What a truly amazing creation sperm are!
They are the only cells in the mammalian world that are designed to leave the body and travel into another person, where they will all die. There is something quintessentially male about this – the ability to navigate with certainty in places they have never been, and the willingness to sacrifice their lives for a common cause.
Once inside a woman’s body sperm become entranced by a song of sirens – a hypnotically irresistible hormonal signal that beckons them towards the fallopian tubes, to which they swim with maniacal ferocity. Though their destination must seem thousands of miles away, they advance en masse undeterred by distance or the relentless chemical attacks from female immune cells patrolling the region. Despite shields set to maximum power millions of sperm are annihilated, and of the few who endure – all are damaged in some way.
Sperm are built for speed and endurance – a rare combination in the natural world. Because of this they are built with little of the protection other stationary cells have. There is some protection afforded by semen, but once they ejaculate out of the body and into the woman’s cervix they quickly pull clear of the semen and lose most of their protection, after that survival depends on healthy cervical fluid!
This brings to light another way sperm are unique – they are unable to repair damage in themselves!
They can resist to some degree the oxidative damage wrought on them by the woman’s immune system, but sperm carry a precious payload of DNA, and the ferocious movement they undergo whilst propelling themselves all the way to the fallopian tubes causes the DNA to unravel, and some of it becomes damaged. There is only one other cell with the software program capable of repairing this damage – and that’s the egg. Within a certain threshold the egg can repair damage to the sperm – this is normal, but if the damage exceeds the threshold – then trouble is afoot.
Either the conception will fail, or the embryo conceived will suffer some sort of damage and either miscarry, or the baby will go to full term but suffer some sort of health issue.
The ONLY way to avoid this fate is to ensure the sperm is in top condition before it leaves the testes – end of story.
Having a sperm analysis that indicates the count, morphology, motility and DNA fragmentation are all good – is a great sign, but it doesn’t guarantee there won’t be damage the egg cannot repair.
Only fully healthy sperm and a fully healthy egg can ensure this, and only fully healthy bodies can produce fully healthy sperm and eggs! It’s a 2 person game – how are you playing it?