Sperm is a male reproductive cell that helps in reproduction in humans through sexual intercourse.
Sperms have a head and a tail where the head stores all the components required to fuse with the female reproductive cell called the egg and the tail helps in motility.
This process results in the reproduction of offspring identical to the male and female. Reproduction is a vital part of the human life cycle.
It also plays an essential role in the evolution of human beings. Hence, it calls for the better health of both the egg and the sperm.
We are aware that men and women are way different from each other. Therefore, the classification of healthy reproduction in men and women is likewise different.
Womb health in women, as well as sperm health in men, is very crucial to have a successful reproduction process.
When it comes to men, sperm motility plays a very vital role in determining the sexual health of men.
This article will focus on everything related to sperm motility and how it plays an integral role in a male’s sexual health.
What Is Sperm Motility?
Sperm motility, as the name suggests, refers to the ability of sperm to move efficiently and effectively.
A sperm’s motility has to be very efficient to move through the woman’s reproductive tract and reach the egg to fertilize it. Thus, it is considered important for penetration.
Besides many other factors, bad sperm motility can cause infertility in men too.
There are two types of sperm motility in men about the way an individual sperm swims.
Progressive motility is a form of sperm motility in which the sperm travel and swim in broad circles or straight lines.
Similarly, non-progressive sperm motility describes the type of sperm motility in which the sperm swims in tight circles rather than in straight lines.
A sperm gets through the cervical mucus successfully, at a speed of 25 micrometers a second, with progressive motility to fuse with the egg.
Sperm motility is considered poor if less than 32 Percent of sperms can move efficiently.
Effect Of Sperm Motility On Fertility
Sadly, a significant number of couples face infertility these days.
Based on defining infertility as a couple’s inability to conceive after several months of trying, the number of infertile couples is an enormous fraction.
Quite evidently, males’ inability to impregnate females accounts for 40 to 50 percent of infertile partners, where about 7 percent of men are affected by the issue.
The usual causes behind infertility in men come out to be deficiencies in sperm, of which the following are the most common-
- Low Sperm Count
- Poor Sperm Motility
- Abnormal Sperm Shape
While low sperm count is considered the primary cause of this inability, poor sperm motility is the subsequent common deficiency found in men.
Causes of Low Sperm Motility
While there are plenty of reasons behind low sperm count, low sperm motility might have an unexplained cause.
Even so, the usual cause might be damage to the testicles, which might be due to infection, testicular cancer, testicular surgery, Disformity since birth, undescended testicles, and injury.
On the other hand, prolonged use of anabolic steroids might also be the reason behind low sperm motility and count as well.
The use of drugs like cocaine and cannabis too negatively affects the quality of semen in many ways further decreasing the motility of sperm.
According to this study, frequent smoking of more than 9 to 10 cigarettes has also been positively related to increased chances of reduced motility and fertility in men.
A condition of enlarged veins of the scrotum called varicocele is possibly the last possibility behind low sperm motility.
The test is extensively taken forward to test the formation of sperm and how they interact in seminal fluid.
You take this test after collecting the sample through masturbation, where test subjects are asked to abstain from sex for 2 to 7 days before the test to get a good volume of semen.
The semen sample is obtained in a sterile container.
The sample can be collected in a collection facility or sometimes at home. The analysis needs to start within an hour of collection.
Another method of collecting the semen is through sexual intercourse where specially designed condoms are used to collect the same or by withdrawing before ejaculation.
Commercial condoms refrain from use because they might taint the sperm with spermicides.
Usually, two samples are taken for a proper diagnosis and if progressive sperm motility comes out to be less than 32 percent, then the man is diagnosed with low sperm motility.
How To Improve Sperm Motility?
Sperm motility and all the other deficiencies majorly can be reversed and set right again. Changing your questionable lifestyle choices can help you improve sperm motility.
Other ways to improve sperm motility may include-
- Smoking is one of the major factors causing this problem. Thus it is strictly recommended to avoid smoking to improve your sperm motility. Recreational drugs like cannabis, opiates, and other drugs must also be avoided especially when trying to conceive to improve sperm motility.
- Doctors also recommend losing a good amount of weight and staying fit since overweight men tend to face the same problem as well.
- The temperature of the scrotum plays an important role in sperm quality whereas a high temperature of the scrotum decreases the quality and motility of sperm.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep your scrotum temperature just below body temperature. This can be achieved by wearing loose-fitting underwear and the pubic region cool.
- Other changes in lifestyle like avoiding sitting for a long time and walking could help immensely in improving the condition.
- Besides this, no therapies are recommended to help improve your sperm motility since none have yet been proven to help improve the condition.
Options Available To Conceive In Case Of Low Sperm Motility
Since poor sperm motility is improved by changing your lifestyle, there are few treatments through which you can conceive a baby if there is no improvement in the infertility of men.
These treatments are not related to improving your sperm motility but to help you conceive through laboratory treatments artificially-
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
After that, the fastest-moving sperm is inserted into the woman’s womb through a fine plastic tube.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization is the most famous treatment used to artificially create a baby inside the woman’s womb.
In this procedure, the woman is medicated to increase the production of eggs in the womb.
These eggs are then removed from the ovaries and fertilized with the sperm in the laboratory. The resultant embryo is then inserted inside the woman’s womb again.
Sperm Donation is also one of the most famous treatments used to conceive a baby.
In this procedure, the couple wishing to conceive is taken through in vitro fertilization.
Here, sperm from a sperm donor is used to fertilize the egg, released by a woman’s ovary in the laboratory.
These treatments are recommended after a couple is declared infertile after a diagnosis is taken thoroughly once the couple is unable to conceive after 12 months of trying.
The motility of sperm can be evaluated through a few of the following methods-
- Percentage Motile: This refers to the percentage of all sperms in a single ejaculation.
- Percentage Motile Concentration: This refers to the percentage of sperm that are moving in one measurement of semen. The measurement unit of this is considered millions of cells per mL.
- Total Motile Sperm Count (TMSC): This refers to the number of sperm swimming in a single ejaculation.
- Average Path Velocity (VAP): This refers to the speed of movement of sperms which is measured in microns per second.
Sperm and egg are the only reproductive cells responsible for conceiving a baby. To conceive both men and women need to be sexually healthy.
Sadly, these days the reproductive health of couples has been depleting, and the ratio of infertile couples is increasing. The majority of cases of infertility are witnessed from the side of males.
Many deficiencies may cause infertility in men out of which poor sperm motility is typical. It may be caused due to questionable lifestyle of the man, disease, or injury.
Luckily, these conditions are reversible and can be improved. Besides this, a couple can also opt for treatments to artificially conceive.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
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- About the Author
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Michael has been in the male wellness industry for 25+ years. Before joining Working For Health as a full-time male wellness journalist, he contributed to multiple online portals in the male wellness field. Before that, he has been an assistant to several sexologists.