In this next installment of Fertility Logia, Dr. Angeline Beltsos, MD of Vios Fertility Institute talks about the importance of sperm health.
Fertility Logia: Sperm Health
Last time, we discussed egg health. When you’re trying to get pregnant, sperm health is just as important. Let’s now take a look at sperm health, and why it’s important for conception, and a healthy baby.
10 things to know about Sperm Health and Fertility
- How long does it take to make a sperm? Sperm comes from the Greek word “sperma” for seed. In order to make a baby, a strong sperm and a healthy egg are needed. It takes 3 months to grow the sperm from the seedling form to a mature, healthy sperm. Physical stresses like fever or exhaustion can redirect the precious resources of the body to healing and sperm production is ignored; sperm can be less optimal even 3 months later.
- Where is most of the sperm in an ejaculate? The highest concentration of sperm is seen in the beginning rather than the end of an ejaculate. Interestingly, the really fast swimmers are out from the start. They hit the ground running!
- How long do sperm live? Sperm can live up to 3-5 days in the cervical area so they are ready and waiting when the egg shows up. A woman ovulates around day 14 of her 28-day cycle.
- Do sperm like heat? Warmer temperature can affect the quality of sperm. Avoiding hot tubs, Jacuzzis, or hot yoga is wise, as the heat can slow down the swimming. Looser underwear is often better for that reason as well.
- Do cell phones bother sperm? Electromagnetic waves from laptops and cell phones might also bother sperm production. Keep the laptop on the table or pillow and try to store your phone in your breast pocket or suit coat — not in your front pants pocket.
- How many sperm are there in a sample? On average there are 20-100 million sperm per teaspoon of fluid. Amazingly, there are millions, but very few find the egg.
- What size are sperm? Sperm cells are very tiny — in comparison the egg is 30 x bigger! Each sperm is about 0.002 inch and cannot be seen without a microscope.
- What does the sperm look like? It has a head, which contains half the DNA necessary to make a baby. The middle is packed with mitochondria which gives it the energy to make is swim really fast. The tail is like a long string that whips to push the sperm along.
- How fast can a sperm swim? A sperm moves 8 inches per hour which is wicked fast considering how small it is.
- How do they find the egg? An egg releases a chemical, which like perfume, attracts the sperm to the egg and helps them meet in the fallopian tube.
Understanding your Sperm Health and Fertility
The sperm factory never shuts down and even sperm that does not swim can make a baby. These facts are very important to consider as we review the impact of sperm health and trying to have a baby. As we start 2017, we must actively consider applying what we know to make our dream of a family a reality.
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings… (or is a sperm without a tail).” ~ Salvador Dali.
Angeline N. Beltsos, MD is CEO and Medical Director of Vios Fertility Institute. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), practicing medicine since 1991. Dr. Beltsos is also the Clinical Research Division Director of Vios and participates in a number of research projects and scientific publications. She has received numerous awards in teaching and has been honored as “Top Doctor” from Castle Connelly for several years. She is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally, and a frequent media resource on the topic of infertility. She is the executive chairperson for the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International, an international conference of fertility experts.
As the REI Division Education Director for the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency programs of Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Lutheran General Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital Chicago, Dr. Beltsos helps educate future OB/GYN doctors. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Illinois at Chicago.
More Fertility Logia from Dr. Angeline Beltsos, MD: