Seasonal sperm

New research from the United States has found that men produce better sperm in the spring and autumn, although the reasons for this remain unclear. A big study analysed sperm samples from more than 29,000 men over a period of 17 years, and found that there were more moving sperm in the spring and more normally-shaped sperm in the autumn.

The researchers, from Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai in New York presented their research at the annual conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Denver. They have suggested that the milder weather might have something to do with this as the sperm will stay cool but men are likely to be more physically active and that they may be less likely to be drinking too much alcohol than in the summer or at Christmas. As it takes three months to produce sperm, it is not entirely clear what the causes may be – but the researchers make it clear that more research is needed to be able to confirm that their findings would have an impact on the chances of a successful pregnancy at different times of year.

Home fertility tests for men

DownloadedFile-17If you’ve read about the home fertility tests for men which you can buy over-the-counter, you may be interested to listen to BBC Woman’s Hour tomorrow morning where fertility specialist Tim Child from the Oxford Fertility Unit will be discussing the issue.

The tests, which cost £30 and take ten minutes, claim to give you the opportunity to check whether a man’s sperm is “normal” or “low”.  Although the test is apparently not bad at checking the number of sperm in the sample, what it can’t do is test how healthy they are – which is not ideal as having lots of sperm doesn’t necessarily mean that they are capable of fertilising an egg if the majority are abnormal.

Most family doctors will carry out a free sperm test if there are problems conceiving, and as this should be far more accurate I am not quite sure why you’d want to spend £30 on doing it at home when it will be far less accurate – but let’s see what the experts have to say about it tomorrow!