Abstinence Makes Weak Sperm Grow Stronger
Sperm Quality Best After 1 Day Without Sex in Men With Infertility Problems
June 23, 2005 -- A little abstinence may go a long way for men with
A new study shows that sperm from men with low sperm counts reached their
peak condition after one day of abstinence and deteriorated after more than one
day without sex.
They say the findings show that men with low sperm counts who are undergoing
infertility treatments should collect sperm samples only after one day of
But men with normal sperm who wish to become sperm donors or freeze their
sperm for future use (cyropreservation) should collect their sperm samples
after seven days of abstinence.
Abstinence Affects Sperm Quality
Researchers say the duration of sexual abstinence necessary to achieve
maximum sperm quality is an issue commonly discussed between doctors and male
patients of infertile couples.
Most fertility clinics follow World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines
that call for two to seven days of abstinence before sperm sample collection,
regardless of the initial quality of the sperm. Abstinence can affect sperm
quality -- including concentration of sperm, percentage of normal sperm, and
motility -- all of which help determine the success rates of infertility
In this study, which appears in the June issue of Fertility and
Sterility, researchers looked at whether sperm quality is affected by the
duration of sexual abstinence necessary to reach maximum sperm quality.
Researchers analyzed more than 9,000 sperm samples collected from more than
6,000 men and found the duration of abstinence affected sperm quality
differently in men. The abstinence duration times necessary for peak sperm
quality were quite different among men with healthy sperm versus men with low
sperm counts or other sperm quality problems.
In particular, sperm motility (percent of sperm movement) peaked after one
day of abstinence in men with infertility problems, but overall sperm quality
began to decline after two days of abstinence.
Among men with normal sperm, overall sperm quality peaked after seven days
of abstinence and declined after 10 days.