Understanding your sperm analysis

Sperm health depends on various factors, including quantity, movement and structure, this can be determined by a simple semen analysis.

  • Quantity- A low sperm count is also called oligospermia. A complete absence of sperm is called azoospermia. Your sperm count is considered lower than normal if you have fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
  • Movement (sperm motility)An essential function of healthy sperm cells is their ability to swim. Sperm motility is measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample of semen. Your morphology is considered low when the total morphology is lower than 40%, progressive motility should ideally be over 32%
  • Structure (morphology)Morphology refers to the shape of your sperm, or what it looks like under a microscope. Specifically, it looks at the shape of the sperm head and the size of the sperm. The head shape is important because it affects the sperm’s ability to dissolve the outer surface of an egg and fertilize it. Sperm morphology ranges indicate what percent of sperm are considered normal in size and shape. These sperm are the most likely to be able to fertilize an egg and should ideally be higher than 4%.

The following are the healthy or normal semen analysis results, as determined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Total sperm count in ejaculate39–928 million
Ejaculate volume1.5–7.6 mL
Sperm concentration15–259 million per mL
Total motility (progressive and non-progressive)40–81 percent
Progressive motility32–75 percent
Sperm morphology4-48 percent

What can be done to improve sperm quality?

You can take simple steps to increase your chances of producing healthy sperm which include lifestyle changes.

  • Exercise regularly- Studies found that men who did outdoor activities or lifted weights for about 3.2 hours a week had higher sperm counts  than men who didn’t exercise at all.
  • Quit smoking and lower alcohol intake– It is proved that smoking and alcohol have a noticeable negative effect on semen quality and sperm function.
  • Lower stress levels- unnecessary stress may affect the male reproductive system negatively. It is recommended to avoid cycling, excessive exercise, prolonged sitting (long rides for example) and wearing tight clothing (underwear or pants). Your testicles hang away from your body so that they remain 35 to 37°C, which is cooler than your body temperature. This is the optimal environment for sperm production. Wearing tight underwear, jeans, or pants pushes your testicles against your body and raises their temperature, which can affect sperm viability.
  • Radiation– Radiation is known to harm many systems in the body. Avoid placing cell phones in your pocket or laying your laptop on the groin area.
  • Dietary changes-

    Add anti oxidant foods to your diet- Antioxidants are molecules that help deactivate compounds called free radicals, which damage cells. Plant foods are rich sources of antioxidants. They are most abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods including nuts, whole grains and some meats, poultry and fish. Good sources of specific antioxidants include: oranges, blackcurrants, kiwifruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, pecans. Artichoke, beans and beets.

    In Chinese medicine theory it is important to eat foods that tonify the function of the Kidneys and spleen, which contribute to the formation of semen. Foods that improve the kidney and spleen functions are: 

    Legumes – black beans, azuki, mash, green beans, lentils, and especially black beans.

    Vegetable roots, nuts and seeds: sweet potato, beetroot, celery root, parsley root, potato, coloraby, radish. Also mushrooms, sprouts, chestnuts, walnuts, sesame seeds / tahini, pumpkin seeds and sunflower.

    Animal protein – Turkey meat, chicken and eggs

    Pro Male- Herbal formula to help Improve sperm quality

    With a natural approach to reproductive health, Leaf of Life has formulated Pro Male, an herbal supplement specially designed to nutritionally support optimal reproductive function. This unique blend of Chinese herbs helps improve all aspects of sperm quality, including sperm count, morphlogy and motility.