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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Sexology Healthy sperm

Healthy sperm

Male fertility depends on sperm quality and quantity, which can be affected by a variety of things. There are steps you can take to maximize your fertility and make sure your sperm are top performers.

Normal sperm characters

Normal ejaculate volume is between 2 and 6 ml.


Sperm quantity

More than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

Of the millions of sperm in the ejaculated semen, only about 200 actually reach the egg in a woman's fallopian tube.

But, just one is needed to fertilize the egg.

Sperm quality

  • Sperm shape and structure (morphology) are equally important
  • More than one-third of your sperm are of normal shape and structure
  • More than 30% normal forms is a strict criteria
  • A normal sperm has an oval head and a long tail that propel it forward
  • Sperm with large, small, tapered or crooked heads or kinky, curled or double tails are less likely to fertilize an egg



To reach the egg, sperm have to move on their own — wriggling and swimming the last few inches to reach and penetrate the egg

Most likely to be fertile if at least half of your sperm are moving

Normal humans typically have total sperm motility of greater than 50% or 25% progressively motile sperm

How to improve the sperm quality

  • Take a multivitamin- A daily multivitamin with selenium, zinc and folic acid
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables- are rich in antioxidants
  • Reduce stress- stress might interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm
  • Get regular exercise- But don't overdo it. Men who exercise to exhaustion show a temporary change in hormone levels and a drop in sperm quality.
  • Watch your weight- too much or too little body fat may disrupt production of reproductive hormones
  • Quit using tobacco and limit alcohol
  • Avoid anabolic steroids
  • Avoid lubricants during sex- personal lubricants, lotions and even saliva can interfere with sperm motility. However, vegetable-oil-based lubricants are okay

Separating facts from fictions

Sitting on a bicycle saddle for more than 30 minutes at a time — especially if you also wear tight bicycle shorts — may raise your scrotal temperature and affect sperm production.

Prolonged cycling can cause genital numbness — a sign of damage to delicate nerves and arteries.

An illness that causes a fever can affect sperm production and sperm quality. But it won't affect fertility for two to three months, since it takes sperm 75 days to mature.

Sperm counts are higher in the winter and lower in the summer. This may be because cooler temperatures are associated with increased sperm production.