In approx. 40 percent of infertility cases, sperm abnormalities are either a factor or the factor.
Male Infertility is assessed on the following:
– Sperm Count (less than 10 million per milliliter)
– Volume (1-5 ml per ejaculate)
– Sperm motility (over 60% should be motile and show forward movement)
– Sperm morphology (50-60% should be of normal shape)
The average ejaculate has about 200 million sperm. Only a few sperm actually reach the egg. This shows how the odds are played against a man with poor sperm quality. Although, there are ways to imporve sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Causes of Male Infertility
Sperm has to be made in the testes, travel through the spermatic ducts, and find the egg.
Radiation, environmental toxins, undescended testis, varicocele, traumatic injury, infectious injury, testicular atrophy, drug effects, prolonged fever, certain endocrine disorders, congenital abnormalities, past surgery in the lower abdomen, tight underwear, poor diet, antihypertensives, antiinflamatories, antihistamines, stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine, all have a large effect on sperm health and male fertility.
A man may also produce antibodies to his own sperm, this means that the immune system attacks the tails of the sperm that they are producing. Sometimes the woman produces antibodies toward her partners sperm, they generally attack the head of the sperm.
Diagnosis of Male Infertility
Medical history will be taken; childhood disease, undescended testes, mumps, sexual disease.
Structural abnormalities will be examined; varicocele (swelling of the scrotum), size and shape of testes.
Secondary sex characteristics will be evaluated.
Hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism, adrenal disorders, hypogonadism, diabetes, and other endocrine disorders will be checked for.
2-3 specimens of sperm will be needed for a proper evaluation. Volume and other characteristics vary from time to time. The semen should look somewhat viscous and opaque. The volume should be between 1-5 ml (remember that one shot of alcohol is 30 ml). There should be over 20 million sperm per ml of semen.
Sperm is evaluated into the following categories;
– aspermia (absence of ejaculate)
– azoospermia (absence of sperm in semen)
– oligospermia (lowered sperm density)
– poor motility and forward movement
– high percent of abnormal sperm morphology
– antisperm antibodies
For more information on ”sperm disorders’ visit our Sperm Disorders section.
Surgery may be needed. Although, many sperm abnormalities and male fertility problems can be effectively treated with diet and lifestyle changes, avoiding what can be harmful, supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and herbs.