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Does the time of sexual abstinence influence the success of reproductive treatment?

By Paula Fabra Roca M.D., M.Sc. (gynecologist).
Last Update: 04/06/2022

Sexual abstinence, that is, time without ejaculation in the field of assisted reproduction, is fundamental for two main reasons.

Firstly, when it comes to evaluating the semen analysis. The semen analysis is the first test to be performed in the initial study of the male in the infertile couple and plays a fundamental role in the decision making process in assisted reproduction.

In order to evaluate the semen analysis, normal values are taken into account, according to the consensus of the World Health Organization (WHO). These values of normality have been carried out with some standards of sample collection (by masturbation, without the use of lubricants or condoms, etc.) among which are the days of abstinence. The abstinence for the realization of a semen analysis that later allows us to compare the results adequately should be between 3 and 5 days.

Secondly, days of abstinence may influence the results of assisted reproductive techniques. Although we need a minimum time for the creation of a minimum sperm count (2 days), the excess of days without ejaculation causes the concentration of spermatozoa in the seminal sample to be very high and this can be counterproductive. Spermatozoa generate waste substances which, if they are in contact with them for a long time, end up causing damage that affects their motility and the integrity of their genetic code.

Current scientific studies relate motility and the percentage of live spermatozoa to a shorter abstinence time. In fact, abstinence longer than 7 days is related to worse results of assisted reproduction techniques, in terms of lower embryo quality and lower clinical pregnancy rate.

Other studies support that fewer days of abstinence are related to better results in sperm DNA fragmentation studies.

Read the full article on: How Does Sexual Abstinence Affect Sperm Quality? ( 56).
 Paula Fabra Roca
Paula Fabra Roca
M.D., M.Sc.
Gynecologist
Dr. Paula Fabra has a degree in Medicine and Surgery and specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also has a Master's degree in Assisted Human Reproduction.
collegiate number: 51123
Gynecologist. Dr. Paula Fabra has a degree in Medicine and Surgery and specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also has a Master's degree in Assisted Human Reproduction. collegiate number: 51123.