Is it possible to improve sperm quality? – Recommendations

By MD (gynecologist), BSc, MSc (embryologist), BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BSc, MSc (psychologist).
Last Update: 10/25/2021

In recent years, we can observe a decline in semen quality, due to certain factors related to the current lifestyle.

In this way, knowing the factors that affect sperm quality can allow the male to acquire certain healthy habits that will help him to improve his spermatozoa quality.

However, it should be noted that male infertility may also be due to factors that cannot be modified.

How is semen quality evaluated?

The test usually performed to evaluate semen quality is the seminogram. This test provides results about sperm concentration, motility, and morphology.

However, there are other important aspects in determining the quality of a semen sample, such as the integrity of the sperm DNA. Additional tests such as the sperm DNA fragmentation study should be performed to analyze this parameter.

Alterations in these seminal parameters can hinder or even prevent the fertilization of the egg and, thus, pregnancy. A man with poor semen quality is less likely to get his partner pregnant, although this will also depend on whether there is an associated female fertility problem or not.

Fertility treatments, like any other medical treatment, require that you trust the fertility specialists that will be by your side during your journey. Logically, each clinic has a different work methodology. Our Fertility Report will offer you a selection of recommended clinics, that is, fertility centers that have passed our rigorous selection process. Moreover, our system is capable of comparing the costs and conditions of each one so that you can make a well-informed decision.

Factors that influence semen quality

As mentioned above, there are some factors related to the male's lifestyle and, therefore, modifiable, that could be affecting his seminal quality.

Nutrition

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts, poultry, and low-fat dairy products may be associated with good sperm quality.

In addition, increasing selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, and carnitine intake, possible through dietary supplements, could improve semen quality. However, it´s not recommended to administer food supplements without a medical recommendation.

Tobacco, alcohol and drugs

In general, several studies have found that seminal parameters are worse in male smokers, although the effect may depend on the dose of cigarettes. In addition, sperm DNA fragmentation may also be increased in smokers.

As for daily alcohol consumption, it could affect the seminal volume and sperm morphology. This is because of a possible effect on testosterone metabolism and spermatogenesis, such as sperm production. However, occasional moderate consumption may not affect sperm parameters.

Regular consumption of marijuana, one of the most widespread drugs, is also associated with altered semen quality.

Obesity

Couples with obese males may be more likely to have infertility problems.

When there is overweight or obesity, the male is more likely to have oligozoospermia or azoospermia. These alterations in the number of spermatozoa can seriously affect male fertility and, therefore, cause infertility problems.

In addition, the relationship of obesity with metabolic syndrome and systemic proinflammatory state could increase oxidative stress. The main consequence of this oxidative stress would be an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.

Nevertheless, paternal obesity could also affect the results of assisted reproduction techniques results in terms of live birth rate.

Cell phone

Exposure to radiation from cell phones has been associated with lower semen quality, the effect of which may depend on the duration of exposure. In addition, several studies have observed a negative effect of cell phones on sperm motility.

This exposure could cause increased oxidative stress in the testes, which increases sperm DNA damage.

However, the results of the studies are not conclusive. This is why the possible effects of cell phone use on semen quality are not entirely clear.

Scrotal temperature

Testicular temperature is 2-4 degrees lower than body temperature for optimal spermatogenesis.

The use of excessively tight clothing can cause an increase in temperature in the testicular area, which can therefore affect spermatogenesis.

Similarly, resting a laptop computer on the legs can cause an increase in testicular temperature, as can the use of saunas, the position in which one sleeps or spending long periods of time driving.

Recommendations to improve sperm quality

Taking into account the aforementioned factors, there are a series of recommendations that the male can take into account to improve his seminal quality.

  • Controled diet and moderate physical activity to maintain an adequate weight.
  • Follow a Mediterranean diet, with a high content of fruits, vegetables, legumes...
  • Consult a specialist about taking a nutritional supplement.
  • Tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
  • Do not carry your cell phone in your trouser pockets, especially in the front pockets.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Do not rest the laptop on the legs and take care of other actions that could raise the testicular temperature.

It is possible that taking care of all these factors, in a sustained manner over time, may help to improve semen quality.

FAQs from users

How can semen quality be improved?

By Sergio Rogel Cayetano MD (gynecologist).

There are different ways to achieve the goal of increasing sperm quality:

Healthy habits
regular intake of antioxidants (tomato, nuts), not excessive exercise, ensuring proper regulation of testicular temperature (not tight underwear), avoiding hormonal disruptors (plastics, fuels...) are useful to naturally improve sperm quality.
Medications
They are usually medications that provide trace elements, vitamins and antioxidants externally, and their use is a good option before or during assisted reproduction treatments.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
always under medical prescription. These drugs reduce sperm DNA fragmentation.
Others
the use of hormones such as gonadotropins or testosterone may be necessary to improve sperm quality. These medications should always be used after a doctor's prescription.

Can you increase sperm count?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Yes, as long as the male testicles are functional and there is sperm production. There are nutritional supplements that can help improve sperm production, such as vitamin complexes and antioxidants that reduce the damage caused by free radicals to spermatozoa.
Read more

Can acupuncture help with teratozoospermia?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Yes, according to some studies. Broadly speaking, acupuncture increases pregnancy rates in cases of idiopathic or unexplained infertility. Also, there is proof that is can improve sperm quality in cases of oligospermia, asthenospermia, and teratozoospermia.

Can eating more berries improve sperm quality?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Yes, berries (including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries) contain antioxidant pigments, in addition to absorbing free radicals of oxygen. In other words, including berries in your diet is a good option to improve or protect sperm quality.

Some studies have shown that pigments found in the skin and seeds of berries have multiple medicinal properties, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, tannins, and other phytochemicals.

In particular, blueberries, blackberries, lingonberries, and strawberries contain high amounts of vitamin C and other nutrients. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from cell damage.

How can I improve amorphous sperm in semen?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

In the first place and as long as the cause of teratozoospermia is not a specific pathology, the male should follow some guidelines to modify his lifestyle, which may be interfering negatively in his reproductive state. Some men who give up habits such as tobacco or alcohol and follow a healthy diet see an improvement in their seminal quality after about 3 months.

Can olive oil help with poor sperm quality?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that is rich in oleic acid. If taken in great amounts, it helps destroy and eliminate the presence of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in blood flow, which can help reduce the risk of having a cardiovascular and/or brain disease.

In relation to reproductive health, regular use of olive oil (especially virgin olive oil) along with the elimination of LDL cholesterol boost the arrival of oxygen to the testes. In other words, spermatogenesis will occur in optimum conditions.

In this article, we further explain sperm DNA fragmentation. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can visit the following link: Sperm DNA Fragmentation - Causes & Effect on Fertility.

If, however, you are interested in knowing more about obesity and low sperm quality, we recommend you to read this article: Male infertility and low semen quality due to obesity

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

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FAQs from users: 'How can semen quality be improved?', 'Can you increase sperm count?', 'Can acupuncture help with teratozoospermia?', 'Can eating more berries improve sperm quality?', 'How can I improve amorphous sperm in semen?' and 'Can olive oil help with poor sperm quality?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Sergio Rogel Cayetano
Sergio Rogel Cayetano
MD
Gynecologist
Bachelor's Degree in Medicine from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche. Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology via M. I. R. at Hospital General de Alicante. He become an expert in Reproductive Medicine by working at different clinics of Alicante and Murcia, in Spain, until he joined the medical team of IVF Spain back in 2011. More information about Sergio Rogel Cayetano
License: 03-0309100
 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV
 Zaira Salvador
Zaira Salvador
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Valencia (UPV). Biotechnology Degree from the National University of Ireland en Galway (NUIG) and embryologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction, with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI) More information about Zaira Salvador
License: 3185-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Cristina  Algarra Goosman
Cristina Algarra Goosman
BSc, MSc
Psychologist
Graduated in Psychology by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Clinical Psychology by the European University Center and specific training in Infertility: Legal, Medical and Psychosocial Aspects by University of Valencia (UV) and ADEIT.
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman

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