09 May Sperm Motility
Sperm motility refers to the sperm’s ability to move in a manner that can best achieve conception. This takes into consideration more than simply the sperm’s vitality.
Vigorous sperm is certainly one of the things doctors look for to determine the health of sperm. But sperm also moves in ways that promote conception through the patterns of their movement. Sperm that moves in a straight line or in large circles is considered viable. Sperm that swims move in tight circles is considered less likely to achieve conception.
Speed is an indicator of vitality, so this is also taken into consideration. Ideally, sperm should be able to move at 25 micrometers per second. Taking speed and direction into account, a healthy motility count is indicated when 32 percent or more of the sperm is viable for conception. Sperm motility that is under 32 percent is called asthenozoospermia.
Asthenozoospermia is caused by:
- Congenital factors (born with it)
- Testicular cancer
- Testicular surgery
- Undescended testicles
- Long-term use of anabolic steroids
Potential contributors include:
- Various drugs and medicinal herbs, including cocaine and cannabis
- Varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum)
Asthenozoospermia is determined after a laboratory analysis of a man’s semen. Several other factors will be analyzed, including sperm count, pH, white blood cell count, and viscosity. Included in the analysis will be a determination of sperm morphology, which examines the size, shape, length of tail and other factors that can affect motility. In addition, an analysis will look at semen viscosity and liquefaction, which also affects motility.
What can you do?
Discuss your lifestyle choices with a physician to determine changes you can make to improve sperm motility.
Three potential options can help couples work around sperm motility problems. These include:
- In vitro fertilization, a complex procedure in which viable eggs are removed from a woman and fertilized in a laboratory then placed back in the woman’s womb
- Intrauterine insemination a process in which inserting healthy sperm into a woman by means of a plastic tube (also known as artificial insemination)
- Sperm donation in which a donor provides the sperm for conception