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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

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?

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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

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.

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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.

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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

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

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While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

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Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re staunch advocates of supporting men's fertility health in anticipation of fatherhood. In fact, our men’s prenatal vitamin, Beli Vitality for Men, is actually our flagship product. Today, we’re diving into the obvious and unexpected benefits of prenatal vitamins for men, starting with what actually happens when you start taking them.

Read More

Forbes Health recently reviewed our men's prenatal vitamins and we love author Leigh Weingus' take: "Beli Men Vitality Multivitamins first caught my eye because while I often see supplements that claim to improve fertility outcomes for women, I rarely see the same thing for men." We hear you, Leigh! Check out the full review here and read on for some highlights.

Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

We’re back with our second post in our “It Starts With The Sperm” mini series on the key roles sperm plays in conception, pregnancy and baby, and this time, we’re talking DNA. When it comes to male fertility, it’s not enough to have a high sperm count and top marks for motility and morphology. Without low levels of DNA fragmentation, a man’s fertility—along with his ability to successfully conceive with a partner—is affected.

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

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

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

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

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

Read More

While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

A few years ago, the keto diet was all the rage—a high-fat, low-carb way to shed pounds quickly. While it’s lost a bit of its luster, as all diet trends do, interest in the keto diet remains. Specifically, those hoping to become parents wonder whether following this way of eating could support fertility. Is a diet high in fat and low in carbs the answer? It’s possible. Here’s what to know about the keto diet and whether it might help support fertility.

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re staunch advocates of supporting men's fertility health in anticipation of fatherhood. In fact, our men’s prenatal vitamin, Beli Vitality for Men, is actually our flagship product. Today, we’re diving into the obvious and unexpected benefits of prenatal vitamins for men, starting with what actually happens when you start taking them.

Read More

Forbes Health recently reviewed our men's prenatal vitamins and we love author Leigh Weingus' take: "Beli Men Vitality Multivitamins first caught my eye because while I often see supplements that claim to improve fertility outcomes for women, I rarely see the same thing for men." We hear you, Leigh! Check out the full review here and read on for some highlights.

Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

We’re back with our second post in our “It Starts With The Sperm” mini series on the key roles sperm plays in conception, pregnancy and baby, and this time, we’re talking DNA. When it comes to male fertility, it’s not enough to have a high sperm count and top marks for motility and morphology. Without low levels of DNA fragmentation, a man’s fertility—along with his ability to successfully conceive with a partner—is affected.

Read More