Can frequent sex improve sperm quality? This has been a debate among fertility specialists for quite a long. What doctors usually advise couples trying to conceive is to have sex every second day, so that there is time for semen to restore its sperm cells count. It is true that frequent ejaculation harms sperm count and sperm concentration as well as sperm quality are critical to successful fertilisation.
But whether that’s a proper advice for men or not, it is not quite clear. That is mostly due to lack of strong evidence suggesting that sexual abstinence can actually be beneficial to male fertility, improving sperm fertilizing ability.
In fact, a recent study led by Dr. David Greening in Sydney IVF indicates quite the opposite: daily sex is more effective than abstinence. What Sydney IVF researchers found, was that daily ejaculation for seven days improved sperm DNA quality without lowering sperm count enough to negatively affect male fertility.
At a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Netherlands, Dr. Greening explained that when a man does not ejaculate for two or three days the number of spermatozoa stored in the epididymis increases. In the epididymis spermatozoa are exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS), thus the longer sperm cells are exposed to these molecules the greater the DNA damage of the cells. So, frequent ejaculation ensures higher DNA quality sperm.
For this study, Dr. Greening and his team collected data from 118 men with higher levels of DNA damage than normal; roughly 15% more DNA damaged sperm cells than average men. These men were asked to ejaculate daily for seven days.
Prior to daily ejaculation, scientists measured sperm DNA damage after three days of sexual abstinence. They exhibited a 34% of DNA damaged cells. After seven days of daily ejaculation, it was found that 81% of the men exhibited a decrease in DNA damage at about 12%, while for rest 19% of the men DNA damage slightly increased.
Moreover, in most of the men sperm motility was improved. Not greatly but significantly. These results accompanied by normal sperm count in terms of fertility potential. So, in all aspects daily ejaculation enhances male fertility and maybe daily sex improves sperm quality.
Apart from couples who are trying to conceive naturally, these results could possibly apply, as effectively, to couples who are in need of IVF. Men are usually called to refrain from ejaculation for three days before the IVF clinic collects their sperm sample, so many couples do not have sex frequently during the treatment.
‘’This might need to change’’ says Dr. Greening.