According to a study from Brown University, not only can the number of sperm affect fertility, but so can the variation of the length of the sperm. These two factors seem to be tied together, as well.
According to the study, led by James Mossman and published in Human Reproduction
, if a male has a wide range of sperm lengths, he tends to have lower numbers of sperm that swim well. And inversely, men with larger amounts of ejaculate have a larger number of consistently sized swimmers.
It seems that most of the studies before this one concentrated on the head measurement of the sperm. This study shows that other components of the sperm “body,” including the flagellum that propels the sperm, can also provide information about the quality of the sperm itself.
The study also showed that men who had higher average flagellum length, total sperm length, and flagellum to head length rations had higher numbers of capable swimmers.
The findings could provide some new insight to clinicians into the diagnosis and treatment of male fertility problems – which account for up to 50 percent of the cases where couples are having trouble conceiving.
When studying the most successful types of sperm, it appears that the sperm that can run a marathon rather than a sprint were the most successful at reaching and penetrating an egg. This new information regarding length of sperm can also help with Assisted Reproductive Technology like IUI and IVF.
Interestingly, another sperm study in August of 2012 indicates that men who ate a 75g pack of walnuts each day had improved motility, structure, and vitality of their sperm.
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