The Science of Fertility

Fertilization and AlphaSperm

A healthy body, a healthy baby

Your best shot at having a healthy baby begins in the testicles. But it’s really about the whole body. Your health and well-being play a big role in the quality and quantity of the sperm your testicles produce. Did you lose sleep or skip the gym? Did you have a salad and wild salmon for dinner—or did you grab a slice of pizza? Did you drink plenty of water with that, or did you wash it down with three drafts? It all impacts your health and your sperm health.

Billions and billions

Did you know that women are born with all the eggs they will ever use? The testicles, on the other hand, produce some 1,500 new sperm cells every second, or more than 500 billion during a man’s lifetime. The brain kicks off this frenzy of procreation by secreting follicle secreting hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland, which starts one of the world’s most amazing production lines.

Your half of the fertility equation

The birth of a sperm begins when special types of cells that undergo cellular division to reduce the number of chromosomes by half—from 46 to 23. (Ultimately, the sperm will seek its other half in the egg, which also has only 23 chromosomes).

Micronutrients play a macro role

These baby sperm, or spermatids, grow to maturity in about 700 feet of microscopic tubing (called seminiferous tubules) in the testicles. There, so-called nurse cells—which are also activated by FSH—pull key micronutrients [link to ingredients] from the bloodstream to nourish the maturing sperm.

Some things really are in your head

These nurse cells also concentrate testosterone, which is essential for the sperm’s development, such as a growing tail. The brain keeps a watch on testosterone, and sends signals from the pituitary gland telling the testicles to produce more if levels fall too low. The maturing sperm also need a healthy levels of B vitamins and coenzymes like zinc.

Healthy testicles build strong sperm in many ways

Healthy sperm produced in healthy testicles have a densely packed DNA payload in the head, strong tails, and a smooth, hydrodynamic shape. Unhealthy sperm typically have misshapen bodies (poor “morphology”), which contributes to poor swimming (poor “motility”). They also can’t swim straight, which obviously makes it hard to travel the shortest distance from point A to point B—your partner’s unfertilized ovum

Totally tubular training course

Once off this production line, the sperm move on to the the epididymis, a long, looping water-slide-like tube where they learn to swim. Micronutrients such as L-acetyl carnitine, Ubinquinone [links to ingredients] help to keep this tubing and these swimmers fit. They remain in the epididymis until ejaculated, or if not that fortunate, reabsorbed in the body.

Once in the vagina, the sperm must make the long migration (about 6 inches) up the cervix, overcoming many obstacles along the way. If this tiny swimmer were human size, it would need to cover almost 3.5 miles. But thanks to an efficient shape—if it has healthy morphology—which helps to cuts through the cervical mucus and an engine that would put an FI race car to shame powering its rapidly flagellating tail, the sperm can cover this distance in about ¾ of an hour. Scaled to size, that would be equivalent to a salmon swimming upstream to spawn at 500 mph.

Power lunch: Countering the byproducts of the sperm’s muscle-car engine

Like the metabolism that powers our muscles, the sperm’s strong motor produces byproducts as it “burns” fuel. Sitting very close to the engine compartment, the sperm’s precious DNA payload can be damaged (fragmented) by this exhaust of oxidants and free radicals. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants are vitally important prior to conception to ensure you sperm stays healthy.

Is he hot or not? – Deciding whether to join genetic materials and conceive

If the initial scan looks ‘good enough,’ the female activates repair genes in an attempt to fix any defects. If the DNA is too fragmented or otherwise beyond repair, the female side rejects the match. If the DNA looks good, the 23 female chromosomes join with the 23 male chromosomes to form a zygote cell, or fertilized egg with 46 chromosomes. The zygote rapidly divides and divides again and again, and you on your way to having the most amazing thing in the world—a child.