Male infertility is often caused by two factors: Low sperm count and low sperm motility. When a man’s semen doesn’t have enough sperm in it, this is known as low sperm count. Sperm motility, on the other hand, refers to how well the sperm cells are able to swim and travel. While the importance of sperm count is often directly associated with male fertility, sperm motility matters just as much.
When a man ejaculates, the sperm usually swim as fast as possible into the vagina’s fallopian tube to fuse with the woman’s egg to fertilize it. However, when a man has infertility issues, the sperm barely move when ejaculated into the vagina. The sperm simply move at a slow pace and perish, leaving the egg unfertilized. In other words, the sperm are unable to reach the egg, due to its poor motility. This is known as low sperm motility.
Sperm motility is crucial for male fertility, because if a man’s sperm is unable to swim effectively, it makes fertility and conception difficult. Causes of low sperm motility include:
- Stress: Stress can cause a host of health issues, including problems with fertility and conceiving
- Medication Side Effects: Medications always have a host of side effects. Some medications can cause sperm motility issues.
- Poor Diet: Poor diet can cause a host of health issues, and infertility is one of them. Getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients is important to your overall health.
- Excessive Heat: If a man’s testicles are exposed to too much heat, for example, including underwear, hot tubs, laptop heat, this can cause problems with sperm.
- Smoking: Cigarettes are notorious for all the tar and chemical ingredients, and smoking can cause infertility
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption: This can cause issues with low sperm motility, and general male infertility. Drinking alcohol in moderation is always advised.
- Vitamin Deficiencies: Your body needs enough vitamin C and B12 to function properly. If there is a vitamin deficiency, this can affect fertility.
- Too Much Sex: Too much sex can actually affect the motility of sperm. Space out the times you have sex to every two or three days.
Treatment is available for men who are struggling with low sperm motility. The most popular options include:
- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization): In Vitro Fertilization involves the implantation of an egg with sperm in a lab setting, which can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Intracytoplasmic sperm injection takes place during IVF treatment. A man’s sperm is injected into a woman’s egg in a lab, to start the process of fertilization.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): This is a method of artificial insemination. The man’s sperm is put into the woman’s uterus via injection, in order for more sperm to reach the egg, increasing the change for pregnancy.
- Sperm Donor: If it is realized that a man cannot produce any effective sperm himself, there are sperm donors that can be selected.
If you are asking which treatment would be best for you, the answer often depends on the person, and the decision that you and your partner want to make together. It also depends on your specific case of infertility, in this case being reduced sperm motility. It is best to consult with your urologist and fertility specialist, as they can provide you with the proper resources that are needed to make the right choice.
To learn more about sperm motility and available treatments, call Ironwood Urology at (480) 961-2323 to request an appointment with Dr. Desi Avila, or request an appointment online.