Can sperm persuade the female to accept a pregnancy?

We know that it takes a healthy sperm to help create a healthy embryo and that most of the time the majority of attention is given to the female rather than the male, however recent studies have shown that sperm may play another essential role in implantation.

The University of Adelaide has recently published evidence in Nature research journal Communications Biology that sperm can also potentially deliver a signal directly to the female to help increase the chances of pregnancy.

Research which has come out of the Robinson Institute in Adelaide has shown that the female immune response is persuaded by signals in sperm that will help allow successful fertilisation of the eggs and therefore conceive a pregnancy.

Professor Sarah Robertson of the Robinson Research Institute stated that sperm “are not just carriers of genetic material, but also agents for convincing the female to invest reproductive resources with that male.”

So, how does the sperm do this?

We already know that there are specific proteins in seminal fluid that help to regulate the female immune response during the implantation stage, which helps to encourage the body to accept the embryo.

This new research has shown that the sperm actual plays a large part in the body’s response. Scientists analysed intact sperm in male mice and compared it to sperm from males that had had a vasectomy. They found that the intact sperm generated a greater change in the female’s immune response pathways and that sperm-associated signals help to promote a form of “immune-mediated cryptic female choice”.

We’ve written previously about the importance of sperm health on numerous occasions, and Fertility First has recognised the importance of the health of your sperm when it comes to fertility and healthy pregnancies.

Factors such as diet, weight, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as well as chemical exposures can affect not only the concentration and motility of your sperm, but also factors we cannot see such as DNA integrity and quality. All these factors contribute to a healthy pregnancy and now that we are aware of this additional role sperm plays during conception, it is more important than ever to ensure your sperm is in good health.

For more information on DNA fragmentation testing or our donor sperm program, please contact our clinic on (02) 9586 3311 and speak to one of our friendly staff members.