For far too long woman have been blamed for 100% of infertility. In reality we know that men can contribute up to 33% of infertility. If you don't have healthy, strong swimmers, your ability to fertilize an egg will be less than optimal.
So why do some men have less sperm counts than others, (quantity), and why do some men have more mobile well differentiated sperm (quality)? Is the quantity and quality of sperm affected by lifestyle factors such as diet?
Last week I came across a paper looking at a few of these questions. This research team had a simple question. Is consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues associated with lower semen quality?
In this prospective cohort study, a group of 155 males provided about 2 sperm samples each. When men provide sperm samples to the fertility clinic they are assessing the quantity and quality of the sperm samples.
Unfortunately, this trial was not a Randomized Controlled trial where we provide food to one group that is high in pesticides and another that is low in pesticides. That would actually be unethical to do. (For more on unethical research see the Tuskegee Air Corp story. Atrocious.) Therefore we are left with incomplete data. Men are filling out food surveys and questionnaires and we know that reporting is less than ideal.
Regardless an association was found between high pesticide fruit and vegetable consumption and poor sperm quality. Men who consumed the highest amount of pesticides had an almost 50% reduction in sperm count and 1/3 of their sperm cells were considered not properly shaped.
These findings continue to add weight to the argument that organic food is about less pesticides, not necessarily higher nutrient contents. If you know any couples that are struggling with fertility, please share this article and research paper with them. We have a lot of issues in the world that need improving and we need healthy, strong, resilient people to solve them.