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2023 Wrap Up: 5 Exciting Male Fertility Advancements

As 2023 comes to an end, we’re looking back on some of the moments that have moved the dial in male fertility – from research breakthroughs to Channel 4 TV shows!

Here are five exciting things that happened in male fertility this year:

 

Sperm Health on Channel 4

2023 saw male fertility get its prime-time TV moment – with Channel 4’s Celebrity Save Our Sperm! The show followed celebrities Russell Kane, Ollie Locke, and Melvin Odoom as they tested – and then worked to improve – their sperm health over 10 weeks.

The show not only highlighted the importance of sperm testing but also shone a light on some of the key factors contributing to the steep decline in sperm count we’re currently seeing in men, including toxins in our environment. All the celebrities saw some improvements in their sperm health after making lifestyle changes (Ollie even went on to father his first child!). We hope that having this conversation in the mainstream media will encourage more men to get to know their swimmers proactively.

 

ExSeed Launches CASA Lite

2023 brought in some pretty exciting leaps forward for ExSeed too. Earlier this year we launched CASA Lite, the latest addition to our semen diagnostics family. Whilst our home sperm test helps men take fertility testing into their own hands, CASA Lite was created to support our large network of experts, opening up the possibility of running semen analyses in more locations such as satellite clinics, GP surgeries, and anywhere an internet connection thanks to its portability and ease of use. The CASA Lite (Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis) helps reduce workflow with its quick testing capabilities, enabling analysis times of as little as 1 minute per sample. The device is unlike any other, successfully combining high-resolution imaging with fast and accurate computer analysis, in a portable form factor with the ease of plug-and-play.

Want to learn more about CASA Lite and have a demo? Visit our CASA Lite page here and enter your email address in the form.

 

Research Into Mobile Phones and Male Fertility

We’ve been talking about the impact tech around the testicles can have on our sperm health for a long time, but in 2023 a new study gave some pretty solid evidence that our mobile phones could be directly contributing to lower sperm concentration.

Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) analysed data from 2,886 Swiss men aged 18 to 22, recruited between 2005 and 2018 at six military centres.

The study found that sperm concentration was significantly higher in the group of men who did not use their phones more than once a week (56.5 million per milliliter), compared with men who used their phones more than 20 times a day (44.5 million per milliliter). Researchers say this difference corresponds to a 21% decrease in sperm concentration for frequent users, compared to rare users!

Whilst this is concerning, we would love to see more research getting to the root causes of male fertility issues, and hope we’ll see more studies like this in 2024!

 

Global Call For Urgent Male Fertility Action

Scientists weren’t only researching male fertility in 2023, they were campaigning to help save it. In 2023, an international consortium of experts, led by the University of Melbourne’s Dean of Science Professor Moira O’Bryan, joined forces to call on governments and health systems to acknowledge the severity of our declining male fertility issue.

They also provided a first-time roadmap for urgent, global action. Their recommendations, published in Nature Reviews Urology, Genomic sequencing, and better diagnostic tests routinely offered to men struggling to conceive and rigorous tests on the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals on male fertility. To see experts from all over the world come together to raise awareness of these important issues is incredible – we can’t wait to see what progress they make in the future.

 

Launch of ‘The Male Fertility Podcast’

Fertility Coach, Shaun Greenaway and Personal Trainer, Ciaran Hannington have long been active voices in the male fertility space. Over the last few years, the pair have used their respective social media platforms to share their difficult journeys to fatherhood and their advice for other men in a similar position.

This year Shaun and Ciaran joined forces to launch The Male Fertility Podcast, a no-holds-barred deep dive into their stories – and a must-listen for any guy struggling to become a father. From hilarious sperm sample situations to raw and beautiful insights on the personal growth that comes from infertility, this podcast is a breath of fresh air and will help so many men.

Check out the podcast here on Spotify, YouTube, or Apple podcasts.

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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.