The chances of pregnancy for a couple in a given month will depend upon many things, and some that they can easily control. One of such is frequency of sex. Experts say that having sex daily is the best way to ensure fast conception, reports Sade Oguntola.

Are you worried that you may be infertile? For some women, getting pregnant happens easily. For others, it can take time and may even require medical help. One of the reasons why many women do not get pregnant easily is lack of regular sex between couples. It is hard for some couples to include regular sex in their daily activities. But this is often overlooked in relationships.

Many couples bitterly complain they are not getting pregnant, forgetting that infertility is only thought of medically in a couple that had lacked ability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse. This includes having sex at the right time.

Research has shown that the more sex a man has, the better his level of fertility becomes and thus his chances of becoming a father. Regular sex ensures that sperms of higher quality are produced.

The finding, presented at the 2007 American Society for Reproductive Medicines Annual Conference, and which is of particular significance to couples facing challenges of conceiving, suggested that daily sex could increase the quantity of sperm produced and improve the chances of pregnancy.

The research, which suggested that sperm sitting in the body accumulates damage as it ages, indicated that if sperm is released in a steady stream, due to steady sex, the sperm that is ejaculated contains newer and less-damaged cells.

Australian researchers, looking at the sperm quality in more than 40 men whose wives had either failed to get pregnant through Invitro fertilisation(IVF) or had repeatedly miscarried, found that when the men had no sex for three days, their sperm contained high levels of DNA damage. Ironically, on testing the men after having sex every day for a week, the amount of damage dropped by a third.

Dr Abisola Abisoye-Ogunniyan, an embryologist, in an edition of Fertility Update, a publication by The Bridge Clinic, stated the significance of semen quality in couples facing challenges of conception.

According to Dr Abisoye-Ogunniyan, the amount of semen a man can produce as well as the number and quality of spermatozoa in his semen sample is determined through semen analysis.

Sperm swim in and are nourished in the semen. Once inside the fallopian tube(s), they have a life span of about five days. This means the sperm can be in the fallopian tube for five days in advance of ovulation and still fertilise the eggs. But low semen volume affects the life span of the sperm cells. It is associated, for instance, with the number of days of abstinence from sex.

However, sperms genetic makeup (DNA) can become more damaged the longer it remains in the body, cutting the chances of fertilisation and raising the risk of a miscarriage in the first weeks of pregnancy.

According to the expert, one day of abstinence can cause at least 20 per cent reduction in the sperm count. So the longer the period of abstinence from sex, the poorer the sperm count.

“A study in 2004 found that men with repeated normal results from semen analysis produced abnormal samples if they abstained for more than 10 days. For a longer period of abstinence, more dead sperm cells will be found in the ejaculate.”

Conversely, Professor Ayo Arowojolu, a consultant obstetrican and gyneacologist, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State in a lecture entitled “In search of the causes of unexplainable fertility in Nigerian men”, stated that “if a couple do not have sex at least three to four times a week to ensure they maintain the desired closeness, they cannot be sure to have a child.”

Couples often try to time everything perfectly for ovulation, but do not have sex when they think they are not ovulating. No doubt, sex that is not within the time of ovulation will not result in pregnancy. However, because women do not always ovulate when they think they will, having frequent sex will help a woman not to miss any opportunity to get pregnant.

Professor Arowojolu declared, “the woman ovulates one day in a month and you do not know the day. You might calculate the fertile period and by the time she gets to that fertile period, the man might be too tired or out of town due to work.”

It is a common notion by some men that if they abstain for longer times before say, ovulation, their sperm will be better. Although there may be more volume, there will also be more sperms with damaged DNA.

He added: “But with sex at least three to four times a week, the chances of getting pregnant is higher if they meet that once a week or say at weekends.”

There are, however, other reasons couples are finding conception difficult. For example, a long-term use of contraceptive pill can lead to fertility problems for some women. It will take some time after stopping the use of contraceptive pills for the woman’s body to be normal again, especially when the woman is of an advanced age.

In addition, a pursuance of narcissistic lifestyle for so many years; that is, smoking, drinking, having unprotected sex, dieting, and exercising excessively, can be a cause of infertility in Certain Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can affect fertility. According to Professor Arowojolu, infections such as Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are the major causes of infertility in men in Nigeria. This is because men still practise unprotected sex.

He reiterated: “Unfortunately, Chlamydia, unlike Gonorrhoea, does not show itself until it has done a lot of damage in the body, including blocking the fallopian tubes in the woman.”

There is a general consensus among fertility experts that an optimum weight be maintained when trying to get pregnant. Being over or underweight can affect the regularity of the menstrual periods and inhibit ovulation in women. Too much weight around the stomach can also affect the hormone balance, impair fertility and delay pregnancy.

Smoking deprives the body of essential nutrients for fertility, including zinc, selenium, and vitamin C. It increases levels of toxic substances like cadmium and lead in the blood.

According to Professor Arowojolu, “the Lead content of the Nigerian environment is higher than what is acceptable all over the world. Evidence has shown that Lead is one of the causal factors for infertility in men. Lead affects fertility by destroying the sperm, testes and the prostate. It also affects the kidneys.“

He linked Nigeria’s high level of lead content with the use of leaded petrol, indiscriminate citing of petrol stations, battery chargers activities and foundries and poor disposal of industrial wastes.


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