Around the 15 percent of couples seeking pregnancy have fertility problems after a year of sexual intercourse, without using any contraceptive method. Today it is known that the cause is shared by women and men 50 percent and that they have the same role when conceiving.
Although fertility has been considered a women's issue for many years, Dr. Alberto Pacheco, director of the IVI Andrology Laboratory, from Madrid, recognizes that, to be a father, a man must also look at his biological clock and take care of himself because his life habits influence the quality, mobility and morphology of sperm.
How many days of sexual abstinence are recommended for the quality of semen to be better when you want to be a dad?
The quality and quantity of sperm is also a function of the days of sexual abstinence. The recommended sexual abstinence to be a father is around 2 to 7 days. Higher abstinences can increase the production of sperm, which accumulate in the testicle, and although there is more quantity, the quality of them is reduced. Lower withdrawal can reduce the amount, resulting in not having a sufficient count in an ejaculate.
Does man have a biological clock? Up to what age can fatherhood be delayed?
Man also has a biological clock, but it works with another system of measurement. In the case of the male, his sperm production cycle is very long, in such a way that there may be people in their seventies or eighties who may have sperm. However, it is true that as a man advances, sperm production decreases in a slower and more progressive way than in women. The volume and quality of the spermatozoa is lost with age.
What is the best sperm count, motility and morphology for being a father?
According to the new diagnostic values, a man needs to have a count of more than 15 million sperm per ml, of them at least 32 percent must have progressive mobility to be able to advance towards the ovum and at least one 4 percent of them must have a correct form. That does not mean that if a man does not reach those parameters he cannot have offspring.
What tests are carried out to know how is the quality of the seminal fluid? What does it consist on?
There are three tests to assess male fertility. The physical examination to rule out anatomical problems, a study of the seminal fluid to see that there is no problem with sperm production and, finally, an andrological study where, by means of a seminogram or spermiogram, the production, quality and morphology of the the sperm that are produced in the ejaculate.
Is male infertility treatable?
Male infertility can be treated in certain cases. If male infertility is based on a genetic component, that is, if the male has a genetically lower sperm count, it is very difficult or practically impossible to treat this infertility. Instead, if infertility has an environmental or extrinsic component, it can be treated because those environmental factors can be corrected. This is the case of factors associated with a high temperature, certain infections, a diet, the consumption of unhealthy substances or contact with chemical substances. Right now there are drugs with antioxidant power, because sperm are very sensitive to oxidation, which offer excellent results.
When the male's sperm has no quality, what solutions does the couple have to conceive?
If sperm quality is so low that we cannot achieve a natural pregnancy, there are always fertility treatments for the couple such as artificial insemination, which requires a minimum number of sperm, to more specialized treatments such as in vitro fertilization or microinjection that, With only one sperm, you could theoretically get a pregnancy.
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