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10 Facts About Sperm That Will (Probably) Blow Your Mind

Most of us picture a teeny tiny version of a tadpole when we bother thinking about sperm at all. But for couples hoping to conceive, these little swimmers are definitely on the radar–and they should be. Knowing all the facts about sperm doesn’t just make you positively lethal on trivia night, it actually puts you in prime position to optimize your chances of a healthy conception, pregnancy and baby. So let’s get to it, with these 10 facts about sperm that will (probably) blow your mind.

  1. The sperm factory never, ever closes
  2. Tick tock goes the (male) biological clock
  3. Sperm cells are teeny tiny–and they move in packs
  4. Just 3-5% of semen is made up of sperm cells
  5. Not all of those little swimmers actually swim
  6. Abnormal sperm can get pretty funky (we’re talking two heads)
  7. A man’s health & lifestyle direct affects his sperm quality
  8. Just one man in four has optimal sperm quality
  9. Sperm counts are declining worldwide
  10. Poor sperm quality means the risk of birth defects and miscarriage go up

1. The Sperm Factory Never, Ever Closes

Roughly 1,500 new sperm cells are “born” every single second, which adds up to a lot of sperm. But before those sperm cells are ready for their epic journey, they go through a critical maturation process that takes roughly 72 days. During that time, a man’s health has a direct impact on the quality of those growing sperm cells. In fact, sperm health tends to fluctuate during a man’s lifetime—it’s a reflection of all those times he was sick or just making bad choices, like too much booze, smoking, inactivity, stress, not enough sleep, all that stuff.

This two to three-month maturation window is why experts recommend that men take steps to clean up their act before they try for a baby. Ideally, a man should lay the groundwork a full six months before hoping to conceive—cleaning up his lifestyle and ensuring that he’s getting adequate amounts of the key nutrients shown to optimize the processes that drive conception. In other words, swapping the multivitamin for a high-quality prenatal vitamin, because yes, men should take prenatals.

2. Tick tock goes the (male) biological clock

The idea of the virulent eighty year old fathering children well into doddering senility is a persistent bugger. And sure, it happens, but it’s not the norm. The biological clock ticks for women and men alike, and while we’ve already established that the sperm factory is open indefinitely, the quality and motility of sperm rolling off the assembly line absolutely declines with age.

Older dads are also more likely to pass along genetic mutations. And while no one seems to be able to figure out that time machine just yet, proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help older men achieve healthier conceptions, pregnancies, and babies.

3. Sperm cells are teeny tiny—and they move in packs

Sure, you know that sperm cells are small. But we’re talking minuscule—teensy enough that you need a microscope magnified 400 times just to see them. They’re among the smallest cells in the entire human body. Meanwhile, a female egg cell is one of the biggest—almost large enough to see with the naked eye.

These itty bitty sperm cells more than make up for their size in sheer numbers. A healthy male’s ejaculation has roughly 55 million sperm—that’s six times the population of New York City—all in the hopes that one will lead to a conception. In fact, only around fifteen sperm will actually make it to the reproductive tract. When you think about it like that, it’s easy to understand why sperm quality as a whole is so important, and why taking steps to ensure all of those sperm cells are as healthy as can be should be a priority for men hoping to become dads.

4. Just 3-5% of semen is made up of sperm cells

The typical amount of ejaculate is between one quarter of a teaspoon and a teaspoon, and sperm cells make up just three to five percent of that amount. The rest is a cocktail of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, sugars, and other nutrients, all of which nourish those millions of sperm cells during their long, exhausting, and downright dangerous voyage. Think of it as the equivalent to the energy bars you’d pack to tackle the biggest hike of your life.

5. Not all of those little swimmers actually swim

You’d think so, but functional motility (i.e. sperm movement patterns) is actually a big hurdle for many sperm. And interestingly, newly-formed sperm in the testicles can't actually move at all. They generally fall into three groups—those that move in straight lines or big circles, those that move anywhere except forward, and the non-moving group. Hilarious visual, right? What’s even wilder is that a man is considered fertile if only 40% of his sperm are motile.

And here’s something interesting. Sperm carrying the Y chromosome actually swim faster than those with an X chromosome, because they carry less DNA. Some researchers theorize that the longer it takes to conceive, the greater the chances of having a boy.

Regardless of the DNA they’re carrying, sperm motility falls into the “quality” category, and again, you can improve the quality of sperm—including their ability to swim effectively—with the right prenatal nutrition.

6. Abnormal sperm can get pretty funky (we’re talking two heads)

Two heads, weird tails, missing parts—there’s a lot of funky sperm out there. Sperm morphology describes the shape of these little guys, and abnormal sperm are associated with lower rates of fertility. You can blame a lot of lifestyle choices on poor morphology, and you can improve morphology by dropping the bad habits and fueling up on the right nutrients.

7. A man’s health & lifestyle directly affects his sperm quality

A crummy, nutrient-void diet. A smoking habit. A beer habit. Too much sleep. Too little sleep. Too much stress. Not enough exercise. All of these poor lifestyle choices directly influence the quality and quality of a man’s sperm. The silver lining? A conscious effort to lead a healthier lifestyle, among its many benefits, can actually overcome the negative impact of all those risk factors. And it can happen faster than you’d think, which brings us to our next point.

Sperm quality is often an indication of a man’s health in general. Guys with low-quality sperm tend to have other health issues, particularly relating to hormones, skin conditions, and circulatory problems. That means you can work backwards — if you’re a smoker or dealing with obesity, it follows that sperm quality is going to be poor. Fortunately, taking steps to improve health as a whole will also improve sperm health.

8. Just one man in four has optimal sperm quality

Unfortunately, most men have pretty terrible sperm. A study from 2012 had the sobering finding that just one man in four can brag about his optimal sperm quality. That’s an issue on multiple levels, not least of which is this: Preconception health of moms- and dads-to-be can directly influence both a pregnancy and the health of a baby, including birth weight and brain development.

The good news? The most common cause of sperm deficiencies can be traced to a nutrient shortage, and proper prenatal nutrition—which includes supplementing with bioavailable forms of key nutrients—is associated with higher-quality sperm and fewer DNA abnormalities.

9. Sperm counts are declining worldwide

Studies continue to point out a troubling trend–sperm counts are falling, fast. Globally, average sperm counts fell over 62% between 1973 and 2018, and it seems to be getting worse. Experts are raising red flags about what this might mean for reproduction as a whole, and many are looking to potential causes such as environmental toxins and specific lifestyle choices.

Of course, even the very best men’s prenatal vitamin isn’t a cure-all. But committing to a daily prenatal is one of many positive lifestyle choices men can make to prioritize their health for better sperm quality.

10. Poor sperm quality means the risk of birth defects and miscarriage go up

Another reason healthy sperm is so darn important? It carries the DNA blueprint for the placenta, which nourishes a growing baby during pregnancy. What’s more, oxidative damage to sperm DNA, or DNA fragmentation, can have a profound effect on a pregnancy’s viability and a growing baby’s health. One study found that the sperm of men whose partners had experienced recurrent miscarriages had significantly higher levels of DNA damage than men whose partners carried a pregnancy to term.

THE BEST WAY TO BOOST SPERM QUALITY

Are you sensing a theme here? For dads-to-be, your best bet for healthy sperm is to commit to being healthier as a whole and make a point of adding a high-quality prenatal vitamin to the mix. Beli Vitality for Men is a scientifically-aligned men’s prenatal supplement made with the most bioavailable ingredients in their most effective amounts. Our formula is based on the latest research regarding men’s fertility nutrition—we’ve included everything you need to improve all the parameters of sperm health, and nothing you don’t.

The bottom line

When a man isn’t taking care of himself, it’ll show in his sperm. But the reverse is true too. If a baby is the goal, a clean diet, healthy lifestyle, and the right prenatal will make a huge difference in sperm quality. And here’s a happy bonus — the same nutrients that support sperm production also affect testosterone levels, which means a stronger sex drive and improved performance in the sack. It’s a win-win!

Additional Resources

When the plan is a baby, but you’re having a hard time conceiving, it’s normal to start wondering why. While there can be a number of issues in play, one tends to be overlooked: sleep quality. Specifically, men who have the sleep disorder sleep apnea could be at greater risk of fertility issues. Now, new research is drawing a more definitive link between sleep apnea and male fertility. Let’s review.

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Fact: You can’t look at a guy—or eyeball his semen sample, for that matter—and determine his fertility. It just doesn’t work that way. The only way to truly assess sperm health is with a semen analysis. But there are a few lifestyle choices and truths that may indicate whether a man’s sperm is healthy and happy. 

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For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

Fact: You can’t look at a guy—or eyeball his semen sample, for that matter—and determine his fertility. It just doesn’t work that way. The only way to truly assess sperm health is with a semen analysis. But there are a few lifestyle choices and truths that may indicate whether a man’s sperm is healthy and happy. 

Read More

While it’s lumped into the “bodily fluid” category, semen is a complex cocktail of compounds designed to support fertility. Like sperm quality, semen health can be influenced by lifestyle factors—an important realization for couples trying to conceive. From color to consistency, here’s what healthy semen looks like.

Read More

There’s a lot of chatter when it comes to male masturbation and what it says about a man’s fertility or whether it’s an issue when a couple is actively trying to conceive. And in the interest of clearing up the confusion, we’re taking a facts-based approach to the topic of men, masturbation and fertility.

Read More

For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

Read More

Raise your hand if you already know that you have a biological clock. From age 35 and beyond, there is a natural decline in testosterone and sperm quality. Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, sperm also tend to lose their "fitness" over the life cycle. But what does that mean—and does it really matter?

Read More

It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

Read More

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

Read More

Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm.

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

Read More

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Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

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Read More