Male fertility

The following advice has been extracted from Endometriosis: a key to healing and fertility through Nutrition.

Sperm Quality

There are several aspects to sperm quality, there is the quantity of the sperm or low sperm count (oligospermia), the motility of the sperm (how well they move or swim) and the sperm can also be malformed (two tails, no tail). The deteriorating quality of men's sperm has been linked with the chemicals found in food, household products and the environment. Suspect chemicals include pesticides and phthalates (nonylphenois), a group of compounds that 'migrate' from plastic PVC wrappings and leak into foods such as cheese, meats, cakes, sandwiches and confectionary; phytoestrogens occurring naturally in soya beans, which are widely incorporated into infant milk formula; alkylphenol polyethoxylates, used in deteregents, paints and cosmetics; and ubiquitous industrial pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), which accumulate in fatty tissue. Even strong electro magnetic equipment field pulsations may be detrimental. Scientists have concluded that chemical pesticides, which mimic female hormones, may also have contributed to testicular cancer. The link is regarded as 'plausible' by the Department of the Environment.

Spermatogenesis in the human takes 120 days to recover if there have been mutagens around. If the sperm are being damaged by chemicals the man must take precautions for the next 3 months whilst a new supply is being made.

Sperm Quantity (Oligospermia) or low sperm count. 'One man in 20 is subfertile' stated the Danish Environment Ministry. Sperm counts of over 100 million per millilitre are classed as healthy, but 90 million or below can bring problems.

Sperm Motility At the IVF Unit in Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington they already use vitamin C to improve sperm motility. The sperm have to be strong and healthy to swim against the tide to make it to the ovary and once there they have to penetrate the cell wall to fertilise the egg.

Sperm Abnormalities The sperm can be damaged by chemicals and free radicals causing malformed shapes. This can impair the way the sperm swims, its ability to break through the cell wall of the egg and its sense of direction.

Nutritional advice Subclinical deficiencies of various nutrients can affect sperm formation. Vitamin C protects sperm against free radical damage, the level in seminal fluid is much higher than in other body fluids. Zinc is critical in male reproduction and low zinc status may contribute to infertility. Vitamin B12 also appears to improve sperm counts and motility, deficiency is linked to sterility. Vitamin A deficiency causes abnormality of sperm shape and if the deficiency is prolonged the spermatids and spermatozoa disintegrate.

Your body needs to be in balance and this is why it is very difficult to give general advise on nutrition when there is a problem. However, help is at hand, book an appointment at The Endometriosis and Fertility Clinic and they will look at your nutritional requirements and provide you with advise that puts you in control.