In the discussion of Men’s Health, the term Reproductive Health often appears. Male reproductive health is the overall medical condition of the reproductive anatomy of a human male. An essential portion of the equation is the creation of normal and mature sperm.
The male reproductive process
The reproductive process of a male is highly evolved and efficient. Sperm is created in a man’s testes and passes through the epididymis, which stores and nourishes the sperm to maturity. Once this occurs, the sperm travels through the vas deferens and may also be stored in the seminal vesicles. Upon ejaculation, the sperm from the vas combines with fluid from the seminal vesicles to create semen. If the sperm are healthy and able to travel from the woman’s vagina to and through the cervix and uterus and into her fallopian tubes, it may then attach to and fertilize the egg.
Age has little to no bearing on a man’s ability to continue to produce sperm. On the other hand, female fertility is negatively impacted by age, especially after she turns 40 years old.
Hormones play a critical role
As with other parts of the body, hormones play a huge role in male reproductive health. Specifically, hormones stimulate and regulate the production of sperm and semen. Surprisingly, two of the same pituitary gland hormones controlling the female reproductive cycle also control the male reproductive system:
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates sperm production.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates the production of testosterone.
Creating a delicate balance
The process of sperm creation is not a simple process. Hormones must be produced and be present in the testicles and at the right levels for healthy sperm production to occur. Just the slightest disruption in this process can decrease the chances for normal fertility. Lifestyle choices appear to have only a minor impact on sperm quantity and quality.