Make your sperm count this holiday: researchers recruit for fertility study

New research into sperm health is aiming to assist couples trying to conceive this holiday season.

For many people, falling pregnant is the best Christmas present they could hope for, however statistics show that one is six Australian couples have difficulty conceiving.

To help combat the problem, researchers from NICM are undertaking a study to examine the effects of antioxidant supplements on sperm health.

Healthy sperm is one of the most important factors in getting pregnant, Professor of Clinical Research at NICM and chief investigator of the “Sperm Health Study”, Caroline Smith said.

“When sperm are produced in low numbers, are abnormally shaped, or are not able to move well, this may reduce the ability of sperm to penetrate and fertilise the egg,” Professor Smith said.

“Antioxidants have been reported to have a protective role in sperm health by improving DNA integrity and sperm mobility.

“Our study is testing a new vitamin and herb supplement to see if it can improve the health of sperm by decreasing damage to sperm and improving sperm production.”

Male infertility is more common than people realise, according to Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UNSW Sydney, Professor William Ledger, who is an investigator on the study.

“In approximately 25 per cent of infertility cases, the problem lies with male-related issues,” Professor Ledger said. “Furthermore, recent studies have pointed to a decline in the fertility rate of Western men.”

However, Professor Ledger said if you are worried about your sperm health, there are steps you can take to help improve your fertility.

“Lifestyle factors such as smoking, increased alcohol consumption, high body weight and nutritional deficiencies have all been linked to male infertility,” he said.

NICM is looking for men to volunteer for their clinical study, which will test the effects of an antioxidant supplement called Hominax, Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration Aust L 263183.

“If you have been told your sperm health could be better, you may be eligible for this study. You don’t need to be actively trying to conceive to volunteer,” Professor Ledger said.

Recruitment is now underway in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Read more about the study or contact

This project is approved by the Western Sydney University Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval Number H11411), and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee (15/327).

The researchers acknowledge the support of NICM, Western Sydney University, UNSW Sydney, the Royal Hospital for Women and Max BioCare Pty. Ltd.