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Abstinence & fertility: the longer men abstain from sex, the poorer their sperm quality


Don’t want your partner’s sperm quality to suffer? Read on to find out more.

When it comes to having sex with the goal of conceiving, there’s tons of misinformation floating out there. Some people will tell you that certain positions can bump up your chances of getting pregnant (not true). Others will tell you that abstaining from sex on days when you aren’t fertile will, similarly, boost your fertility (technically true if you’re equating fertility to sperm count, and sperm count alone). But there’s more to the story when it comes to abstinence and fertility – read on to find out what we mean!

How abstinence affects men’s fertility

When a man abstains from sex, this effectively increases his sperm count, which does boost fertility. But here’s the thing: abstaining from sex also results in a decline in semen quality. More specifically, this affects sperm motility, which refers to the sperm’s agility, and how effectively it can swim to an egg.

That’s not all: when weighing both factors against each other, a recent study found that the benefits of an increased sperm count due to abstinence is outweighed by the disadvantages caused by reduced sperm motility. The verdict is in: the net effect is definitely detrimental to men’s fertility.


Should you abstain from sex to boost their sperm count?

As of now, men who are diagnosed with having low sperm count are typically advised to abstain for sex for up to a week. This is so that they can inflate the quantity of their sperm to coincide with the time period in which their partners are at their most fertile. With the above data regarding sperm quality now coming to light, however, it seems as though abstaining isn’t the best course of action after all.

How long is too long?

This begs the question: when it comes to abstinence, how long is too long? According to Doctor Eliahu Levitas, author of the study, waiting for just four days or more will negatively impact a man’s sperm quality (and hence, the couple’s fertility). Doctor Levitas, who is an IVF specialist at Soroka Medical Centre (Ben-Gurion University, Israel), says that it’s highly preferable for couples to have sex frequently, and that this is a “critical factor” which influences whether a couple manages to conceive.


In total, Doctor Levitas analysed 10,000 sperm samples. His findings are as such: amongst men who have not ejaculated for one or two days, the proportion of sperm which has good motility is approximately 10%. After abstaining for two weeks, the proportion of sperm which similarly, has good motility, drops to just 5%. So bear this in mind: you’re better off having sex frequently, and prioritizing quality instead of quantity!

Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka

If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!

+65 3165 2202

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