entrance and lower portions of the fallopian tubes, holding out the best they can for the egg to arrive. If an egg appears, it just takes one single sperm to fertilize. Once the egg is fertilized, the joined genetic materials become a blastocyst. For the next five or six days, the blastocyst moves toward and hovers in the womb, quickly developing, cells multiplying, until it is ready to "implant" in the womb. When the fertilized egg implants - congratulations - you have achieved pregnancy. The journey of the sperm is over...
The FertilAid for Men Clinical Study
As you can see, when it comes to getting pregnant, sperm health cannot be neglected... Given the difficulty of the journey and the possible hazards along the way, one basic axiom is certainly true: the healthier the sperm, the better a couple's chances of successfully achieving a pregnancy. And when it comes to sperm health, the ability to make the journey depends on issues discussed above: Namely, sperm motility (or the ability to propel in a straight, sustained fashioned), sperm metabolism (having the energy to keep going), and sperm count. When you think of male fertility, most people think of count (or sheer number of sperm), but issues like motility and metabolic function are just as important. Sperm health is defined by interacting "parameters" - not just one single attribute.
The good news is that in 2006, a 90-day independent clinical study on the fertility supplement, FertilAid for Men, was conducted with "significant" results and findings. The study focused on men with abnormal sperm parameters. The results of the placebo-controlled clinical study reveled that FertilAid for Men supported a significant increase in “total normal sperm motility”. And according to the study designer, Dr. J. Ellington, “men with higher levels of motile, normally shaped sperm have shown better pregnancy outcomes in several studies.”
As we discussed in the first section, sperm motility is the capacity of sperm to move in a forward-moving manner. In evaluating sperm health, “normal sperm motility” is one of the key benchmarks in determining overall male fertility health - and in determining if the sperm can "make the journey". Here, the FertilAid for Men Clinical Study showed statistically-significant improvements in sperm motility. In addition, Dr. Ellington suggests that use of FertilAid may improve sperm counts among some men. Previous independent studies on various unique ingredients in FertilAid indeed suggest that this dietary supplement may address and improve many aspects of male fertility, including sperm count, metabolic function, morphology, and of course, motility. Looking at the big picture, these are the variables involved in getting the swimmers where they need to go...