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ExSeed Home Testing: How to Collect a Semen Sample

In order to get a correct result with the ExSeed system, there are 6 simple rules on semen collection that have to be followed. Even though you have done it before, maybe at the doctor’s office, here are some tips to help you prepare:

Rule 1: Abstain from ejaculation 2-3 days before testing

Rule 1 - Abstain from ejaculation 2-3 days before testing

Your testicles produce sperm consistently. Learn more about sperm production here. When you ejaculate, your stored sperm cells are released. After ejaculation, it takes 2-3 days to completely refill the epididymis, depending on the individual. If you do not allow time for your sperm “stock” to refill, your test result will show a lower sperm count. On the other hand, waiting for too long has been associated with a lower amount of motile sperm cells.  We therefore recommend that you wait 2-3 days before testing.

Rule 2: Be consistent

Rule 2 - Be consistent

Consistency is key to get comparable results. Every time you test, make sure that you follow all the guidelines. If you previously have abstained from ejaculating for 3 days, then do the same for the next tests. This will give you the most consistent readings over time and is best when comparing results continuously.

Rule 3: Collect in the cup

Rule 3 - Collect in the cup

Semen collection has to be done directly in the ExSeed cup. It is very important to use the ExSeed cup for collection and no other cups or containers. This gives you the most valid results since we have tested the cup for cytotoxicity on sperm. Therefore, do not use a condom or collect the sample in connection with intercourse. Finally, try to ensure that you collect the whole sample – including the first drops. 

Rule 4: Don’t use any lubricants

Rule 4 - Don’t use any lubricants

No creams, oils, or other lubricants should be used when collecting a semen sample for testing. These products can contain spermicides that kill spermcells or other ingredients (unwanted plastics and residues) that can give inaccurate results. “Dry” Masturbation is best for producing a pure semen sample to test.

Rule 5: Refresh your sperm stock

Rule 5 - Refresh your sperm stock

Abstaining from ejaculating for more than 5 days is not ideal.  When sperm cells are stored in the testicles, they start to deteriorate and lose the ability to swim. In order to have fresh sperm for testing, you should make sure that you have ejaculated a couple of times in the weeks before you test.

Rule 6: Time is crucial

Rule 6 - Time is crucial

Sperm cells don’t live that long after ejaculation. Make sure that you have read the ExSeed Instructions for Use and have lined up all the necessary remedies before semen collection. It is recommended that a semen sample is discarded if it has been kept longer than 60 minutes, and a new sample is provided 3 days later to commence a new test.

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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.

Stress

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.

Nutrition

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.

Vegetables
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.

Heat

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.

BMI

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.  

Alcohol

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”.

Age

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.