Ah, spring. The grass is growing. The flowers are blooming. The leaves are sprouting. Your sperm count is increasing.
That’s right. Research presented at the 2018 American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting found that sperm quality was higher in spring and fall. The study, which looked at over 29,000 men over 17 years, also determined that sperm counts drop during the summer months.
“It is possible that male fertility is better in these seasons but further research is needed to know how these findings affect pregnancy success rates,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Taraneh Nazem, from Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, NY.
Why springtime is the right time for conception
The research, which is the largest retrospective study of sperm to date, found that sperm drops to 112 million moving sperm per milliliter in summer from, on average,117 million in spring. The quality of the sperm changes seasonally as well. Sperm motility—or the ability for your little guys to be good swimmers—was highest in the spring, but in the fall you have a higher number of normal-shaped sperm (or morphology).
Experts surmise that men are more active and eat more healthfully during the nicer weather and that the longer number of daily hours contributes to the changing nature of sperm produced throughout the year. Researchers also speculate that men drink less during the spring and fall than during the Christmas holiday and summer months.
“They could still be eating healthily from the summer,” said Nazem. “There’s something about these in-between seasons when people are preparing or recovering from the two extremes of winter and summer.”
These findings jibe with a study out of Israel in 2013 that found that sperm were at their healthiest and swam faster in winter and early spring. That study determined sperm concentration and motility decreased from spring to summer and fall and then began to rise during winter months.
Is a woman’s fertility affected seasonally?
As for whether female fertility is affected by seasonal changes, there is very little research. In the U.S., there is data that shows that more babies are born during the summer months, but CDC statisticians speculate that’s just a product of couples snuggling up during the cold winter months.
Sometimes, no matter what the season, you may have trouble conceiving. That’s when you need SpermCheck , an in-home test that lets you monitor your sperm count without having to make an awkward trip to the doctor.
Regardless of the season, probably the best advice—until there’s real scientific evidence that weather plays a contributing factor in fertility—is to take good care of yourself all year long.
“Men should evaluate their lifestyle habits in these seasons, especially diet and exercise, and attempt to maintain a similar lifestyle throughout the year,” advised Nazem.
But if you’ve already made the decision to have a baby, now just might be the perfect time to “spring” into action.