The reproductive system in males includes the scrotum, penis, sex glands, testis and the spermatic ducts. These organs work in tandem to produce male reproductive cells called sperms as well as semen.
During sexual intercourse, the semen and sperm enter the woman’s vagina where it can fertilize her eggs and lead to conception. All this is possible when the male reproductive system is working well, with proper co-ordination between the different sex organs.
Sperm count is the measurement of how many million sperm there are in each milliliter of fluid (semen). The accepted standard for a normal sperm count is 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
If a man’s sperm count is less than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen, he is considered to have a “low” sperm count, medically known as oligozoospermia. A sperm count less than 5 million sperm per milliliter of semen is referred to as severe oligozoospermia. When no sperm are present in a given semen sample, this is called azoospermia.
It is the ability of a sperm to achieve fertilization and is thus a measure of fertility in a man. The main factors affecting sperm quality are age, heat, physical trauma, certain medications, hormones and dietary factors. Continuous and excessive exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic waves (like in mobile phones) is also known to adversely affect sperm motility and potency.
Seminal motility is defined as the forward, swimming motion of sperm. In order to fertilize the egg, it must travel quickly through the female reproductive system which requires strong swimming action.
The chemical composition of semen gives it a thick, sticky consistency and an alkaline pH (i.e. non-acidic property). This helps the semen to remain within the vagina after intercourse and neutralize the acidic environment of the vagina and thus helps fertilize the eggs.
Low sperm count and low sperm motility are common causes of male infertility. Fertility experts estimate that male infertility is the cause behind up to 50% of couples experiencing fertility issues. As a result,it is important for the male partner to undergo a comprehensive semen analysis at the earliest sign of trying to conceive difficulties.
Compared to many of the female fertility tests and exams, semen analysis i.e. test for male fertility is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive, and produces results quickly, making it a valuable tool for couples trying unsuccessfully to conceive.
Various supplements are believed to be helpful in improving sperm count and seminal motility among men. The commonly used supplements, classified according to their actual usefulness, as proven by scientific studies are compiled here.