Relationship between general health and sperm quality

A study recently examined semen data from 9387 men evaluated for infertility between 1994 and 2011. It showed that there is a direct relationship between men’s general health and sperm quality. Men with diseases of the endocrine, circulatory, genitourinary and integumentary systems all had significantly higher rates of semen abnormalities. Medical director of Fertility Associates Auckland, NZ, had this to say “This makes perfect sense from an evolutionary perspective as nature must have planned that healthy men should reproduce so they can be alive to raise and defend their young offspring. I think this finding creates some difficulties for reproductive specialists as ICSI allows men to have children, no matter how poor their general health is. This also raises ethical dilemmas over the health of the offspring in men with very bad general health”.

This is where preconception care comes in. Essentially what it is, is improving the general health of both parents which improves sperm and egg quality and hormone balance. It is very satisfying when I see a man with poor sperm count, motility and/or morphology complete a preconception care program and do a follow up semen test to find greatly improved sperm quality and increased testosterone levels. It is hard for men to understand why they need to do this now when their own fathers and grandfathers never had to do it. The answer is that we live in a world with an unprecedented level of toxins and it is hypothesised that this has played a significant role in the decline of sperm count and poor sperm quality in the average man. In fact, our grandparents naturally ate organic food in their youth because pesticides didn’t exist until after World War II. Our grandparents also didn’t have access to fast food which is not only toxic but severely lacking in nutrients.

Hopefully in the future we will see reproductive specialists working alongside naturopaths to improve health outcomes for both parents and their offspring. This will address some of the current ethical dilemmas that reproductive specialists have