1. After ejaculated, sperm can stay alive in a women’s body for 48-72 hours as it takes a long journey from the cervix to the uterus and finally to the eggs. Only a small number of sperm can reach that far.
2. Studies on the relation between body weight and sperm quality suggest that overweight causes sperm reduction. This is due to the changes in hormones, especially male’s testosterone that is converted into female’s estrogen, that occurs when body fat increases. Fat stored around the testes also raises the temperature to the point that is not ideal for sperm production.
3. Sperm is the male reproductive cell that is created in the testicles. Inside the testicles, there is a small winding duct that is approximately 800 meters in length that makes sperm, covered by the scrotum outside that helps maintain the right the temperature for the sperm production, which is 3-5°C lower than the body temperature.
4. There are 3 types of sperm motilities, categorized by the maneuvering pattern of sperm:
– Progressive motility: sperm moving forward in a straight line
– Non progressive motility: sperm moving in a curvy line or a circle
– Immotile sperm: sperm with no movement.
Sperm travels through the uterus with a speed of at least 25 micrometers/second to fertilize with the eggs.
5. The ideal temperature for sperm production is about 32-34°C. Having a hot bath more than twice per week can result in lower sperm production rate. In some studies, men with fertility admit that they are exposed to heat and humidity for a long time. However, the sperm production rate in some men can return to normal after quitting hot bath for 4-6 months.
6. Sperm normally generates ROS (reactive oxidative species) as part of its normal metabolism activities. ROS functions to destroy cell membranes, protein, and sperm DNA, causing sperm’s midpiece to defect. ROS also destroys sperm cell membrane that is composed of unsaturated fat. In smokers, the amount of ROS significantly increases, resulting in bad quality sperm.
7. Prolonged stress causes the body to secrete hormone Cortisol that disrupts production of sexual hormones and affect metabolism and may lead to being overweight, which in turns contributes to sperm reduction and sexual performance issues.
8. Chemotherapy requires patients to take immunosuppressants. Reproductive cells that create sperm are destroyed in the process. Radiotherapy kills sperm as well as cancer cells. Men who is undergoing cancer treatment should consult with the doctors about freezing their sperm to save for later use.
9. What to do to have healthy sperm
– Exercise regularly to maintain your weight and get rid of stress.
– Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
– Eat healthy food that is good for sperm: zinc-rich food such as oyster, red meat, spinach, etc.
– Eat food that contains vitamin C. It helps the body create amino acids important for sperm production, as well as protects sperm from ROS.
– Consult with the doctors when taking medication that affects sperm quality such as calcium blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, demasculinizing medicine, anabolic steroids, etc.
10. Sperm is frozen using liquid nitrogen that puts it to -196°C. Cryoprotectants are added to prevent cell damage in sperm. The freezing process will completely halt all cell activities in sperm cell. That means the frozen sperm can be kept forever, as long as the temperature is maintained.