The man’s sperm production

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The man’s sperm production

Unlike women, who already have all their eggs at birth, men have no sperm before reaching puberty. Only then does the development of sperm cells in the testicles begin. In healthy men, sperm cells develop for the rest of their lives.

Insemination

Formation and maturation of sperm cells

When boys reach puberty, the two hormones FSH and LH are activated and they form and develop sperm cells in interaction with the sex hormone testosterone.

Once sexual maturity has been reached, millions of sperm cells are formed in the testicles every day, where they mature for approximately 10-12 weeks.

When is the sperm quality good?

The most frequent cause of male fertility problems is insufficient production of normally motile sperm cells.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined reference values for when a sperm sample is normal. The lower reference limits, i.e. minimum values, are shown here:

  • Sperm volume 1.5 ml
  • Total sperm count: 40 million per ejaculation
  • Sperm concentration: 15 million per ml
  • Total motility: 40%
  • Forward motility: 30%
  • Vitality (live sperm cells): 60%

Male fertility is not related to age in the same way as women.  In men, age only begins to be a sperm quality factor at around 40-50 years of age. Approximately 40% of Danish men have reduced sperm quality with a sperm concentration below 40 million sperm cells per ml of sperm.

A sperm concentration below 15 million per ml has been defined by WHO as reduced sperm quality, but we also often see that it takes longer to become pregnant with a sperm concentration below 40 million/ml.

Source: WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen
World Health Organization, 5th ed., 2010

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Sperm analysis

Before a fertility treatment, we always perform a sperm analysis in which we examine sperm production and sperm quality. Based on the results, we advise you on the optimal fertility treatment.

Read more about the sperm analysis

Why does reduced sperm quality occur?

In about 1/3 of couples who have problems getting pregnant, the cause lies with the man. This may be due to hereditary factors and diseases, but environment and lifestyle are also contributory factors.

Read more about fertility and lifestyle

 

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