Sperm are produced in the testicles (in the seminiferous tubules). They are then held inside metres of “plumbing” called the epididymis, which lies on top of each testicle. Sperm are nourished by semen, which is made by glands along the way (as shown above). Sperm are contained outside the main body for one important reason, HEAT. The testicles are 4 degrees lower than the main body. If the testicles get too hot due to external factors then sperm can be damaged and can die. Heat is the main factor that can impact a male’s fertility.
Very similar to the women’s menstrual cycle at puberty the pituitary gland, which is stimulated by the hypothalamus, begins to produce FSH (FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE) and LH (LUTENIZING HORMONE). The role of these hormones is to stimulate the production TESTOSTERONE and therefore SPERM in the testes.
The structure of sperm
A mature human sperm cell has the following parts:
- Middle piece
Structure and functions of a sperm
- Head: It is spherical in shape consisting of large nucleus and a dome-shaped acrosome present on the nucleus.
- Function: Nucleus contain genetic information and half number of chromosomes. The acrosome releases a hyaluronidase enzyme which destroys the hyaluronic acid of the ovum and enters into the ovum.
- Neck: It contains centrioles which are proximal centriole and distal centriole.
- Function: Distal centriole gives rise to axial filament of the sperm which runs up to the end of the tail.
- Middle piece: It is a tubular structure in which mitochondria are spirally arranged.
- Function: Middle piece is called the powerhouse of sperm because it gives energy to the sperm to swim in the female genital tract.
- Tail: It arises from the middle piece and it is the end part of the sperm. It contains axial filaments.
- Function: Tail helps the sperm to swim in the female genital tract. It is the main part of sperm to move.
The lifecycle of a sperm
Like with many cells in the human body sperm cells begin life as immature cells.
It takes around 90-100 days for each sperm to reach full maturity.
- Around 75 days in the developmental stage and an additional
- Around 25-30 days to mature and become fully functional.
The most important thing to take away from this section is that it takes around 3 months for sperm to mature so any changes that your client makes in terms of diet and lifestyle factors, can take at least three months to have an impact. There are some great herbs and nutritional supplements out there to improve both sperm quality and sperm concentration so it is worth making contacts with local practitioners in the area that you can cross-refer or pinpoint your clients in the right direction.