In Sickness and In Sperm

May 03, 2011

Blog written by Laboratory Staff Nisha

We often see that healthy males, with exceptionally extraordinary sperm quality, will have virtually no living sperm cells after becoming ill, particularly high fevers. Illnesses greatly affect the homeostasis of the body while the body fights off the bacterial or viral infection. The body will produce a fever to raising the temperature above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit in hopes that the temperature will be fatal to the bacteria or virus. Unfortunately, this temperature can also kill off sperm cells, since their optimal temperature is just below body temperature. Medications taken while ill can also greatly reduce the quality of sperm. Over the counter cold medications are not excluded. The chemicals in medications can affect sperm production.

We had a donor who got pneumonia this year. We advised him to take a break from donations for about a month after he stopped his medications, even though he was feeling like himself again. Even after a month, we saw that his specimens were still extremely sub par to his specimens from before he got sick. With a proper diet and exercise his specimens went back to being their old selves again, though. The body just needs time and proper care to recover from illnesses.

This just makes me wonder: If sperm production takes a few months to get back to normal, what other processes in the body are not quite back to normal either? When sick I think everyone, male and female, should do well to take a little more time to recuperate. Just because you feel better, doesn’t mean your body is back to its top game!

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