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The role of a man in the success of fertility treatment wasn’t very clear until know. However, a new study has found that the quality of sperms of the man is very important for a successful in vitro fertilization, and this, in turn, depends upon his diet.

Diet Influences the Quality of Sperms

Considerable work has been done to study how several lifestyle factors in a woman affect the chances of success of a fertility treatment. However, until now, it was not known that the role of a man is just as important for the fertility treatment to succeed. A new study, published in the November issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility, has found that the quality of sperm can be the deciding factor in the success or failure of such treatment program.

According to the study, led by Dr. Edson Borges from the Fertility-Assisted Fertilization Center in Sao Paulo, along with his colleagues, the lifestyle of the male partner, which includes his eating and social habits have a lot of impact on the quality of his sperms. The researchers examined the lifestyle habits of 250 men undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a type of fertility treatment. The nature of food that each participant took was noted. The frequency of eating foods like grains, fruits vegetables, meat, beans and fish, as well as that of smoking and drinking was monitored.

A track of the various steps in the fertility treatment was kept. It was seen that while three-forth of the eggs were fertilized successfully, only four out of every ten women got pregnant. Analysis of the various events during the treatment showed that chances of pregnancy were lower in women whose partner ate a poor diet. Drinking frequently was also associated with reduced chances of successful in vitro fertility treatment. This is because diet influences the quality of sperms.

A Healthy Diet is Associated with Strong Sperms

While the count and shape of the sperms remained unaltered, the mobility of the sperms varies according to the diet. This was also proved by another study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The study was conducted on 188 men between the ages of 18 and 22 years. The nature of diet consumed by these men was recorded, based on a questionnaire. Later, a semen analysis of all the participating men was done to find the quality of sperms.

It was seen that men consuming a healthy diet consisting of grains, beans, fruits and vegetables had better quality sperm with increased motility compared to men whose diet basically consisted of red meat and refined carbohydrates.

A study, led by Dr. Jorge Chavarro from Harvard School of Public Health, on 100 men, found that the sperm concentration was reduced in men consuming a diet rich in Trans fat.

It has been seen that consumption of red meat and alcohol, as well as being on a weight loss diet, has a negative impact on male fertility. While cereals improve the motility and concentration of sperms, fruits are also associated with agile sperms. Taking vitamins and minerals can increase the chances of a successful fertility treatment provided these supplements are taken well in advance. Thus, it can be safely concluded that the diet of a man has a direct impact on his fertility.

  • “Your sperm are what you eat, study suggests”, by Genevra Pittman, Reuters Health, published on November 18, 2011, accessed on December 8, 2011. Retrieved from:
  • “Food intake and social habits in male patients and its relationship to intracytoplasmic sperm injection outcomes”, by Edson Borges, et al, Infertility and Sterility, published online November 10, 2011, accessed on December 8, 2011, Retrieved from
  • "Healthier Diet, Stronger Sperm?” HealthDay News, published on October 17, 2011, accessed on December 8, 2011. Retrieved from:
  • Photo courtesy of estherase on Flickr: