As I've shared before, my partner and I had a child this year. On this journey of conception, we've found a lot of conscious conception knowledge pertaining to her, hardly anything for me. I would like to contribute to the conversation by speaking into the role of men.
Firstly, it's important to note that a mother's experiences and lifestyle decisions can be transmitted to the child independently of the transmission of DNA sequences (Wolf & Wade 2009). Similarly, ejaculation can be a conduit of paternal effects, transmitting a father’s experiences and lifestyle decisions to the child, known as ejaculate-mediated paternal effects (Crean & Bonduriansky, 2014).
Environmental factors experienced by the father are the source of paternal effects, including the physical environment (e.g. pH, temperature, aridity), social or ecological factors (e.g. interactions with conspecifics, population density, mating history), experiences or emotions (e.g. stress, anxiety), toxicants (smoking, alcohol) and so on (Evans et al., 2019).
The duration of spermatogenesis, the production or development of mature sperm, is 74 days in humans (Perrard et al., 2016). Spermatogenesis, the quantity and quality of sperm produced, is influenced by several aspects, including metabolic, genetic, environmental and physiological factors (Amann, 2009).
This means that the environmental factors which the father has experienced and the life decisions he has made over the last two and a half months affect the sperm that is involved in the potential conception today.
Additionally, men should practice ejaculation retention for about a week before trying to conceive, as optimal semen quality, in terms of sperm motility and health, is reached after 3-8 days of abstinence (AlAwlqi & Hammadeh, 2017).
Learning all this, I've been reminded to treat my ejaculation as a manifestation of my lifestyle, experiences and decisions. I contribute to my progeny more so than just a DNA sequence. It is important for me to be conscious about my role in our conception journey.
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