Sperm- Hoarding your Nuts? Leave it for the Squirrels
While we approach the end of winter, not everyone is breaking out their Chubbies (phenomenal brand of shorts – Sky’s out, thighs out!). Some people are still following in the footsteps of House Stark thinking ‘Winter is Coming’ still. They might be stocking up and buying extra firewood, bottled water, canned soup, wine, etc. In the case of the noble squirrel there are nuts still to be buried.
Male Fertility: Producing The Best Semen Specimen
In regards to male fertility, the question becomes should you be stocking up your sperm reserve for the right time? I mean the logic is there: the more gunpowder in the cannon, the bigger the bang, am I right? WRONG.
Artificial Insemination & Your "Net-Nut"
A gentleman came in the other day for an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and we began discussing the required 2-5 day abstinence period before producing a semen specimen for a procedure (IUI, Semen Analysis, IVF/ICSI). He quipped that his wife had not only been denying him access to her den, but forcing him to bury, not bust, his nuts for winter. Fun fact squirrels actually lose/forget where about 25% of their nuts are buried. Therefore it isn’t as effective as you would think. The same could be said for stocking up one’s sperm for too long. Not only could a percentage of your “net-nut” become useless, it really is just plain wrong.
The reason RMACT has a general 2-5 day waiting abstinence period is to provide a relative range, for most men, that leads to a balance of both high motility and high concentration. The shorter the abstinence period from your last ejaculation, the less time your body has to produce sperm. Thus with a 2 day waiting period, on average, you may have fewer swimmers in the pool (LOW concentration), but they have the ability to swim pretty fast (HIGH motility). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the longer you wait stocking up your sperm, the slower they end up, sometimes getting clumped together. Thus with a 5 day waiting period, on average, you will have more swimmers in the pool (HIGH concentration), but the pool is too crowded for them to swim (LOW motility)! While we really need only one swimmer to win the race, we are trying to make the optimal team.
Not everyone’s body adheres to the 2-5 day abstinence “rule” so we usually require a Semen Analysis before the actual procedure so we can better understand how your swim team is functioning. Based on that analysis, we may suggest that you wait an extra day to thicken up your baby gravy, or we might ask you to wait less and thin it down.
In the long run, think of the body and sperm production as your car and oil respectively. To have your car running in peak performance, the oil has to be changed frequently. The less you change the oil, the more your pipes get clogged and the pistons aren’t firing properly. Therefore I practice frequent oil changes, on a regular and systematic schedule.
Have a question or concern you want to address? Shoot me an email: Ljenusaitis@rmact.com – chances are, you are not the only one.
About Luke Jenusaitis
Luke works in the Andrology and Endocrinology lab at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT). He received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Near Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Originally from Branford, CT, Luke aspires to attend medical school and continue working in patient care. His experience includes working in the Autopsy Program of Pathology at Yale University. A recent contributor to PathtoFertility, he hopes to alleviate some of the tensions that arise from a misinterpreted social taboo.