How can a sperm test help your assisted fertility journey?

How Can A Sperm Test Help Your Assisted Fertility Journey

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Here at ExSeed we often talk about the benefits of testing before even starting your fertility journey. But how can a sperm test help you if you’re going down the assisted fertility route?

It may be you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a while, and are starting to plan a trip to a fertility clinic for help. If that’s the case, understanding your sperm health can help make the process run smoother – and give you more confidence and control.

Sperm tests can save you time 

1 in 5 couples experience infertility, and in the last 40 years we’ve seen sperm count drop by more than 50%! This decline means fertility tests and treatments are in high demand. NHS sperm tests take time and can require 3 month waits between them, followed by long waitlists which will get longer as infertility rates rise.

If you or your partner are older, time can be of the essence. This goes double for older couples going down the assisted fertility route. Treatments like IVF have success rates as high as 29% for women under 35, and as low as 2% for women in their 40s! Therefore every year counts in fertility, so you can’t afford to spend that time on waiting lists for fertility tests.

Infertility could also be caused by an underlying health condition, which may cause further damage to your sperm while waiting for tests. A sperm analysis can help you discover recurrent issues like bad diet or low testosterone – things which will only improve with active changes.

…and save you money 

Many couples go down the route of IVF/other treatments without even getting sperm checked! This means that couples sometimes waste money on failed treatments without even knowing if their sperm health could be a factor!

It’s a common belief that fertility struggles are usually down to the woman, but this isn’t true! Research indicates that in couples experiencing infertility, around 40% of cases are down purely to male factors! It is just as likely for infertility to be down to the man or the woman, so testing sperm before fertility treatment should be a no-brainer.

Fertility treatments like IVF and artificial insemination (IUI) do work for men experiencing fertility issues like low sperm motility or slightly low sperm count. But for guys with no sperm cells at all or sperm cells of low quality, these treatments may still prove unsuccessful. You can learn more about sperm quality in our new article “Sperm DNA Damage Provides Powerful Insights To Male Fertility” and about sperm motility in “What Is Sperm Motility?”

So if you’re rearing to go down the assisted fertility route, slow down, get a sperm analysis and then you can find the best options for your situation.

Can help you choose the best sperm for your treatment

It used to be that the only option for LGBT+ couples who couldn’t naturally conceive was adoption. But now queer families can have biological children through surrogacy and egg or sperm donation. This means that some couples – such as gay or bisexual men or trans women – have multiple sperm samples to choose from. 

This can be one of the most challenging decisions for couples to make, deciding whose genetic material will make their child. In IVF, multiple eggs are used for one pregnancy, so some couples might have each partner’s sperm fertilise half the eggs. This means the outcome is fairly random.

Another option is to choose the strongest sperm. A sperm analysis can show which sperm is more likely to fertilize the eggs and produce a healthy child. This might help in making such a difficult decision. You can find out more about surrogacy and support for LGBT+ parents in our blog “Surrogacy and Sperm Health”.

“There is a clear correlation between good sperm quality and the chance of pregnancy. This of course is also dependent on the female partner’s fertility. As sperm quality can vary, it could be  a good idea to have a quick, accurate and easy sperm test kit by your side so you always can estimate your chances of pregnancy” 

Dr Fatin Willendrup, Head of Medical Affairs at ExSeed Health

Improve your chances 

Your chances of conceiving through assisted fertility treatments are much better if you improve your sperm health. Healthy, strong sperm with moderate to high motility gives both IUI and IVF a better shot at success. As advanced as fertility treatments are they still rely on the quality of the sperm and egg.

Assisted fertility treatments are costly, time consuming, and can take a toll on mental health. They also usually need multiple cycles before you see any success, which means a lot of invasive procedures and, potentially, a lot of disappointment.  

Every cycle of treatment requires as much help as possible, which means getting your body to produce the healthiest and strongest sperm it can. So get your exercise hours in, take all your male fertility multivitamins, and get testing!

Give you some control 

Not getting the test results you would like to see can be hard – but reframe it as knowledge is power. The sooner you make yourself aware of any fertility issues, the sooner you can take control of your situation and maybe make some positive changes. 

Men often report feeling side-lined during the process of getting pregnant, so taking matters into your own hands can help you feel more confident, proactive and positive. 

Some of that control should also come from where, when and how you test your sperm. And that’s where ExSeed comes in. There’s no need to head down to your local fertility clinic for an awkward date with a plastic cup, as you can now test from the comfort of your own home with an ExSeed sperm kit! With the ExSeed kit and free app you can perform your test, get your results and start making plans for your fertility journey without even leaving the house.


Assisted fertility isn’t a guaranteed success, and the process can be pretty confusing and even distressing for couples. With a sperm analysis you can take control of your own fertility and start to understand just how everything works. You can also improve your sperm count and quality through lifestyle changes, and give any assisted fertility treatments a helping-hand.

Take control and test your sperm today, no matter what stage of the journey you’re in.

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.