How long does it take for sperm to redevelop after ejaculation?
According to research, you’re right...the amount of sperm in men’s semen increases if you wait a few days between ejaculations. In fact, according to one study published in 2005, researchers from the Women and Infants' Hospital in Providence, RI, found that sperm count increases when you don’t ejaculate for several days...but they also found that a high sperm count alone doesn’t necessarily improve the likelihood of conception. Why?
The longer you wait between ejaculations, the motility ⎼ or the ability of the sperm to swim and meet the egg ⎼ actually decreases.And sperm motility is one of the most important aspects for conception. According to the study, couples that had the best luck getting pregnant had sex at least every 2-3 days during the woman’s fertile period (the five or six days before the woman ovulates).
So, what does this mean for you? You and your wife had sex shortly after you ejaculated on your own. If the way your body works is similar to the men in the research study, when you had sex with your wife, your sperm count may have been slightly lower...but the sperm that you did ejaculate when you had sex were likely better “swimmers.”
More research conducted by the Soroka University Medical Center in Israel found that peak sperm motility occurs after one day of abstinence. The research also suggests that, to keep your sperm swimming strongly, it may be a good idea to have sex or masturbate to ejaculation at least every two days.
That said, these research findings are relatively recent...and if you and your wife are having difficulty conceiving, I would encourage you again to see your doctors for further discussion and evaluation.
As well, women who are planning to conceive can help reduce the risk of birth defects and other complications by speaking with their doctors about nutrition, weight and lifestyle before getting pregnant. And, once your wife does become pregnant, an obstetrician can help monitor her health and the baby’s health throughout the pregnancy.
I wish you and your wife the best of luck in your journey to conceive.
Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.