Sperm Count: A Reality, Misconception or a Myth

I have received countless of mails, text messages and calls from our ardent readers all over the globe wanting to know what could be done to correct insufficient sperm count, sperm motility and semen volume problems. Many want to know why the semen is less in volume as they grow old, or why some semen are either coloured with blood or cloudy. Many want to know the ideal colour of the semen and why some never ejaculate any at all.

We will be providing relevant information on sperm, semen and sexuality. Sit back, read and enjoy with your wife.

There are a lot of people who use the term sperm and semen interchangeably and truly believe that they are one of the same. First, I want to clarify this myth. They are not the same but they do bear several similarities. Let’s take a look at some of the things these two terms have in common.

Sperm for instance has a tail and a head and takes over 70 days to develop. It is produced solely in the testicles. The head actually contains the DNA which is the blueprint for human life. In other words, when the sperm mates with the female egg, it is the head part that enters the egg to create a baby. Sperms produced by the testes represent two to five per cent of the semen volume. The concentration of sperm in an ejaculation should be at least 20 million per ml, even though the total volume of semen should be at least 2ml. The total number of sperm ejaculated should be at least 40 million and at least 75 per cent of the sperm should be alive and at least 30 per cent of the sperm should be of normal shape and form while at least 25 per cent of the sperm should be swimming with rapid forward movement. Howbeit, it must have an indication of fertilising capacity. On an average ejaculation, a man expels 2 to 5ml containing 200 to 300 million sperm.

Whereas the semen, also called seminal fluid, is the whitish fluid which occasionally appears yellowish [if you don’t drink enough water regularly] is released from the male reproductive tract that contains both sperm and liquid. During ejaculation, some liquid from the prostate gland and seminal pipe dilute the sperm and provide a suitable slightly alkaline environment. Lower volumes of semen may occur after very frequent ejaculation and higher volumes are seen after prolonged abstinence. Semen clots almost immediately after ejaculation, forming a sticky, jelly-like liquid. It will turn to liquid again in 5 to 40 minutes. So, men that complain that their sperm is watery should kindly take note of the timing. If you start noticing it watery five minutes after ejaculation, you may be nursing a misconception.

Both semen and sperm are produced by the male testicles, the fluid produced by the testicles contains several chemicals, but it is particularly rich in testosterone. The sperm is created by the body for the purpose of procreating while semen is created for protecting sperm as it travels through the female reproductive system. Another way to look at this is that semen is really like a bodyguard and its purpose is to take sperm to its destination unharmed.

The male body only produces a certain amount of sperm cells, the quantity of which cannot be changed very much. The volume of semen, unlike sperm, can be increased significantly with changes in diet and life style or using supplements specifically formulated to increase semen volume. Kindly call me for these natural supplements. Even when men undergo vasectomy surgery, the volume of the semen may still be relatively voluminous while there is a drastically or total reduction of sperm. The advantage of increasing semen volume is that it can protect the sperm better and thus increasing the chances of fertilising the female egg. This helps to increase male fertility.

In addition, greater volume of semen drastically increases the intensity of the male orgasm. The more semen a man has to ejaculate, the longer it takes and more contraction are required to ejaculate it. Therefore, semen is sperm combined with bodily sugars which give it the ability to shoot out the way it does. That way, husbands have better chances of getting their wives pregnant. Although ejaculation of semen accompanies orgasm and sexual pleasure, erection and orgasm are controlled by separate mechanisms and semen emission is not essentially for enjoyable sex in most people.

Many of our readers have asked, ‘how long do sperm live? Really, it depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is where the sperm is located at that particular time. If on a dry surface, such as clothing or bedding, they are dead by the time the semen has dried. If in water, sperm will likely live longer because they thrive in warm, wet environments. Inside the vagina, they can live for up to five days depending on the conditions of the vagina. If the environment of the vagina is not healthy, sperm will die by the second. If the vagina is too wide, the sperm pour out immediately the man pulls off and spill and die instantly. If couples have sex even a few days before the wife’s ovulation, there is a chance of achieving a pregnancy.

A couple once asked me, ‘Madam, how many sperm do we need to achieve a pregnancy?’ It takes just one sperm to fertilise an egg and achieve pregnancy, but for each particular sperm to reach and fertilise an egg, it takes lots of effort like swimming well to its destination and there are millions of sperm competing for such. The average ejaculation contains close to 100 million sperm, according to the World Health Organisation, but men who have fewer than 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen may be at risk for having infertility issues.

A curious couple asked, ‘Why are so many sperm released if it takes only one to make a baby? To meet the waiting egg, the semen must travel from the vagina via the fallopian tubes, and this is essentially a strenuous journey that eventually few sperm survive due to the fact that they die easily. Besides those who eventually complete the trip, penetration of the egg is still not easy at all. Because the egg is covered by a thick layer that makes fertilization difficult, experts believe this process may be nature’s way of allowing only the healthiest sperm to fertilise the egg, thereby providing the best chances to produce a healthy baby. So the bone of contention here is that it is very paramount for a man to produce enough fit sperm cell with healthy semen.

Countless of couples have asked me over and again, ‘Is there anything a man can do to improve the health of his sperm? Yes; many of the things men do to keep themselves healthy can also improve the health of their sperm. This they do primarily by adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise; avoid smoking or abuse of drugs. Keep alcohol consumption within recommended limits. Try to avoid exposure to industrial and occupational hazards by following safety procedures and wearing protective clothing. Avoid exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, wearing boxers/shorts or immersing the testicles in cold water will improve semen quality as stress reduces semen quality.

Lastly, frequently going for semen analysis just to be on the safe side cannot be over-emphasized. A couple once asked me why it is necessary to do semen analysis. Semen analysis is a test that helps determine the causes of infertility; it provides information about sperm and semen. Here are some of the things the doctor looks for: amount and thickness of semen, the typical ejaculation is 2-6 milliliters of semen, or around a half teaspoon to one teaspoon. Anything less than this indicates that the semen may not contain enough sperm to achieve a pregnancy. And even more than enough semen indicates that the semen could dilute the concentration of sperm and may not be healthy either. Semen should be thick to start with and become thinner 10 to 15 minutes after ejaculation. Semen that stays thick may make it difficult for sperm to move. They also look out for sperm concentration, also called sperm density. This is the number of sperm in millions per millilitre of semen. Twenty million or more sperm per ml is considered normal. They look out for sperm motility; this is the percentage of sperm in a sample that are moving as well as an assessment of their movement. One hour after ejaculation, at least 50 per cent of sperm should be moving forward in a straight line. While the last thing they look out for is the morphology. This is just an analysis of the sperm size, shape, and appearance. Semen analysis is also used to check for the presence of sperm following vasectomy.

I had an elderly couple, both of them are way into their 60s; they wanted to know if men stop making sperm when they are older. Good news, unlike women whose fertility ends at menopause, men can continue to be fertile throughout life. Although sperm production decreases with age, men continue to produce sperm, and even elderly men have fathered children. There are various causes of drop in sperm count and increase in male infertility and I usually tell couples still wanting to have children to make sure these causes are treated and avoided.

Copyright PUNCH.

…May Allah give us a better understanding & guide us to accept the truth


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