A low sperm count does mean your partner cannot get pregnant. Yes, you heard this right! There might be various reasons for poor sperm quality, like low motility or irregular shape, but all these can be improved. IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the best option to deal with poor quality and a low sperm count. Sperm quality plays a significant role in reproduction; hence, sperm quality improves the chances of a successful IVF process in each stage, from fertilization to successful implantation and the birth of a healthy baby. DNA from the mother and father is combined to make an embryo once the egg is fertilized; however, if the DNA of either sperm or egg is damaged, it might cause IVF failure. But there is good news: DNA damage in the sperm can be improved, or the semen quality can be improved. To fix the problem, we must first understand what causes DNA damage. There are several possibilities, including environmental, physical, exposure to chemicals, lifestyle, or genetic factors. The couples who are taking IVF treatment must understand the role of semen quality for successful in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this blog, we will understand the correlation between sperm quality and the success of IVF.
Factors that affect Semen quality
Most people are unaware of what factors affect semen quality and why it’s important to manage it. Several factors, like sperm count, sperm quality, sperm motility, sperm morphology, and DNA fragmentation, affect semen quality during IVF treatment.
- Aging: Research shows that fertility decreases with age, and the sperm count decreases due to hormonal changes and environmental influences, or there might be a mutation in DNA. Decreases in sperm count affect semen quality and IVF success rates.
- Lifestyle factors: Factors like smoking, stress, sleep, and diet may impact fertility in both men. People who follow a healthy lifestyle have more quality sperm than people who don’t. Try to eat healthy, exercise daily, avoid smoking and alcohol, and don’t take too much stress to improve the semen quality and success rate of IVF.
- Medical Issues: For people who are dependent on certain medications for health issues, sperm quality may be compromised. Furthermore, due to certain infections, medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, or hormonal imbalances, semen quality might be affected.
- Genetic factors: The reason for low sperm quality may be genetic.
Other factors that might affect sperm quality are:
- Prostate infections
- Excess caffeine intake
- Antidepressant medications
- Chemotherapy treatments
How does sperm quality affect IVF success?
Many research shows that the success of IVF is correlated with sperm quality. The healthy quality of sperm helps in better fertilization of eggs and embryonic development.
- Fertilization: High-quality sperm increases the chances for successful fertilization. Sperm with good motility and morphology are some factors that impact IVF success.
- Embryo Development: semen quality leads to healthier embryos and implant successfully in the uterus.
- Pregnancy Rates: Better sperm quality correlates with higher pregnancy rates in IVF procedures.
- Miscarriage rates: Many studies show that low sperm quality may increase the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in embryos. However, poor sperm quality is linked with higher DNA fragmentation and can also increase the risk of miscarriage. Consult with an IVF specialist about Semen quality or miscarriage for better insights.
- Live birth rates: The Semen quality impacts the chances of a successful live birth after IVF. During the IVF procedure, the healthiest embryo is implanted in the uterus, and better-quality sperm creates a high-grade embryo, which leads to successful implantation and IVF results.
Key factors that determine sperm quality in IVF include:
Here are some key factors that impact sperm quality:
- Sperm count: For successful IVF, every ejaculated semen must have at least 15 million sperm in 1 ml. A higher sperm count increases the chances of successful fertilization.
- Sperm motility: The ability to move sperm is known as mortality. If 32% of the sperm can travel forward, it is regarded as normal. High-motile sperm is used in the IVF process.
- Sperm morphology: The morphology of sperm is defined as the sperm’s size, shape, and structure. The head and tail of the sperm are oval shaped, which allows movement of sperm. The tails allow smooth movement towards the direction of the egg and its head. It carries the enzyme which helps to break the egg and transfer the genetic material to the egg. The abnormalities in shape might be the reason that can impact its capability to fertilize the egg.
- DNA Fragmentation: Another factor that may impact fertility is DNA fragmentation. The problems that arise in fertilization, miscarriages, and genetic abnormalities in offspring are linked with DNA fragmentation.
Tips to boost sperm quality and increase IVF success
If you are trying to get pregnant, you must know how to increase sperm count to improve your chances of getting pregnant. A healthy sperm count is necessary for fertility. A healthy sperm count is necessary for fertility. Normally, semen contains 400 million to 300 million sperm per milliliter. Here are several tips that may help boost sperm quality:
- Take a balanced diet: It is important to take a balanced diet to promote good health. Ensure your diet is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and coenzyme Q10 support sperm health.
- Regular Exercise: Regular exercise improves the quality of sperm as well as overall health. Joining a gym or exercising at home is your choice.
- Manage Weight: A healthy weight is the key to managing your sperm count and quality. Take control of what you eat and how you eat, and manage your weight.
- Manage Stress: Stress is a significant factor that impacts sperm quality. Avoid stress, and practice stress-relieving activities like meditation and yoga.
- Good Sleep: 8-9 hours is essential for healthy semen quality.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking and drinking have adverse effects on semen quality. However, men who are already facing issues of low sperm quality must avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Avoid Toxins: During high pollution days, avoid going outside to minimize exposure to environmental toxins, chemicals, and pollutants that might harm sperm quality.
- Heating: Heat also negatively affects sperm quality. Avoid using a laptop on your lap and wearing tight clothing that raises the testicular temperature.
- Medications and supplements: Some supplements can impact semen quality, like folic acid, zinc, and selenium, which might benefit sperm quality. Consult a healthcare provider before adding any medicine or accessories to your diet.
- Health check-up: Take regular health checkups to detect and treat any medical conditions that might affect semen quality, such as hormonal imbalances or infections.
When to seek Help
IVF for male infertility is the best treatment option. We have discussed the factors that impact sperm quality, like motility, morphology, and genetic integrity. For successful fertilization to develop healthy embryo implantation, semen quality is key. If you are confused, consult with an IVF specialist to address semen quality to ensure the overall success of the procedure.