Couples that have trouble conceiving naturally may want to look into fertility testing. As part of that testing, the male will undergo a semen analysis. This comprehensive test helps doctors determine whether or not the man can contribute to conception. The analysis measures the sperm count, motility (movement), and morphology (shape). The results of the sperm analysis will determine which infertility treatments may work for the couple. While sperm count plays an important role in determining a man’s fertility, the motility of the sperm carries just as much weight. Learn more about low sperm motility, including its causes and treatments, by contacting our San Antonio, TX practice today.
What Sperm Motility Means
The term motility refers to the movement of a man’s sperm. The analysis assesses whether or not the sperm are swimming properly and in a straight line. Sperm receive a letter grade from A to D, with an A given to the fastest, straightest swimmers and a D given to those that don’t move at all. If the test sample shows that less than 25 to 30 percent of the sperm move forward progressively, the motility is considered low.
Causes of Low Motility
Several factors can lead to low sperm motility. Most are factors that men can eliminate with a simple lifestyle change, including:
- Excessive Stress - Fertility issues can result from undue stress, as can many other health problems.
- Poor Diet - Deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin B12, can lead to fertility problems.
- Excessive Heat - Sitting in a sauna or hot tub, or holding a portable computer in your lap for long periods of time can heat up the genitals, leading to a myriad of fertility issues. Tight clothes and restricting underwear can also cause excess heat.
- Medications - Some medications may lead to infertility as a side effect. Make sure your doctor knows all medications you take on a daily basis, so he can modify them if necessary.
- Smoking and drinking - excessive alcohol intake and use of tobacco products contribute to many health problems, so it should come as no surprise that they can both affect your sperm motility rate.
Treatments for Low Motility
Low sperm motility does not have to mean the end of your journey toward conception. Many treatments can help patients with this issue. They include:
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI) - A form of artificial insemination, this procedure involves placing the sperm into the woman’s uterus, significantly reducing the amount of swimming necessary for it to reach the egg. Doctors usually begin with this course of treatment if the sperm has motility of at least 30 to 35 percent.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) - This procedure takes place in a lab, where doctors fertilize one of the female’s eggs with the male’s sperm. The controlled setting increases the chance of pregnancy.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) - This process takes place during an IVF treatment, and involves the injection of the man’s sperm directly into the egg to ensure fertilization. This option has a successful fertilization rate of 70 to 90 percent, and can be initiated regardless of motility, as long as one normal, motile sperm exists in the specimen collected.
- Medications - Studies continue in an attempt to prove the effectiveness of drugs on sperm motility. Some believe that a certain combination of vitamins or a medication called Clomid may increase motility and sperm count.
Contact Us for a Consultation
Low sperm motility should not cause you and your partner to give up on your dream of conceiving a child. Remember, it takes just one healthy sperm to conceive. Contact Fertility Center of San Antonio today to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.