Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Paternal Age Effect is Known In Ghana Read About the Diseases of Children of Older Fathers and Grandfathers

Ageing and quality of sperm

Source: Prof. E. Y. Kwawukume - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Chief Executive of Women's Health Foundation-Ghana/The Mirror
Last Updated: Sunday, 6 April 2008, 9:34 GMT

Lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental agents could affect the sperm and fertility or the ability to produce healthy sperm to optimise fertility. There are many couples in our society who, after several months of trying to achieve conception, have failed.

Many times, the man is not ready to seek infertility evaluation and they try as much as possible to do what they can on their own to produce healthy sperm. Unfortunately, in a majority of men, self-medication does not work!

Sperm, quantity and quality vary among male and there are several factors which can affect the production of healthy and optimum sperm. Some of these factors are directly under our control but others are not and there is not much that you can do alone but to seek help and have clear understanding about your health.

Women and egg production

The production of eggs by the female and the production of sperm by the male run different pathways. There is no strong evidence that sperms suffer the same age-related degradation or weakness as women's eggs, the older sperms do cause their fair share of genetic problems but in a much different way.

In contrast to females who are born with all their eggs, men have no sperm when they are born. They don't make any sperm until they reach puberty, when a prolific and persistent production begins.

The average man makes about 250 million sperms a day: that's about 6,000 sperm every time his heart beats. As a man ages, sperm production continues unabated, and there’s no strong clinical or scientific evidence that production decreases significantly even in 70 and 80 year-old men.

Sperm production is very high and the body has to cope with this production through DNA. It is therefore not surprising that this repeated copying can lead to small mistakes called mutations and mistakes invariably occur. This could lead to many diseases in the children of older fathers and grandfathers.
Sperm life

Sperms are made in the testicles which are housed in the scrotum. The scrotum is covered and protected by the penis situated above the scrotum. The temperature in the scrotum is a little cooler than outside and this place is ideal for the production of healthy sperms for the man. Anything falling short of this might result in disaster and defective production of normal, active and viable sperm.

A youthful sperm has three characteristic features.

These are the quantity of the sperm, the quality and the motility.
Though one needs only one tiny sperm to fertilise or join with the female egg to produce a baby, there must be enough to gather around that one "champion sperm" to join with the egg. Maybe about 200 actual sperms might reach the sight of the egg before one joins the egg but the man must be able to produce a minimum of 20 million sperms in a millilitre of semen to achieve this goal.

Although one needs millions of sperms to achieve conception, the quality is as important as the total amount of the sperm that is produced. It is now established that it is not enough just to have enough. The shape of the sperm and the structure are equally important. A man who has a third of his sperms active is better in achieving pregnancy than someone with a lot defective sperms.

A healthy sperm is one which has a nice, rounded or oval head and a long tail to move it forward. A sperm with a large or very small head or one with an irregular head is not likely to achieve a pregnancy.

In addition, a sperm with double tails or curled tails might not meet the criteria for a healthy sperm and therefore needs treatment. To crown it all, the sperm must be able to move and reach its target, which is the egg; otherwise a nice sperm which cannot move is sick and needs medication. A man is most likely to be declared fertile if at least half of the sperms are moving.

Source: Prof. E. Y. Kwawukume - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Chief Executive of Women's Health Foundation-Ghana/The Mirror



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