Sperm Health Explained in Small Details – What to Do & What to Avoid for Healthy Sperm

Sperm health is never a consideration for most men until they try to conceive.

Meanwhile, it is all about having sex, having a good time, and having as many orgasms as possible – no one is bothered about the sperm count or sperm quality.

However, male fertility can be an issue, and most men realize they should have bothered earlier.

Whether it comes to the necessity to increase sperm count, sperm motility, or sperm production, these things can make the difference when it comes to starting a family.

It could be a healthy diet, or perhaps a boost of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin C – all in all, this article will explain everything you need to know about how to boost sperm count, quality, and motility.

Plus, there are a few tips and foods to prevent male infertility and ensure a top-notch sperm production.

How To Evaluate Male Fertility

To evaluate male fertility, you can seek help from a doctor or do it yourself at home.

Should you choose the first option, a doctor will give a physical examination of the genitals, but also ask questions about the medical history – surgeries, injuries, chronic conditions, and even inherited affections.

Semen analysis is another common test. You can provide a sample by ejaculating in a cup, for example. Further tests to check for healthy sperm might be required – such as scrotal or transrectal ultrasound, hormone tests, genetic tests, and even a testicular biopsy.

On the other hand, if you feel anxious about it and want privacy and comfort, you can take a simple sperm test at home too.

You will have to masturbate and come in a small cup. You need to collect a sample and follow the instructions – different tests have different procedures. Most commonly, results will be ready within a few minutes – usually, less than half an hour.

Once you get the results, you can work things out more effectively – see what can affect sperm count naturally. Work on your low sperm counts or perhaps make some changes for better sperm motility. Such tests are not 100% conclusive, though.

Basically, while you can check some basic sperm parameters and the count, the quality or morphological characteristics may not be so obvious. In terms of volume, most men tend to ejaculate between 1.5 and five milliliters. This is considered a healthy standard to impregnate the partner.

On the other hand, the sperm count is different and may vary between 20 and 150 million sperm per milliliter. Many things can affect male fertility, so you will have to identify causes and come up with solutions if the count is not good enough.

Also, 60% or more of your sperm must have normal motility and a normal shape – morphological characteristics. Unfortunately, some basic sperm tests for home use will not display such results, but mostly the count.

How Do You Know If Your Sperm Is Healthy?

You cannot tell if your sperm is healthy by looking at it. Sure, its viscosity, color, and smell could give you some hints, but this is pretty much it.

You cannot have count, shape, or sperm motility compared to another man’s. Sometimes, sperm may look healthy, while hiding some imperfections.

On the other hand, a doctor will look at more things and can analyze sperm more effectively. They will look at the volume and count – mentioned above. The more you have, the more likely you are to impregnate your partner.

Then, a doctor will look at the motility. To be fertile, you need at least 40% moving sperm. Some doctors will also check the swimming condition – for example, sperm should travel in a straight line, rather than go in circles.

Finally, the morphology is not to be overlooked either. Healthy sperm has that classic appearance you have learned in school about – a round and slightly oval head and a long and strong tail. The healthier the shape, the more likely you will get your partner pregnant.

When you look at it, signs like color and smell are the main things. Other than that, your lifestyle should also give you some clues. A healthy diet without processed meat, gym, a decent physique, boxers, and fish could be some good indicators that your sperm is healthy.

These are only a few main things – the truth is many other things can affect sperm quality. Even if you have a healthy lifestyle, genetic factors could prevent you from producing healthy sperm – your health parameters will be affected.

What Color Is Healthy Sperm?

Generally speaking, sperm should have a whitish-gray appearance. Sometimes, it could be a bit whiter than normally.

Other times, it has a grayish nuance. Anyhow, this is perfectly normal – now and then, slight changes are temporary and depend on your diet too.

Usually, these changes are harmless. But then, this is not always the case. There are also situations when sperm can get different nuances, and some of them might be the signs of underlying conditions – for instance, pink, yellow, or even red nuances in the sperm can indicate a problem.

Further investigations will be required regarding what could affect sperm quality and color.

When it comes to smell, seminal fluid is a bit alkaline. If everything in your body is balanced and nothing can affect sperm quality negatively, it might smell like bleach or perhaps ammonia. Variations in the scent are also common and rarely represent a sign of reduced sperm health.

Smell variations are more likely to occur after having sex. Obviously, they should be light. If sperm has an intense smell, semen quality is likely to be affected. You will need to consult a doctor to figure out how to improve and protect sperm.

Which Sperm Can Cause Pregnancy?

Healthy and fast sperm in good shape can cause pregnancy – simple as that. To improve fertility, you must ensure a good sperm count. You also need to ensure that sperm swims in the right direction, not to mention having the right shape – otherwise, it cannot penetrate the egg.

With these thoughts in mind, anything out of the classic parameters will signify that you have decreased sperm quality. Trying to impregnate your partner is fine, but it takes time – generally, you need to consult a doctor if you fail for more than a year.

On the other hand, while this issue is often overlooked, it is important to know that precum can also cause a pregnancy. Precum is a lubricant that normally leaks out of the penis before the ejaculation. However, there are times when semen lingers for too long and could leak into it.

While not normally associated with pregnancy, those not interested in having a baby should know that ejaculating outside the vagina is not necessarily a good contraceptive solution because precum can cause pregnancy.

What Are The Causes Of Poor Sperm Health?

To enhance sperm quality or identify a decreased sperm production, a medical test is probably the most accurate option.

However, you can get a few clues from your lifestyle and diet too. From trans fatty acids to a healthy weight, here is what you need to know about the causes of poor sperm health.

Oxidative Stress

Stress is the modern cause of pretty much anything and can affect everything inside your body – including male reproductive health. In fact, these days, oxidative stress is considered a medical condition and one of the main causes of infertility in both men and women.

The poor sperm quality is affected by particular molecules that enter the semen. They are based on reactive oxygen. They are also known as oxidants. Once inside the semen, they will start damaging healthy cells of sperm.

Oxidants will target the sperm membrane covering the cell before anything else. Semen quality parameters will be affected, as well as the morphology of sperm. With time, the semen volume will also suffer. The DNA will be affected too.

Antioxidants normally annihilate oxidants, but sometimes, antioxidants are outweighed by harmful molecules. Oxidative stress is diagnosed when there are more oxidants. Oxidative stress is not an idea about potential causes of infertility – it has been proven to reduce it with time.

According to some studies, oxidative stress might be an issue even if the semen analysis looks alright. Therefore, it might be a good idea to consider it even if your results are fine – antioxidant-rich foods should be a must for every man out there.

Genetic Problems

Failing to get an increased sperm count could result from many issues, and genetic problems are just as common, unlike many expectations. Back in the day, no one really considered them. However, such abnormalities have actually become more normal than ever these days.

In such cases, chromosomes could be misshapen. In other cases, they might be broken. In fact, there are cases when an extra chromosome is found, not to mention a completely missing one. Individual genes may also suffer if they are damaged, and can lead to poor sperm quality.

To improve sperm health in such cases, you will require a medical test first. This is not the type of problem you can identify yourself at home – infertile men often try everything else before considering it because no one expects this to be the reason.

Research suggests that sperm DNA fragmentation is another similar cause. In this condition, the DNA is filled with all sorts of abnormalities, such as breaks. The issue affects the sperm head. It is worth noting that this problem may also be a consequence of oxidative stress, but not always.

Such problems must be addressed to improve male fertility.


Varicocele is one of the most common causes of failing to achieve greater sperm motility and quality. You may have a balanced diet. You may take folic acid and have a diet rich in antioxidants, not to mention controlling the fatty acid intake or caffeine intake.

This condition can overcome all these positive aspects of your lifestyle and represents a popular issue in infertile men. The medical condition is fairly simple to diagnose and has classic symptoms that leave no room for misinterpretations.

It affects the veins around the testicle. With time, they tend to swell and dilate. Sure, blood vessel dilation is good for erections and circulation, but there are times when too much is too much. Believe it or not, this condition affects about 15% of all infertile men out there, so its incidence is quite high.

Men suffering from varicocele have a 50% chance of having a good sperm count. But on the other hand, the chance of having a poor sperm count is just as high. It does help to look at the half-full part of the job, indeed, but it is a risk worth considering.

To improve sperm health in this case, the doctor will need to perform a surgical procedure – a minor one.


There are multiple infections that can affect human semen – some of them could be caused by injuries, while others are indirectly caused by environmental factors.

In the long run, different infections can cause different issues – lower sperm concentration, lower semen quality, count, motility, or even morphology.

Some infections have crystal clear symptoms, and you can tell straight away that something is wrong. Some others are milder when it comes to signs, so you may blame them on tiredness, an unhealthy lifestyle, and so on.

The most common infections targeting reproductive hormones and men’s reproductive health overall include epididymis and prostate infections. The epididymis is practically a duct located by the testicle. These two infections can affect fertility standards in no time.

You will need to see a doctor to identify the infections. Diagnoses are usually accurate because there is a common issue – too many white blood cells found in the sperm. A semen sample may also be required if the infection is suspected.

Fortunately, getting over it is fairly simple – your doctor will prescribe some antibiotics.

Hormonal Issues

Hormonal issues may have different causes, and some of them can also lead to infertility. Sperm production is basically under the control of different hormones. Some of these hormones come from the pituitary gland – LH and FSH.

Some other hormones come from the testicles – testosterone. Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances can be influenced by different factors. For example, a western style diet may not always benefit your body – if you chuck five hot dogs one after another and drain them in soda, your hormones might be affected.

Hormonal issues will seriously reduce sperm production. If left untreated, it can cease sperm production altogether in more difficult situations. Sure, you can still reach an orgasm, and you can still ejaculate, but the sperm count will be close to none.

The good news is such problems can easily be identified, but not at home. You will need to go to a doctor and take some tests. Blood tests are more conclusive, but saliva tests are also pretty common. Other than that, hormonal issues can be corrected with certain medications.

Sperm Blockages

Sperm blockages will also impact male fertility. Certain blockages may occur over different parts of the tract leading sperm out.

You need to understand how sperm travels first. Initially, it is produced in the testicles but will not stay there for too long.

Once produced, sperm moves into the epididymis. This duct is located behind the testicles. That is where the sperm matures and gets ready to penetrate eggs. It will need a few days in this duct before moving on to a different duct – vas deferens.

Sperm will not spend too much time in this duct, as it only uses it to reach the ejaculatory duct. Now, quite a few ducts may experience problems and cause sperm to face a blockage. Besides, more medical conditions can lead to such problems in the long run.

A blockage is less likely to go by itself – instead, the problem will aggravate. The sperm count will be dramatically reduced. You might as well end up with azoospermia, meaning sperm is no longer present when you ejaculate.

There is both good and bad news. The blockage can be repaired at times, but it is imperative to diagnose this problem early. In more severe cases, fixing the problem is no longer an option, so IVF becomes one of the most common alternatives to a traditional pregnancy.

How To Improve Sperm Health Naturally

There are more ways to improve sperm health naturally, without actually going through any medical treatments.

Sometimes, you forget about reactive oxygen species, antioxidant properties, and blockages. Instead, you only need to make a few lifestyle changes. Here are a few useful ideas.

Alcohol And Tobacco

There are countless reasons to give up smoking. It affects every aspect of your body – reproductive health, testosterone levels, prostate gland, sexual function, and so on.

Smoking affects more elements related to sperm – count, shape, and motility. There are more ways it can cause infertility.

Smoking is just as harmful if you have reached a fertility clinic for reduced testosterone production, erectile dysfunction, or fertility issues. It can and will affect the effectiveness of these treatments.

Besides, your smoking habits can also affect your partner, especially if exposed to secondhand smoke.

When it comes to alcohol intake, too much of it will also decrease fertility. You can cut the consumption or even stop it completely. A higher alcohol intake will reduce the sperm count, motility, and even the shape of your sperm – just like smoking.

However, light alcohol consumption – such as a glass of wine every couple of days – may help.


Heat is one of the common lifestyle factors that may also affect your sperm. High temperature damages everything about sperm – in fact, this is also why the male reproductive organs are built outside the body rather than inside.

There are more sources of heat that you might be exposed to. Hot tubs are some of the most common ones. If you like taking long baths, perhaps this is the time to switch to showers and keep them a bit cooler than normal – especially if you are trying to conceive.

Prolonged sitting is another issue – whether you drive or have a desk job, you should get up and take walks now and then. Standing does help, whether you go to the toilet, refill the cup or have a chat with someone else.

Car seat heaters represent a problem too – some cars have it, and it may seem extraordinary in the wintertime. However, they will also increase the scrotal temperature – a terrible idea. Make sure you wear breathable bottoms, too – forget about tight underwear based on harsh fabrics.

Finally, if you work at home or enjoy spending time on your laptop at home, avoid keeping it on your lap – one of the most common issues out there. It affects your posture and will also heat your testicles – a common issue in young, healthy men.


Sex does help when you try to conceive, but there are different misconceptions about it.

For a while, forget about vitamin E, amino acid supplements, sex steroids, antioxidant supplements, and chronic disease control. Instead, get back to basics and have sex.

Some men believe that storing sex for a while can add to the quality – basically, they practice abstinence for a while. This is not always the case. In fact, sperm may deteriorate if kept inside for too long. Instead, you need to refresh it every now and then – it keeps sperm fresh and testicles at normal parameters.

Generally speaking, you should try to have more sex when your partner is at ovulation. Having sex throughout the rest of the month will also help increase sperm quality and even get your partner pregnant. Short periods of abstinence are alright, but long periods of time are contraindicated.

In some men, the sperm count, morphology, and motility might be positively affected if you practice abstinence for two to seven days, but this is it. To keep sperm in perfect condition, you should have sex a couple of times a week. This will keep it fresh, but also let it mature.


Exercise will work wonders on your body. It is great for your general health and will give every organ a boost. It will keep you in good condition, but it will also prevent particular medical affections. Furthermore, exercise will make you lose weight – more attractive, but also good for your self-confidence.

Now, exercising on a regular basis will improve fertility too, mostly by helping the natural production of testosterone. Men who exercise regularly tend to have much more testosterone than those who spend their days working, sitting down, watching TV, or playing games – basically, inactive men.

There is, however, a very fine line between exercising for a healthy lifestyle and exercising to exhaust yourself. What looks like a good idea may actually become a terrible one. Exercising too much will have a completely different effect – in fact, too much exercise may even reduce testosterone production.

To minimize this risk, you can try out various supplements – zinc is a pretty good option then.

Bottom line, if you barely exercise every now and then but you want to become more fertile and start a family, becoming more active should be one of your main priorities. It takes a while to get into the habit, but you will never regret this change. Plus, your body will thank you for it.

Environmental Problems

If you find it difficult to impregnate your partner, the issue might be somewhere else – all around you.

Making some changes to the environment could reduce the exposure to potential causes of infertility and bring you back on track in no time. So, what do you do for work?

Particular occupations may affect infertility. Where you live could have similar effects. Take farmers and painters, for example. They have a higher risk of experiencing low sperm count. Other careers could be healthier. Then, welders and metalworkers also face dangerous exposure, so motility will be an issue.

Causes of higher infertility rates in such categories are not really known. But then, people in these occupations are exposed to various chemicals in one way or another. Other categories – such as metalworkers – may also experience overheating, which is just as harmful to the sperm count.

Stay away from hazardous materials and toxins, no matter what you do for a living or what environment you live in. If you do work with them, make sure you are well protected – follow health and safety procedures religiously. Each job has specific requirements, so try to follow them.

What Diet Is Good For Sperm?

There are different types of diets out there, and each of them has its particularities. Some people quit meat. Others are vegan – no animal products. Then, the keto diet is also quite popular these days – there are lots of varieties and ideas. No matter what you are after, chances are you can find something suitable.

But then, how do these diets affect sperm? Which diet is actually good for your sperm and why?

Vegetarian Diet

A diet based on fruits, vegetables, and animal products – except meat – is often associated with numerous health benefits.

However, it is important to implement many foods rich in specific vitamins or minerals in order to keep the sperm count, motility, and shape at optimal proportions.

A bit of meat can, indeed, help with sperm count. But on the other hand, certain types of meats will also affect it negatively. At this point, it pays off considering the foods you bring into your vegetarian diet and their nutrients.

For example, a vegetarian diet is based on fruits and veggies, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – excellent for the sperm count. However, processed vegetarian foods are just as harmful because many nutrients are eliminated and rich in sugar.

For a vegetarian diet to be healthy, you need to stick to the basics – fruits and vegetables, but also cook them yourself to ensure maximum amounts of nutrients. At the same time, soy can harm men in terms of hormones – one of the most common substitutes for meat.

Vegan Diet

A vegan diet follows similar rules. Whether you are raw vegan or cook your fruits and veggies, you are about to get a high influx of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure you get plenty of plant-based protein as well – your body needs it.

A high consumption of animal-based food is associated with low sperm motility, so meat is not really your best choice. Vegans, on the other hand, have rapid progressive sperm and good motility sperm.

Furthermore, a vegan diet is likely to keep you in good physical condition, assuming you stick to healthy foods – after all, French fries are also vegan, but they are nothing but empty calories. And at the end of the day, good physical condition is a must for your sperm quality.

Keto Diet

The keto diet is mostly appreciated for its weight loss capabilities, which is definitely a plus. Losing weight and staying fit is important for the quality of your sperm and different organs throughout your body.

Keto diet is mostly useful for overweight individuals. Losing weight will increase sperm count, quality, and motility. Furthermore, staying at the right weight will also increase testosterone levels, which are just as important in the sperm production process.

Again, a keto diet must be carefully planned and include foods with known benefits to sperm.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is pretty straightforward – eat more fats and protein, but less carbs and especially sugar. The diet is quite popular, but it has also been tested on rats for its effects, and the results are quite encouraging.

Adjusting the amounts of carbs, fats, protein, and macronutrients will increase fertility in both men and women. It does not mean you should stack on sandwiches. Instead, opt for more full fat dairy products and plenty of vegetables.

Throw in a healthy and regular exercise routine, too, and your sperm will thank you.

Intermittent Fasting Diet

From some points of view, intermittent fasting looks like a good idea.

Sure, you will deprive your body of some nutrients while fasting, but losing weight is also necessary for your sperm quality – it is imperative to maintain a healthy physical condition.

The bad news is that the cons of this diet outweigh the pros. Practically, caloric restriction is known to reduce your chances of impregnating your partner. How? Simple. When the body does not receive fuel from dietary sources, it will eat away from the inside – fat and muscle tissue.

The problem is that sperm cells may also be devoured. In the long run, intermittent fasting will seriously reduce the sperm count, which is the main reason so many people cannot impregnate their partners.

If you are trying to conceive, forget about intermittent fasting.

Carnivore Diet

Going back to basics, is a carnivore diet good for sperm quality or harmful? Healthy meat – such as poultry – in small quantities will not necessarily harm the sperm. In fact, a bit of protein is highly recommended, yet plant-based protein is healthier.

Certain types of meats are more harmful than others. If you cannot give up on meat, make sure you avoid processed meats because they are extremely harmful to the sperm. They will lower everything – count, motility, and quality.

Such meats include bacon, cold cuts, or sausage, among many others.

How Long Does It Take For Sperm Health To Improve?

The body will produce sperm daily. Small amounts are produced everyday.

However, a full sperm regeneration cycle will take more than that. It varies from one man to another, but it normally takes between 64 and 84 days.

The process – known as spermatogenesis – is a complete cycle of sperm production, as well as maturation. No matter what changes you make – dietary, lifestyle, or related to your physical activities, sperm will take quite a while to improve.

Small differences will occur straight away, but it depends where in the cycle you are when you start them. For instance, if you are in the middle of a sperm regeneration cycle, it may take a cycle and a half for your sperm quality to improve significantly – that is well over 90 days in most cases.

Make sure you stick to a change once you commit to it. You could impregnate your partner within a few days, but you will be in full power after the cycle is over. Consistency is important for every major change in terms of diet and lifestyle, whether you want to start a family or lose some weight.

FAQs Sperm Health Quality

Here are some common questions about sperm quality?

Can Sperm Quality Improve In One Week?

Dietary and lifestyle changes will start improving sperm quality straight away, yet it takes a full sperm regeneration cycle to see some obvious results. However, a healthy diet will bring in changes within one to two weeks only.

What Time Of Day Is Sperm Count Highest?

According to numerous studies, the sperm count and concentration are way higher between 5AM and 8AM. Furthermore, this time of the day brings in a higher percentage of healthy morphology in the sperm. Therefore, to impregnate your partner, try having sex early in the morning around her ovulation time.

Can Watery Sperm Get A Woman Pregnant?

Absolutely. Most people fail to realize that the consistency of sperm is not relevant to the actual impregnation. Whether it is super watery or thick, the consistency is irrelevant. If the sperm count, morphology, and motility are good, your partner can definitely get pregnant.

Bottom Line

Sperm quality is currently raising numerous question marks. Over the past few decades, the society has heavily degraded – industrial age, digital improvements, lots of plastic in foods, and plenty of unhealthy foods. Sperm quality has seriously degraded over the past half a century.

At the moment, it is not a major reason to be concerned, but the world is currently going in the wrong direction in terms of fertility.

What you can do? You can start maintaining a healthy sperm by eating the right foods. This has become a more important priority for men these days, especially when it comes to starting a family.