Male Fertility in 2020
What we know about fertility today
Not every couple is able to conceive. Various studies have confirmed that every fifth to seventh couple is not able to conceive despite repeated efforts. Statistically, 40% of infertility cases are rooted in male fertility disorders alone and an estimated 20% are caused by compromised fertility in both partners.
Regression of male fertility over time
Large scale studies in Scandinavia and France have discovered that the quality of sperm has more than halved over the last 50 years (1945 – 1995). The results confirm:
- The average quality (especially count, but also mobility and morphology) of male sperm reduces every year by 2%. A total reduction of 32% in spermatozoa was observed over the total duration of the study between 1989 and 2005.
- The scientists estimate that this trend is even more pronounced in the overall population, because the male subjects in the study were of above average health.
Three-month maturation process
The generation of male sperm (spermatozoa) is a complex process, which takes three months. The initial generation and maturation processes is very sensitive to disturbances and undersupply of nutrients. Especially vitamins, trace minerals and the amino acid L-Arginine are essential nutrients needed by the male reproductive system to produce healthy sperm.
Both the male sperm and female ova (egg) cells are particularly receptive to oxidative stress by free radicals. This oxidative stress must be minimised at all times, because it will have a significantly negative impact on both DNA quality as well as the development of healthy sperm cells.
This is where Supplemena Fertilmas leverages uniquely high dosages of micro nutrients. All key semen analysis parameters (quantity, density, motility/ vitality and morphology) may produce normal readings following Supplemena Fertilmas supplementation.
Sperm cells - crucial for fertility
Many men are oblivious to the fact that they themselves may be the cause of their involuntary childlessness. And yet statistics show how drastically sperm quality in men from industrialized countries has decreased over the last few decades. Fifty years ago the average number of sperm cells per milliliter of ejaculate was 100 million - nowadays this number has dropped to between 15 and 64 million. The age of men also plays an important role. Studies demonstrate that the ejaculate of a 45-year old man contains fewer agile and normally shaped sperm cells, compared with that of an 18-year old man.
Spermatogenesis - the miracle of life
Sperm cell formation (spermatogenesis) occurs in the seminiferous tubules of the testicles. It takes approx. 60-64 days in total. About 1,000 sperm cells are produced every second or 3-4 million every hour. During this process, the growing cells are very sensitive to harmful influences.
Only the best will make it
Given that the journey to the egg cell is very long and exhausting; the quality of the sperm cells is of crucial importance for successful fertilization. Only persevering and active lone fighters will make it to the egg cell, penetrate the surrounding cell layer and get into the egg cell.
Sperm quality - visible under the microscope
Sperm quality can be examined under the microscope to know the number, motility and shape (the spermiogram) of your sperm:
|WHO* reference values of normal sperm quality|
|Semen volume||2-5 ml|
|Number of sperm cells||15 million/ml or more|
|Motility||more than 50%|
|Rapid progressive motility||more than 25%|
|Normal shape||more than 30%|
|In many cases both the number and motility of sperm cells is reduced and there are often too many sperm cells of abnormal shape|
There is currently no bona fide way to improve deficient sperm quality, by means of drugs. However, it could be shown that certain micronutrients can have a favourable influence on the sperm quality parameters mentioned above.
* World Health Organization
The power of positivity
Many couples have only one great desire: to finally become parents. That puts a tremendous pressure on both parties, particularly when the goal is not realised immediately. And no matter whether it's an issue related to the man or the woman, the partnership and individual self-esteem can take a hit. It's precisely in this type of situation that a close cohesion and an optimistic outlook are needed to give yourself the best possible chance of conception.
Scientists estimate that in most Western industrialized nations, every 5 to 7 couples wanting a child are unfortunately childless, and the number is rising. In 40% of cases, the reasons for childlessness are attributed to men. In rare cases, the infertility can be a result of solely organic issues. But more often than not, it's simply due to decreased sperm quality.
Tips for men to enhance fertility
Make sure, in addition to a balanced micronutrient-rich diet, to include other lifestyle and environmental factors. As an example, a heated car seat or extensive use of the sauna will certainly not aid fertility, because both activities result in long periods of heating your genitalia. Smoking also affects sperm quality. Restrict yourself to just smoking one cigarette, or even better: Try to stop completely. It also helps enormously if you stay relaxed, even if the baby and conception takes more time than you'd planned.
Get to know your sperm count
The path to the egg requires downright athletic performance from our sperm! You need vitality and perseverance to achieve this goal. In recent decades, sperm quality has decreased in men, across the board. The average (per milliliter) ejaculate 50 years ago was at 100 million sperm, today it's somewhere between 15 and 64 million; a significant reduction. Also, the ejaculate of 45-year-old male, compared to 18-year-old, has about a third less sperm. Something to keep in mind, when trying to conceive.
Sperm quality and fertilization capacity
The formation and maturation of sperm takes place in the seminiferous tubules. It takes somewhere between 60 to 64 days. About 1,000 sperm are produced per second, per hour; we're looking at 3 to 4 million. During this entire process, the growing cells are very sensitive. The journey towards the egg cell is very long and arduous, so sperm quality is of crucial importance for successful fertilization: Only the "best" come through and are able to penetrate the surrounding cell layer to reach the egg.
Improve sperm quality with micronutrients
Male fertility can be supported by a balanced diet. Find out how:
Spermine and spermidine have a stabilising effect on DNA and show structural similarities with the amino acid L-arginine
In a study published in 2004, men who took L-arginine consistently for a period of six months recorded an improvement in sperm motility8. In an earlier study, 74 percent of the 178 study participants recorded an increase in sperm density and motility
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an important watersoluble antioxidant that protects the sperm from oxidative stress. A lack of vitamin C can lead to infertility and increase the risk of damage to sperm DNA
Vitamin E, selenium and glutathione
Oxidative stress and ROS can damage the cell membrane by lipid peroxidation and consequently immobilise sperm. The supply of antioxidants is particularly important for the maturation process of new sperm. Vitamin E, the trace element selenium and the tri-peptide glutathione minimise lipid peroxidation. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study it was shown that a daily dose of 300mg of vitamin E over six months improves sperm motility12
Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)
The mobility of the sperm requires a high energy supply. Energy levels have been shown to improve with increased availability of coenzyme Q10. In addition, coenzyme Q10 also fulfils antioxidant functions. In one study, 17 infertile men were given 60mg of coenzyme Q10 daily over a period of 103 days. The result of the study demonstrated a clear increase in fertilization rate
As an antioxidant, L-carnitine protects the DNA cell membrane from damage by ROS. L-carnitine is also important for energy metabolism in sperm as it’s needed to transport long-chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membrane. L-carnitine is also in high concentrations within the epididymis
Folic acid plays an important role in cell growth and division. Folic acid is also involved in the formation of human DNA. Sufficient folic acid levels contribute to healthy genetic material
Zinc has a significant impact on male testosterone production and is known for its influence on immunological processes. A lack of zinc can lead to a reduction in sperm density and to low testosterone levels. The daily intake of zinc improves in sperm quality and is thus an important component in the treatment of male Infertility
Targeted combined micronutrients may therefore have a positive effect on sperm quality and may also be used in parallel with other medical fertility treatments.