Sperm which lives longer before fertilising an egg produces more health children, Uppsala University and University of East Anglia (UEA) scientists have found. The researchers said the research could have implications for human reproduction and fertility.

The teams collected gametes from both sexes of zebra fish and split the male’s into two halves. In one of these halves, they selected shorter-lived sperm, and longer-lived in the other. The sperm from both was then added to two half-clutches from a female to be fertilised. The offspring which came from this fertilisation was then monitored for lifespan and reproductive output.

The team found that longer-lived sperm offspring was much fitter than full siblings created by the short-lived sperm. These offspring also produced healthier offspring throughout their life, which aged more slowly.

The research team is currently identifying the genes underlying these results.