Why Fresh Sperm Is Best

494 people found this helpful - 51 Comments
Mario Fernando

By Mario Fernando

When you're trying to conceive, you will find no shortage of advice. Some will be great and other advice may be misleading or counterproductive.

One thing you will probably hear is that the man should "hold his sperm" until baby-making time in order to deliver the most sperm. This is the kind of advice that is counterproductive.

What you should know about sperm

A man's testicles will produce about one thousand sperm with every heartbeat - that is a lot of sperm! Once they are created, each sperm is stored in a structure at the top of the testicle that can hold up to one billion sperm.

Only one of those are needed to fertilize the egg, so it may seem like a no-brainer. Of millions of sperm, one of them has to make it, right?

Well, what you may not know is the journey of sperm is a treacherous one. Only a few, or maybe even none, will survive the journey and make its way to the egg, and then its job is not even done. It then has to be the first to penetrate the egg.

Why fresh sperm is always best

Scientists have the unique advantage of being able to look at sperm under a microscope.

It must be interesting to see so much movement in such a small space. But what they find is that not all of the movement is positive. Of the many millions of sperm ejaculated, they are not all winners. Some may even be dead before the journey has a chance to begin. Others may be deformed, having unusually shaped or multiple heads, or twitching.

Morphology of sperm

Even in a perfectly healthy, fertile man, only about 20% of sperm will be viable.

Here is the thing about fresh sperm: Sperm have a natural life cycle. Older sperm decay, and as they do, they release substances that can harm younger, fresher sperm.

So, even if you have more sperm, it will be counterproductive if many of them are old. Not only are they already dying, but also they are going to bring others down with them.

What should we do to ensure sperm stays fresh?

If a man holds ejaculation for a long period of time, say a week or two, a large percentage of his sperm will be dead or decaying - and the decaying sperm may contaminate the fresh, new sperm.

So, holding ejaculation for this long is not recommended when trying to conceive. But ejaculating too often can also cause problems.

If a man ejaculates too often, he may not have enough sperm to make the journey. It may sound complicated, but things are about to get very simple

Have sex every two to three days during your fertile window

In order for the best chances of conception, the man should ejaculate, whether through intercourse or masturbation, ever two or three days throughout the month. More good news: If you follow this advice and have sex every two or three days throughout the month, you will end up having sex at least twice during the fertile window (the days leading up ovulation).

What else can you do help promote viable sperm?

Here are more things you should be doing to increase your chances of conception when trying to conceive.

Keep testicles cool

Testicles are outside of the body for a reason - to stay cooler than inside the body. They need to be 3-4C cooler than core body temperature for optimal sperm production. Opt for loose-fitting underwear, such as boxers, and pants with a little room.

Regular exercise can help boost fertility, but the activity that often follows a good workout, a soak in the hot tub or steam in the sauna, can undo all of your hard work, so avoid hot baths and take a shower instead.

Fortunately, the damage is not permanent, so there is no need to avoid the hot baths when you are not trying to conceive.

Maintain a balanced diet

Eat a healthy, balanced diet and be sure to stay hydrated. Consume a lot of good-quality fat and protein and stay away from sugars and junk food.

This one is important for both men and women. When you are trying to conceive, it is important to watch your waistline and eat a balanced diet.

People who are obese may have more trouble conceiving than those who are a healthy weight. And, the same holds true for people who are under weight. When you are trying to conceive, try to get as close to a healthy weight as possible.

Quit smoking

Smoking is bad for health in general and is not beneficial for sperm production. Quit smoking and enjoy the benefits.

Limit Alcohol

A few too many beers or margaritas may leave you feeling frisky, but drinking in excess may not be the best conception plan. Heavy drinking can diminish both the quality and quantity of sperm, so if you are going to drink, do so in moderation.

Avoid lubricants

Some lubricants contain spermicide, which is an obvious "no no" for when you are trying to make a baby. But you should avoid using most lubricants when you are trying to conceive. Even saliva can interfere with sperm motility. If you do need a little extra lubrication, stick to vegetable oil.

Avoid stress

In order for stress to impact fertility in women, it must be extreme. Things like getting fired or losing a close family member can temporarily throw off a woman's cycle. However, stress affects men differently. It can lead to impotence and even shut down the glands that regulate the reproductive system. Even a little bit of stress can cause erectile dysfunction.

Make an effort to fit in some stress-reducing exercises, such as walks, meditation or even just sharing some laughs.

Causes of male infertility

Although there are many causes of male infertility, the main underlying problems are dysfunctional sperm or a low volume of sperm in a man's semen:

1. Testicular causes

Varicoceles: within the testicles, there is a spermatic cord which contains the veins that drain blood from the testes. This network of veins is known as the pampiniform plexus. A varicocele occurs when this network of veins becomes dilated and occasionally, twisted. This means that effectiveness of drainage of the blood from the testicles is limited, causing congestion in the area.

But how does this damage sperm? The increased congestion increases the temperature of the testicles. It is this heat which can be damaging to sperm and sperm-producing cells in the seminiferous tubules of the testes. If you notice a gradual decrease in the size of your testes along with dilated veins which feel like 'a can of worms', you may have a varicocele. It is a common issue present in 7% to 30% of men but can affect testosterone and sperm production.

Testicular Cancer: usually presents as a painless mass in the testes, it is most commonly caused by previous history of undescended testes, previous testicular cancer or may involve genetically inherited factors. 95% of these cancers are derived from germ cells (precursors of sperm), and hence can cause male infertility. Nowadays, testicular cancer is very treatable so if you do notice any strange lumps, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Trauma: physical damage to the testes can damage the blood vessels within them, the seminiferous tubules that produce sperm or the Leydig cells that produce testosterone. All of these can contribute to infertility.

Age: paternal age is also a relevant factor in conception. The older you are, the more likely your sperm will have some DNA damage - meaning the sperm is more likely to be dysfunctional and more likely to carry on mutations to your potential offspring.

Male Infertility

2. Infectious causes:

STI's: a variety of sexually transmitted infections can decrease male fertility. These include gonorrhea and chlamydia, which cause urethritis - the inflammation of the urethra. It can spread further upwards to the epididymis in your testes and disrupt normal sperm maturation.

Mumps Virus: is one of the most common causes of Orchitis (inflammation of the testicles). Like STI's, it can often inflame the epididymis where sperm cells mature.

3. Genetic causes

Kallmann Syndrome: this is a condition resulting in small testicles, low testosterone production and impaired fertility. It is caused by a variety of genetic mutations and is found in approximately 1 in 10,000 to 86,000 men.

Other genetic causes: there are many complex genetic causes of male infertility. 10% of male infertility cases are due to genetic causes. There are molecular markers of these mutations which enable testing and diagnosis.

4. Hormonal causes

Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism: is the main hormonal cause of male infertility. It results in small testes due to a lack of testosterone production. The hypothalamus normally produces GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone), which then acts on the pituitary gland to produce FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone). These two hormones are responsible for initiating testosterone production in Leydig cells of the testes. Anything damaging these structures can cause hypogonadism. Examples include head trauma, tumors, multiple sclerosis, congenital abnormalities or genetic conditions like Kallman syndrome.

5. Pharmacological causes

A variety of drugs have been shown to affect male fertility. These include:

Antidepressants: SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant but display evidence of sperm DNA damage. This affects both the functionality of the sperm and the chance of mutations being passed down to your offspring.

Anti-epileptic drugs: these drugs include phenytoin and diazepam, which disrupt the motility of sperm - making them less able to reach the egg and achieve fertilization.

Opiates: such as morphine, oxycodone and heroin (all considered narcotics), can interfere with testosterone production and decrease quality and quantity of sperm.

Alcohol: chronic alcoholism alters the balance between testosterone and estrogen. This detrimentally affects sperm production.

Marijuana: the active component of marijuana is called THC. It reduces sperm motility and production.

Could I have one of these problems?

You'll now have a rough idea of some of the causes of male infertility. If you think male infertility could be preventing you from having a baby, there are plenty of tests that can diagnose this. Once you see your doctor, they will be able to run a semen analysis. This is usually the first step in diagnosing male infertility and can detect problems with your sperm count, motility and morphology.

More information about male infertility.

The journey of sperm

To understand why so many sperm are required for conception to occur naturally, have a look at the Journey Of Sperm.

How often do you have sex in your fertile window? Please leave a comment below.

New Join the Discussion!

  1. Cherish Jul 22, 2016
    This is really great, but how do I check my BT and with what?
    1. Sarah (OC Team): Hi Cherish, are you referring to BBT (basal body temperature) or something else? If BBT we have an article about how to accurately record your BBT here: https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/basal-body-temperature/ - (Jul 23, 2016)
  2. Jasmine Jul 23, 2016
    We have sex very often late night early in the morning even in the shower even when we get ready to go to sleep.
    1. Sarah (OC Team): Thanks for commenting Jasmine - great! - (Jul 24, 2016)
  3. Mary Jul 24, 2016
    Am menstruating now, after my menstruation when am I suppose to start having intercourse? Please i want to get it right next month pls help me.
    1. Sarah (OC Team): Please see your ovulation calendar and fertile window in Ovulation Calculator. - (Jul 24, 2016)
  4. Jen Jul 31, 2016
    There is so much focus on a woman's body and what could be wrong if conception isn't happening, and many fertility places want you to wait until a year of TTC before doing a work up. After reading this article, I find myself asking why? Are the issues that could affect conception from the sperm perspective less common?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Male factor infertility is quite common. In fact, 50% of the time, infertility is a man's problem. Here's why https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/male-infertility/ - (Aug 01, 2016)
  5. Kemy Aug 08, 2016
    My husband does not ejaculate often. Could this hinder our chances of getting pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): As the article explains, fresh sperm is best. When you are trying to conceive, he should try to ejaculate about every two to three days. - (Aug 08, 2016)
  6. Abiona Aug 16, 2016
    I have a question and it goes like this, is it normal for a lady to release sperm two days after she has finished her period?
    1. Christina (OC Team): I'm not sure I understand the question. A lady does not release sperm. If you meant cervical mucus, it is possible if she has a short cycle. - (Aug 17, 2016)
  7. Adenike Aug 24, 2016
    Now I know the reason most women don't conceive when I read the article.
    1. Mabel: I had sex three times during my fertile window and few days later, I had yeast infection. Will it affect the possibility of conceiving? - (Sep 03, 2016)
  8. Funkew Aug 28, 2016
    What happens to a woman who doesn't have sex for so long?
  9. Mary Aug 29, 2016
    Thank you for this informative article.
  10. Noble Aug 30, 2016
    What will make a man to have sex with a woman without releasing sperm into her?
  11. Progress Sep 02, 2016
    Thank you so much for this article. I found it helpful. I actually wanted to stay away from my hubby till my fertile period, but I also heard if he ejaculates every day between 3 days to your ovulation, the sperm will not be too active. Is that possible?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Any concern with ejaculating every day is more likely related to quantity over quality. - (Sep 02, 2016)
  12. Kiana Sep 03, 2016
    What does it mean when my partner's sperm won't stay in my vagina?
    1. Christina (OC Team): It's okay if some sperm leaks out. Some sperm should still remain to make the journey. - (Sep 03, 2016)
  13. Mabel Sep 03, 2016
    I had sex 3 times during my fertile period and few days later, I had yeast infection. Will it affect my possibility of conceiving?
    1. Christina (OC Team): A yeast infection shouldn't directly affect your chances of conceiving. Good luck! - (Sep 03, 2016)
  14. Mpho Sep 03, 2016
    I'm trying to conceive but my husband is ejaculating outside most of the time. Is there any chance of me getting pregnant? I'm in my early 40's.
    1. Christina (OC Team): If you have unprotected sex (and he ejaculates inside) during your fertile window, there is a chance of getting pregnant. Have a look at this article about you chances of conceiving in various age groups. https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/fertility-older-age/ - (Sep 03, 2016)
  15. Oladele Sep 04, 2016
    My period was just light on the first to third days, but now it's rushing today, which is the fourth day. Please, I am concerned. What could be reason for this? Help.
    1. Christina (OC Team): It could simply be a light start to your period, but if you're concerned, talk to your doctor. - (Sep 04, 2016)
  16. Happiness Sep 05, 2016
    I am trying to conceive, but I don't have sex often because distance.
    1. Christina (OC Team): The important thing is to try to have sex within your fertile window. - (Sep 06, 2016)
  17. Oladele Sep 05, 2016
  18. Happiness Sep 06, 2016
    How do I calculate my fertile window?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Log your cycle dates into your account here for a prediction and track ovulation in another way, such as using an OPK or charting BBT. You can find more information on charting BBT here. https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/basal-body-temperature/ - (Sep 06, 2016)
  19. Roseline Sep 08, 2016
    If your spouse ejaculates before you is there chances of getting pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): As long as it is within your fertile window, yes. - (Sep 08, 2016)
  20. Nchekwube Sep 08, 2016
    Please, tell me when to have sex to have a baby boy. Thanks.
    1. Christina (OC Team): I cannot tell you how to influence your baby's gender, but I can tell you that having sex during your fertile window will increase your odds of conceiving. Good luck! - (Sep 08, 2016)
  21. Olatusa Sep 09, 2016
    Is it possible to have sex without releasing sperm?
    1. Christina (OC Team): I'm not sure I understand the question. The man will not release a significant amount of sperm if he does not ejaculate. There is also a rare condition called Azoospermia where the man does not have any sperm. In this case, even if he ejaculates, he will not release sperm because there is none to release. - (Sep 09, 2016)
  22. Victoria Sep 09, 2016
    I'm a little confused. So does a guy need to ejaculate two or three times a day? Me and my boyfriend have sex two or three times a day. Do we have to take a break in between so he can have new sperm every time? We normally wait for a few hours before we start again.
    1. Christina (OC Team): The suggestion is for the man to ejaculate every two to three days to ensure optimal quality and quantity. So, he would not ejaculate for two to three days between each BD. This is not something you absolutely must do in order to conceive. However, if conception is taking longer than expected or the man is known to have issues with quality or quantity of sperm, you may want to try this method. Good luck! - (Sep 10, 2016)
  23. Sandra Sep 12, 2016
    I just finished my period yesterday. Is it okay to start having sex? Because we are trying to concieve.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Yes, there's no harm in trying to conceive right after your period. However, your efforts may be more focused if you track and have sex within your fertile window. Have a look at this article for more info https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/get-pregnant/ - (Sep 12, 2016)
  24. Elizabeth Sep 15, 2016
    Hi, please, I need your help. He doesn't ejaculate often. Is that a problem in conceiving?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Not necessarily, but for the freshest, best-quality sperm, he should try to ejaculate once every two to three days. - (Sep 15, 2016)
  25. Elizabeth Sep 15, 2016
    Sorry, I mean I myself don't reach orgasm often. Is that a problem?
    1. Christina (OC Team): No, that's not a problem for conception. - (Sep 16, 2016)
  26. Marie Sep 16, 2016
    We have sex every night. It's hard to go 2 or 3 days without it. Are there ways to have sex without him finishing?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Having sex every night works for some couples. If you have only been trying to conceive for a few months and this seems like too much of a challenge, don't change anything. Sometimes it's worse to force something that feels unnatural. Good luck! - (Sep 17, 2016)
  27. Cherish Sep 16, 2016
    What is the best sex position while trying to conceive because it seems I'm not doing it right.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Timing is much more important than position. Are you tracking ovulation and having sex within your fertile window? - (Sep 17, 2016)
    2. Blessing: My husband didn't have sex with me on the first day of my ovulation period. Will that affect that my conception? - (Sep 17, 2016)
    3. Christina (OC Team): Even if you only have sex once within your fertile window, you have a chance at conceiving. Good luck! - (Sep 18, 2016)
  28. Cherish Sep 17, 2016
    Yes, I am tracking it and been having sex within my fertile window for like 3 cycles now, yet no result. Is there anything I'm not doing right?
    1. Christina (OC Team): It sounds like you're doing everything right. Just understand that it can take a healthy, fertile couple a few cycles to conceive. It doesn't always happen right away. Good luck! - (Sep 18, 2016)
  29. Augustina Sep 17, 2016
    Does this caculator really work if I know my cycle days?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Ovulation Calculator will provide you with a prediction based on your cycle dates, and it will become more accurate as you log more information. - (Sep 18, 2016)
  30. Blessing Sep 17, 2016
    Please, is it a most that my husband must have sex with me every day during my ovulation period?
    Secondly, is the ovulation period 6 days or 4 days
    1. Christina (OC Team): It is not a must to have sex every day within your fertile window. In fact, many experts recommend having sex every two days during this time. Your fertile window is the 6 days leading up to and including ovulation day. - (Sep 18, 2016)
  31. Elizabeth Sep 19, 2016
    Wow! Christina, thank you so much for this app and I blessed in the name of the Lord. I am so happy to share my testimony. I got married less than two months ago and I followed this ovulation calculator all through last month (August) and some comments and advice from Christina on getting pregnant. This month, I missed my period. I did the self test. It was reading positive. I went for a checkup. It was positive too. I pray for God to bless everybody who is trying to convince. In Jesus name, amen!
    1. Christina (OC Team): Congratulations! That is great news! - (Sep 19, 2016)
  32. Elizabeth Sep 19, 2016
    Please, is it healthy to have sex during early pregnancy (like one month)?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Hi Elizabeth, Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, sex in early pregnancy is safe. Congrats again! :) - (Sep 19, 2016)
  33. Elizabeth Sep 20, 2016
    Alright, thanks.
  34. Fatuma Sep 22, 2016
    I have been trying to conceive for the last six months with no luck. Does having anemia and low vitamin D and B impact on conception? I have been taking prenatal vitamins to aid my conception. Also, I only started to have sex in my fertile window in the last 2 months as I wasn't aware of fertile window.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Vitamins are important to keep our bodies running efficiently and all processes working well. So it's definitely a good idea to correct those deficiencies when TTC. It is normal, however, for a healthy fertile couple to take a few cycles to conceive. If you just started tracking three months ago, it's early in the process. Good luck! - (Sep 22, 2016)
  35. Oladunni Sep 23, 2016
    How many days does it take a fertilized egg to implant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Implantation typically takes 6-12 days after ovulation - (Sep 23, 2016)
  36. Cherish Sep 24, 2016
    Is it OK to take well woman plus while TTC or must it be prenantcare conception? I need to know because I just started taking wellwoman plus just a week today and haev been TTC for 4 cycles now. Thank you.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Hi, As long as the vitamins have the nutrients you need, you should be fine. If you have questions about the specifics, ask your doctor or nutritionist. Have a look at this article https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/fertility-nutrition-diet-plans/ - (Sep 24, 2016)
  37. Oladunni Sep 24, 2016
    Thanks. But does wearing tight pants affect implantation?
    1. Christina (OC Team): It doesn't affect implantation (fertilized egg implanting into the uterus), but it isn't recommended when trying to conceive because it can restrict blood flow. - (Sep 24, 2016)
  38. Oladunni Sep 25, 2016
    Thanks so much for all this information. It's really helping me.
  39. Viola Sep 26, 2016
    Thanks, Christina for your informative advice. Still TTC, but having read all the messages, I am very hopeful.
  40. Cyricus Sep 26, 2016
    Please, can 3 rounds of ejaculation only be able to get her pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): It only takes one sperm to fertilize a mature egg, so yes, as long as it is within her fertile window. - (Sep 26, 2016)
  41. Juli Sep 30, 2016
    I have been getting all the symptoms of pregnancy, but i did home test this morning and it showed negative. I want to why, thanks.
    1. Christina (OC Team): It's possible that it's too early (you didn't mention where you are in your cycle). I'd suggest waiting a few days and testing again if AF doesn't show. Good luck! - (Oct 01, 2016)
    2. Juli: My cycle is 28 days. I had my period on the 6th of September and I made love with my husband during my fertile days, which were from the 19th to 23rd. Thanks. - (Oct 01, 2016)
    3. Christina (OC Team): It sounds like pregnancy is possible. The good news is you can test soon. Good luck! - (Oct 01, 2016)
  42. Joy Oct 07, 2016
    I am so happy to be here. I lost my second child in Feb after delivery, and I am trying to conceive again. I pray with your advice and God by my side, it will happen soon. Amen, thanks.
    1. Christina (OC Team): I'm so sorry for your loss. Good luck! - (Oct 09, 2016)
  43. Mercy Oct 07, 2016
    Hi, we have been trying for a girl as we have 2 boys already. I had my period on the 3rd of Oct. When do you think we should have sex if we want a girl. Thanks!
    1. Christina (OC Team): If you log your cycle dates into your account here, you'll get a prediction along with the best days to try for a girl according to the Shettles method. Good luck!! - (Oct 09, 2016)
  44. Blanche Oct 10, 2016
    I just joined this group, which appears to educate a lot. I just had difficulty in filling in my menstral dates and I don't know how to edit it and put the correct date.
    1. Christina (OC Team): When you're logged in and at the homepage (your circles), click on the one that says, "Next Period". You can edit from here. - (Oct 11, 2016)
  45. Kenia Oct 11, 2016
    Can BV medications ruin ur chances of conceiving? I'm in my fertility window and I have been having sex every day during this window. And now I have BV. Will this ruin my chances?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Antibiotics don't typically interfere with conception, but if you're concerned, you can ask your doctor about the medication you're taking. - (Oct 12, 2016)
  46. LIL Oct 12, 2016
    Thanks for the information. Would a hot drink/food affect his sperm quality? Should he avoid warm showers totally when we are trying to get pregnant, or he should avoid only during the fertile days? Thanks for the help.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Hot beverages should be fine, but it would be best to avoid very hot showers when trying to conceive. A warm shower is okay. - (Oct 13, 2016)
  47. Ralph Oct 12, 2016
    Me and my wife have been trying to conceive for 6 years now. Recently, we consulted a reputable Indian Ayurvedic practitioner and he gave us some herbal medication. He also told us to abstain from sex for 1 month for the semen and sperm to get thicker, as apparently my body is heaty and needs to be cooled down with water, fruits etc. Is it ok to hold the semen in for 1 month?
    1. Christina (OC Team): That does go against the advice in this article. "Here is the thing about fresh sperm: Sperm have a natural life cycle. Older sperm decay, and as they do, they release substances that can harm younger, fresher sperm. So, even if you have more sperm, it will be counterproductive if many of them are old. Not only are they already dying, but also they are going to bring others down with them." - (Oct 13, 2016)
  48. Blessing Oct 16, 2016
    God bless the founder of this forum. We're still TTC, but posts and comments here give me hope.
  49. Blessing Oct 16, 2016
    In September, my period lasted just two days and it was light. In October it is still the same and it's light. What is happened? I have been TTC.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Have you taken a pregnancy test? - (Oct 17, 2016)
    2. Blessing: Yes and it's negative. What else can I do to conceive quickly? - (Oct 18, 2016)
    3. Christina (OC Team): Here is an article you may find helpful https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/get-pregnant/ - (Oct 18, 2016)
  50. Lindsey Oct 16, 2016
    My husband has MS and can only ejaculate a handful of times per year (every time we dtd, he either can't or has retro-ejaculation). We have a 3 year old son, so I know that it is possible that we can get pregnant. However, we have been trying for so long for our 2nd and after reading all of this info about sperm dying if he doesn't ejaculate every few days scares the crap out of me! And the fact that the decaying sperm can infect the fresh sperm. How are we ever going to get pregnant again?! :( I'm feeling very discouraged after reading this. He was able to ejaculate on my most fertile day this past cycle, but now I'm wondering if it was all dead sperm...
  51. Ashley Oct 19, 2016
    I just got out of my fertile window and me and my child's father had sex every day but two days. We did it twice yesterday. Do I have a chance of conceiving?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Even if you only had sex once in your fertile window, you have a chance. Good luck! - (Oct 20, 2016)

Add your own comment

Drag to See

Close Image