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Male Infertility and Low Sperm Motility: What Is the Link?

By HCRM on June 15, 2016


A sperm and an eggAt Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, PC, we believe that the people of Omaha should be able to realize their dreams of parenthood. This is why we offer the latest in assisted-reproduction technology, including treatments for female infertility and the latest in andrology treatments for male infertility.

There is much talk about sperm count, but many men do not realize how important sperm motility is in this conversation. Let's take a moment to consider the role it plays.

About Sperm Motility

Sperm motility refers to the ability for sperm to swim properly. Healthy sperm have good motility and are able to swim well.

Sperm motility is a separate issue from sperm count. Whereas sperm motility refers to the ability for the sperm to movie, sperm count simply refers to the volume of the sperm in a man's semen/ejaculate.

How Poor Sperm Motility Leads to Reduces Male Fertility

In order for the sperm to reach the egg, its got to swim. When sperm is unable to swim properly, there is far less likelihood of pregnancy occurring. It's far less likely for healthy and viable sperm to reach the egg, let alone fertilizing it. That's not to say that it's impossible to happen, but more that it is far less likely to occur.

During a test for sperm motility, if fertility specialist notices that fewer than 32 to 40 percent of the man's sperm moves forward in a progressive manner, his sperm motility is considered low.

Common Causes of Poor Sperm Motility

The most common causes of poor sperm motility include the following:

  • Excessive Heat – Too much heat from laptops, showers, tight jeans, and tight undergarments can lead to a number of male infertility problems related to sperm quality. Try to avoid tight clothing and resting your laptop on your lap for prolonged periods of time.

  • Stress – Stress can impact fertility in men, causing low sperm motility as well as other problems linked to infertility.

  • Poor Nutrition – A poorly balanced diet has been shown to decrease fertility and lead to a host of other issues for men trying to father a child.

  • Heavy Metals – Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, manganese, copper, zinc, and sliver can all have a negative impact on sperm motility and male fertility in general.

  • Medications – Certain hormones and steroids can cause sperm motility to become decreased. Be sure to discuss that with your physician if you are trying to conceive.

  • Genetics – There have been cases in which sperm motility issues are the result of a genetic problem. These can also be passed on to a child from his father.

  • Smoking/Tobacco Products – Some studies suggest that smoking and other tobacco products reduce your sperm motility as well as sperm count.

  • Alcohol Consumption – Consuming too much alcohol can similarly have a negative impact on a person's sperm count and motility.

  • Too Much Sex – Having sex too often can actually reduce your chances of successful pregnancy. Try to conceive every two to three days so a man's sperm has time to replenish in terms of count and motility.

Treatments for Poor Sperm Motility

Sometimes the ideal treatments for sperm motility involve lifestyle modifications to address some of the above causes. Quitting smoking, eating right, and wearing looser-fitting undergarments can go a long way toward address your issues with sperm count and motility.

If these non-invasive lifestyle changes do not work, you can then consider professional help, which could involve sperm extraction techniques, in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, sperm washing, or even turning to a sperm donor. We can discuss the right treatment with you during the consultation process.

Contact Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, PC

For more information about sperm motility, how it affects male fertility, and the various treatment available to help you start a family of your own, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. The team at Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, PC will work closely with you to address all of your concerns.

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Each and every staff member at Heartland Center is tremendous. Dr. Maclin is a woman of grace, and a terrific medical doctor. She is a world-class surgeon, and we are so grateful to know her.

Lene - IVF Patient

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