Do you know what some of the most common causes of male factor fertility issues are? Low sperm count (oligospermia), low sperm motility (how the sperm moves), and morphology. A diagnosis of male factor fertility can be very hard for many men given the sensitivity of the diagnosis. When most people have trouble with getting pregnant the woman is often suspected of having the issues, however today approximately 40% of infertility issues are male-related. Understanding what the most common mild male-factor fertility issues are and what may contribute to those issues, can help a couple begin to understand what path they will need to follow when trying to conceive.
Oligospermia or low sperm count: You’re asking how low is low? What exactly is the range that puts you or your partner’s sperm count in the low category? What factors are causing changes to sperm counts? These questions being asked day in/day out by patients and physicians globally.
How low is low? According to the American Pregnancy Association’s website, a healthy male will produce a volume of 2 mL of semen. Sperm count for a “normal” male will be between 20 million sperm per mL to 300 million sperm per mL of semen. A male is diagnosed with a low sperm count when his semen has less than 20 million sperm per mL of semen.
Low sperm motility: Motility is how the sperm moves. A semen analysis test will rate the movement on a level of 0-4, with a 3 being considered good.
Morphology: Morphology refers to the shape of the sperm and can affect the ability to conceive. Physicians often use Kruger’s strict morphology method in their semen evaluation to determine the morphology rating. A rating of less than 4% may mean the couple may have better chances of conceiving through IVF with ICSI or Intracytoplasmic semen injection.
Recently published studies are discussing a variety of factors that affect sperm quality and a variety of factors and how those factors are contributing to the decline of male sperm count. I have listed some of the most recent study results below.
- Endocrine disruptors that effect egg production and quality may also affect sperm cell quality as well. http://guardianlv.com/2013/07/infertility-in-men-caused-by-in-utero-factors/
- In-utero development factors may be the cause of testicular function issues later on in life. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708103425.htm
- Lifestyle factors such as diet, lack of exercise and smoking all affect the development of semen
All information for this post can be found on the CDC website, American Pregnancy Association website and on ASRM’s website.
To learn more about Rinovum Women’s Health and The Stork, visit www.thestorkforwomen.com.