Abstinence Does Not Make Sperm Grow Stronger

Avoiding sex doesn't help men pack more fertility punch, study finds

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MONDAY, July 7, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Abstaining from sex before fertility treatment doesn't help men become more potent.

So says a study presented recently at the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Madrid, Spain.

The new research by Israeli fertility experts challenges the current medical opinion that it's beneficial for men to refrain from sex for two to seven days before undergoing some forms of fertility treatment.

The scientists tested more than 7,200 semen samples for semen volume, sperm concentration and shape, and the percentage and total amount of active and moving (motile) sperm. The samples were collected from about 6,000 men who had abstained from sex for up to two weeks.

More than 4,500 of the samples had normal sperm counts. The remainder had varying count levels, from mild to severe.

While the volume of semen increased up to 11 to 14 days of abstinence, the shape and form of the sperm gradually deteriorated, whatever the sperm count.

In the samples taken from men with reduced sperm counts, the proportion of motile sperm fell significantly from the second day onward of abstinence, reaching a low at the sixth day and remaining low, the study found.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about infertility.

SOURCE: European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, news release, June 29, 2003

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