How To Check Your Sperm Really Healthy

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It
is important to understand how infertility is defined, once upon a time
a woman was called infertile or barren if she wasn’t able to conceive a
child within the first few years of marriage. However, marriages today
are more pragmatic, and family planning is an active choice made by
couples. Thus, women today have the luxury of time and options. Thus, in
today’s day and age, a couple is said to be infertile, if the woman is
not able to become pregnant within 12 months of them consciously trying
to conceive a child. There are several misconceptions about pregnancy
too. Most people believe that infertility has no solution, however, this
is not true. In case of women, infertility can be caused because
of PCOS, which is treatable, other issues can also be reversed with
simple fertility treatments. Some infertile couples can also opt for In-
Vitro Fertilization IVF, in men infertility, is caused because of low
quality sperm, and quality of sperm is affected by the quality of life
which includes stress levels, diet, and physical activity.

Nearly
40% of infertility cases in India are attributed to male factor
infertility. However, there is very little knowledge about the possible
risks for infertility, in fact, not much is known about the other causes
of male factor infertility. In the following section we will be
discussing male factor infertility in detail:

Stress
is a major cause of male factor infertility. Stress affects the
hormonal balance of the body, thus, continuous stress over a prolonged
period of time can affect sperm health.

Use
and Abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs, even chain smoking can negatively
impact sperm health including quality as well as count. Additionally,
drugs and alcohol can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Obesity can cause hormonal changes which can weaken the sperm count and quality, causing male factor infertility.

  • Exposure to Heavy Metals or X-Rays:

Exposure
to harmful metals or X-rays can cause a decrease in sperm production,
long term exposure to these elements may cause permanent reduction in
sperm production.

Though
the research content on this cause has been inconclusive, it is
believed that exposing the scrotum to high levels of heat may damage the
function of sperm production. It is believed that men who take one too
many sauna baths, or work for long hours on their laptops may overheat
their scrotums, leading to a decrease in the production of sperms.

  • Exposure to Harmful Chemicals:

Several
pieces of research have revealed that men who have been exposed to
harmful chemicals like pesticides for a long time, may suffer from
infertility caused due to the mutation of sperms. Long term exposure to
harmful chemicals may also reduce sperm production.

An
autoimmune disorder is when the immune system turns hostile normal
bodily functions, especially production of new cells. The immune system
sees these new cells as aliens and attacks them in order to the protect
the body. Autoimmune disease causing sperm death can cause infertility.

Celiac
disease is a disease of the digestive tract, caused because of gluten
intolerance. This disease can potentially disrupt the production of
sperms in the human body. However, this condition can be reversed by
adopting a gluten free diet.

Inherited
genetic disorders like Klinefelter’s syndrome, Kartagener’s syndrome,
Kallmann’s syndrome, and Cystic fibrosis may mutate the growth of
reproductive organs or their functions leading to infertility.

Infections
can have a negative impact on the flow as well as production of sperms.
Some infections can cause a reduction in sperm production, while others
may restrict its movement. Most common infertility causing infections
are STDs like gonorrhea or HIV.

Varicocele
is the medical condition caused by swelling and draining of testicles.
It is a common fertility issue and is easily treatable. However, how
varicocele causes infertility is still unknown but healthcare
researchers have hypothesised that it could be related to abnormal
regulation of the temperature by the testicles.

Tumors
both benign and cancerous can have a direct impact on male infertility,
by inhibiting sperm health either by attacking glands like the
pituitary gland. Sometimes, chemotherapy and radiation can also harm
sperm count and health.

This
is a really curious phenomenon, in some men, either one or both the
testicles do not descend completely into the testicle sack, this defect
occurs during the fetal stage itself. Men who have suffered from this
condition may have low sperm count.

Retrograde
ejaculation is the condition when semen enters the urinary tract, it
can be caused by various things like surgeries, diabetes, spinal injury
and so on. However, sperm can still be extracted from urinary tract and
used for in-vitro fertilization.

How Does Sperm Count Contribute to Fertility?

As
biology has informed us, a woman’s body releases an egg every month
which causes the start of the menstrual cycle. This egg is ready for
fertilization, but when a sperm does not fertilize the egg, the body
discards it, starting the menstrual periods. Now in order to fertilize
the egg during its prime, a man’s sexual organs release sperms. Millions
of sperms race inside a woman’s body to reach the egg and fertilize.
The ideal sperm count for successful fertilization is 15 million sperms
per millilitre. If the sperm count is below this number, then it can
cause male factor infertility.

What is a Semen Analysis Test?

A semen analysis test is conducted to analyse the health and quality of sperms. The fluid which contains sperms is known as “Semen”. Semen analysis is done to determine the following factors:

 

How is a Semen Test Performed?

Semen
analysis tests are fairly expensive deals, especially in developing
countries like India where sexual health in itself is a very hushed up
topic. Lack of knowledge, as well as demand, makes the creation and
maintenance of suitable infrastructure expensive, which in turn makes
the tests expensive. However, the biggest constraint is sample
collection, as the semen sample collected should be uncontaminated and
fresh, which means the patient has to come to centre for the process of
sample collection. Masturbation is the most clean and effective way of
sample collection, however, other options like ejaculating in a condom,
and ejaculation conducted through electricity are also available for
individuals.

The sample must be submitted to the lab within 60
minutes of ejaculation and should be at body temperature. Analysis is
done manually, with the help of microscopes and the report is available
within 24 hours.

What Are Home Sperm Tests?

Technology
has taken people to the moon and back and latest technological
developments are trying to protect the privacy of an individual. There
are several types of home test kits available. While some of these tests
only give an estimate of sperm count, others give an estimate of sperm
motility. The debate has been around on which is better count or
motility, but it is also an acknowledged fact that if the sperm can’t
move fast enough, fertilisation will not take place, no matter how many
sperms are there in one’s semen.

Keeping this in mind, the YO home
sperm test kit gives a live analysis of your sperm motility. This test
is 97% accurate, easy to conduct and takes less than 30 minutes. Not to
mention, it protects one from unnecessary embarrassment, provides
privacy and is cheap as well as reusable. The product is available at
medlife.com, at attractive prices.

How to Conduct Sperm Test at Home?

Most
home based sperm test kits are linked to mobile apps. Imagine it to be
like one of those home based diabetes monitors, which come with a
collector strip for blood samples. The kit comes with a small collector
strip where a person can load their sample. This strip is connected to
the mobile app. The app then guides the user through various steps of
analysis and produces result in less than 30 minutes. The collector
strip is easily removable, and there are additional strips available in
the market, making the product reusable.

Research on Sperm Tests Performed At Home?

  • In 2006, the journal Human Reproduction published
    the results of a research conducted by Bjorndahl L et al. The research
    was on examining the practicality as well as accurability of home based
    semen test kits. The researchers conducted that the tests revealed sperm
    motility, with an accuracy rate of 95% in just one hour. They even
    believed that this method is probably more preferable as it provides
    individuals with a sense of privacy.
  • In 2010, the journal Human Reproduction again
    published the results of a research conducted by M.A.Coppola et al. The
    research examined the sperm count accuracy of home test kits. The
    researchers discovered that the accuracy of these kits was around 97%,
    and concluded that home sperm test kits were a more affordable and time
    saving alternative to traditional sperm tests.

With these
research reports, we hope we have allayed any fear you harboured about
the safety and accuracy of these tests. So don’t worry and order now!

News on Sperm Count:

1. Research Reveals: Marijuana Can Lower Sperm Count

Some
years ago, research conducted by researchers from Denmark revealed that
Cannabis and Marijuana can cause male infertility. Inspired by the
results of this research, researcher Omer Raheem and his team from
Washington University, USA conducted a study with over 400 participants
who had been assessed for infertility. Raheem wanted to explore if the
Denmark study results would be emulated in the USA also. The study
included an assessment form filled out by the participants, these
assessments were then cross-referenced with lab results, the study began
in 2012 and was published recently.

According to the study,
nearly 43% participants had consumed Marijuana at least once in their
lives, while 18% identified as current users. The researchers reported
damage in sperm count, health, motility, and other counts for users,
both past and present, as compared to those who had never used marijuana
at all. The researchers concluded that more research needs to be done
to understand the negative results.

2. Choice of Underwear May Affect Male Fertility:

Earlier
this year, the journal Human Reproduction published a research report
conducted with over 600 participants, over a period of seventeen years
at the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. During the
course of the study, researchers collected data along with samples from
participants. The research then revealed that boxers or more airy
underwear lead to better sperm count, production and motility.
Researchers also found that more open underwear enhance the production
of a hormone called FSH, which further leads to the production of more
sperms. The research revealed that as compared to men who wear briefs
and jockeys, men who wear boxers had 25% higher sperm concentration and
17% higher sperm count. This revelation has led researchers to argue
that after negating other factors, the heat generated in the testicles
because of tight underwear leads to a fall in sperm count, and motility,
leading to male factor infertility.

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