Sjoerd Repping is a clinical embryologist. He knows how men with fertility problems might still become a father.
A man makes a thousand sperm cells with every heartbeat. Men make sperm cells with the stem cells in their testes until they die. So they can indeed beget children until they die.
‘The production of a sperm takes two months. Only then can it be ejaculated. Sperm cells are produced in the testicles. Go to the bijbal, after which they are saved to be ejaculated. If that does not happen, they will be broken down at a given moment. For example, if you don’t cum for two months, there is an accumulation of broken down sperm cells and the quality of the seed is less. There is a sort of optimum of between two and ten days of abstinence. In that period the chance that your sperm is good is the greatest.
The expertise center
“Infertility is something crazy. You cannot see from the outside that there are little or no sperm in your sperm. You only notice this when you try to father a child. We are a center of expertise in the field of male infertility.
‘The definition of impaired fertility is that you have tried to become pregnant for a year and you did not succeed. If a man has a bad seed, there may be a genetic cause. Or he used to have an infection. Or he has had cancer as a child, has been treated with chemotherapy and therefore has become sterile. Often we do not know the cause (yet).
“These men cannot have children naturally. They only have a few sperm in their sperm, or none at all. That does not mean that they do not have sperm, but that so few are produced that they die in the process that they have to travel. In half of those cases we can find sperm in the testicles. You can fertilize egg cells with this. That is a special treatment, in which you take a biopsy, a piece of tissue, from the testes. You look for sperm in it. At 50 percent they are indeed there. You can use this to fertilize eggs with the help of ICSI, in the laboratory a sperm is injected directly into an egg. And so those people can still have genetically own children.
‘That is an invasive, expensive and not always successful treatment. People who do not get pregnant in this way regularly opt for fertilization with donor sperm. The chance that you will become pregnant is often greater. We wonder whether it is not more sensible to offer that choice for donor sperm earlier: that treatment is safer, more effective and cheaper.
Tight jeans fable
‘You can’t do much yourself to improve the quality of your seed. Smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol could affect the quality of the sperm. The use of anabolic steroids is poor. But it is a myth that wearing tight jeans is no longer possible to have children. Your chance of a pregnancy does not decrease if you make five million sperm fewer by smoking, drinking or tight jeans.
‘What does not help is swallowing preparations. Millions go around in that trade: the people they take are desperate, they try everything. The sperm quality is what it is: we can’t really change that. “