New research indicates that sex every day may enhance the genetic quality of mens sperm, and could improve their chances of conception and becoming a father.
Couples trying for a baby are usually recommended to only have sexual intercourse every other day in order to avoid reducing the mans sperm count. A low sperm count may negatively affect mens fertility levels and chances of fatherhood.
However, a new study conducted at Sidney IVF, a centre for infertility treatment, suggests that daily sex for a week could significantly enhance the genetic quality of sperm. Although refraining from sexual intercourse for a few days allows the sperm count to recover, the quality of sperm may be damaged from infrequent ejaculations.
It is believed that the DNA of sperm may become damaged while sperm rests in the epididymis due to heat and oxygen-free radicals exposure. Therefore, the longer sperm rest in the epididymis, the greater the risk of genetic damage. Dr Greening, who led the study, said that through simply clearing the epididymis and testicles, DNA damage has less time to occur. Theres less time for vandalism.
Since frequent ejaculations empty the sperm reservoir, newly produced sperm of higher genetic quality are more likely to be quickly available. Having sex every day during a womans most fertile days is therefore critical to achieving pregnancy, according to Dr. Greening.
The findings of this study are of particular relevance for couples undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Before IVF, the man is usually asked to refrain from ejaculating for a few days before providing a sperm sample which is used to fertilise his partners eggs. Many couples do not have frequent intercourse during IVF treatment either.
A pilot study conducted two years ago found that daily ejaculation decreased levels of DNA damage by 12 per cent. The study was carried out on 42 men with high levels of sperm DNA damage, and was then repeated on a further 118 men. Incidences of DNA damage in the sperm of 81 per cent of these men fell by 12 per cent, although sperm DNA damage increased in the remaining 19 per cent of the men involved in the study.
According to Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, clearing the sperm reservoir is particularly important in cases in which the sperm have high levels of genetic damage. There appears to be a clear trade-off between the quantity of sperm and genetic damage; according to the study, if a man has a decent sperm count but high sperm DNA damage, ejaculating every day will increase his chances of becoming a father.