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FREQUENT sexual activity improves the genetic quality of sperm and may help some couples conceive, fertility specialists have found.
A study of men revealed that genetic defects in their sperm fell substantially after going on a program that required them to engage in sexual activity daily for a week. Fertility doctors commonly advise men trying for a baby to abstain from sexual activity for two to three days, because it boosts the number of sperm they produce.
The latest finding suggests that men who have healthy sperm counts but poor quality sperm can improve the genetic material in the cells by engaging in sex more often.
David Greening, a fertility doctor at Sydney IVF, studied 42 men whose sperm had high levels of genetic damage. After three days of sexual abstinence, tests revealed 30.8 per cent genetic damage in the men's sperm. The men were tested again after being told to engage in sexual activity daily for a week.
Tests showed that while their sperm counts fell by nearly a third, genetic damage also fell, on average by 12.8 per cent, in 37 of the men. Tests on the remaining five men showed their sperm had slightly increased genetic damage.
Dr Greening, who spoke at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Washington on Monday, said: "I'm convinced that ejaculating more frequently, i.e., daily, improves sperm DNA damage in most men by a decent amount." He said the longer sperm are held in the tube that leads from the testicles, the more genetic damage they accumulate from free radicals circulating in the body.
Guardian News & Media