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Male fertility is not all about numbers after all, the number of sperm ultimately needed for conception of a child is one. Increasing sperm count, however, is one of the simplest and most achievable objectives for couples overcoming difficulties as they try to conceive. Here is what every man seeking to become a father needs to know.

A "normal" sperm count is 20 million sperm per milliter of semen. A milliliter, for those who do not use the metric system, is about 1/5 of a teaspoon. The average ejaculation is about 2 milliliters of semen, so sexual intercourse typically releases 40 million sperm to fertilize the egg. Even 40 million sperm, however, may not be enough. The higher the sperm count, the greater the chances of fertility. What is the surest way to increase that number? When sperm counts are an issue, men seeking to become fathers should refrain from sexual intercourse except when their female partners are also fertile. If a man's testes can generate 40 million sperm every two days, then they can generate about 400 million sperm in the 10 days after the female partner's menstrual period to the beginning of her peak fertility.

Not every woman, however, has a period that is 28 days long, so not every woman will be at peak fertility on days 11 through 16 of period. Fertility testing methods such as the Clearblue Fertility Monitor can determine the days the prospective mother is most fertile, so the greatest number of sperm can be delivered to the uterus so that one can fertilize the egg. Why are so many sperm needed to fertilize one egg? Some sperm, of course, will be killed by various toxic agents and microbes that always exist in the female reproductive tract.

Even in healthy men, about 35 percent of sperm simply can't "swim". They never reach the opening of the fallopian tubes to have a chance of fertilizing the egg. Other sperm succumb in the cervical mucus, especially if it is brown, dry, thick, and filled with inflammatory chemicals. And, since there are two fallopian tubes, and only one egg is fertilized at a time, in most cases, any given sperm has a 50 per cent chance of arriving at the wrong fallopian tube to fertilize an egg. When men avoid ejaculation to increase sperm count, timing is everything. It's not enough just to abstain. It's also necessary to have sex at the right time in the right sexual position for maximum chances of conceiving a child.

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