Daily Sex May Improve Sperm
An Australian study has found that daily sex improves the quality of a man's sperm. Researchers studied men with fertility issues and discovered that ejaculating every day for a week reduced the level of DNA damage found in sperm samples. Dr. David Greening, an obstetrician-gynecologist with a subspecialty in endocrinology and infertility said, “All that we knew was that intercourse on the day of ovulation offered the highest chance of pregnancy, but we did not know what was the best advice for the period leading up to ovulation or egg retrieval for IVF.” Greening, who practices at Sydney IVF, in Wollongong, Australia adds, “I thought that frequent ejaculation might be a physiological mechanism to improve sperm DNA damage, while maintaining semen levels within the normal, fertile range."
In an effort to explore this hypothesis, Greening evaluated 118 male participants who had higher than average levels of DNA damage according to the DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI). Those deemed eligible for this study were men with DNA damage to 15% or more of their sperm. The men were asked to ejaculate every day for a period of seven days. There were no treatments administered or lifestyle changes suggested.
At the outset of the trial, the levels of DNA damage ranged from 15%-98% DFI, though the average DFI of the group was 34% after 3 days of abstinence.
According to the standards in place at Sydney IVF, best quality sperm has a DFI count (sperm DNA damage) of less than 15%, 15-24% DFI is good quality, 25-29% DFI is considered fair, and greater than 29% DFI is poor quality. Other labs may designate different values for these headings though the differences will be slight.
On the seventh day of the trial, the men had their sperm evaluated. Greening discovered that 81% of the men had experienced a 12% decrease in the damage to their sperm DNA, while 19% of the men experienced an increase of damage at an average rate of almost 10%. The overall average of the group dropped to a level of 26% DFI. Greening explains that while 26% is still in the fair range in terms of sperm quality, this number includes both the 18% of the participants who had an increase in their sperm DNA damage as well as those who showed a decrease in DNA damage.
Greening believes that sperm quality may improve with frequent ejaculation because the sperm spent less time in the testicular ducts and epididymis where they are exposed to reactive oxygen species. These are tiny molecules that in high quantities can cause damage to cells.