A congenital problem?
Over the past 50 years, declining sperm quality has become more frequent. In addition more boys have been born with genital malformations or testicles which came late into the scrotum.
The scientific explanation is that their mothers have been affected by estrogen-like substances during pregnancy and that the development of the testis in the fetus therefore not is optimal. The number of stem cells in the testis may be reduced and the basis for semen production in the adult may is therefore poorer.
The lifestyle of the mother
The lifestyle of the mother during pregnancy can affect the fetus in the same way as the estrogen-like substances. A good example is smoking which the pregnant woman should avoid.
Improving semen quality
It has been believed for several years that semen quality can not be improved. Naturally, changes which occurred during fetal life cannot be reversed after the baby boy is born.
Despite this anticipation, research during the past decade has shown that reduced semen quality in the adult male may be caused by factors including lifestyle which can be changed.
Soft drinks and semen quality
As an example, Copenhagen University published a study in 2010 where they had tested the semen quality in 2,554 men and asked them to complete a large questionnaire on various factors including the lifestyle of their mothers during pregnancy and their own present lifestyle. Surprisingly their own lifestyle appeared to affect the semen quality. Among several factors, drinking more than 1 litre of sugar containing soft drinks per day increased the risk of poor semen quality.
It is worth noting that standard semen quality parameters cannot be assessed very precisely. This means that improvement in semen quality cannot be assessed if an individual male decides to stop smoking. This was the reason for the high number of men included in the study mentioned above.