Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Singapore men have low quality sperm

Singapore men have low quality sperm
Tue, May 19, 2009

The sperm quality of Singapore men is low and lags far behind international standards, reported Shin Min Daily News.

This is according to Dr Yu Su Ling, a senior consultant in Singapore General Hospital's (SGH) department of obstetrics and gynaecology. No more than 5 per cent of men in Singapore will meet those standards, said Dr Yu, who is also the head of the hospital's Centre for Assisted Reproduction.

She said that in the 21 years since the centre was set up in 1988, only 60 men have gone forward to donate sperm. Even after lowering its requirements, SGH has on average three to five sperm donors a year.

In terms of sperm count and sperm motility (how well the sperm moves), local men do not differ much from international standards. The main problem is with the sperm head.

"Healthy sperm have head shapes that are pointed, like a spearhead, which allows sperm to penetrate the eggs' outer surface more easily.

"However, the sperm of local men have heads that are more commonly round or oval in shape. It is a problem that Asian men tend to have and the reasons are many. These include genes, stress, diet and environment," explained Dr Yu.

There are three government hospitals with sperm banks: KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and National University Hospital. Private outfit Thomson Medical Centre also has a sperm bank.

Thankfully, although the number of suitable sperm donors is low, the demand for donated sperm is not high either, said Dr Yu. Every year, only three to five couples have to seek out the sperm bank for sperm, so supply meets demand.

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