Studies show that approximately 12%-15% of couples are unable to conceive after 1 year of having unprotected sex (NIH). A common misconception is that infertility is a female issue. However, Infertility affects both males and females equally, and there is a multitude of causes for infertility issues. In men, issues with sperm production are a common cause of infertility. Not only is it important to have the male partner evaluated, but it is relatively quick, simple, and inexpensive to do so. If you’re interested in learning more about male fertility issues, the experts at our trusted male fertility clinic in Colorado are here to help.
Causes of Male Infertility
Male infertility refers to any issue that lowers the chances of getting a female partner pregnant. Men need to produce high numbers of mature, healthy sperm that can move quickly and that depends on numerous factors. There are numerous underlying issues which can lead to infertility issues in men, such as:
- Hormone imbalances
- Lifestyle choices
What Are Sperm Disorders?
Sperm disorders can be best described as issues that impact the quality or quantity of sperm produced. More specifically, these disorders affect parameters like:
- Sperm concentration and volume (e.g., being made in very low numbers, no sperm produced at all, etc.)
- Sperm motility (e.g., decreased swimming ability, etc.)
- Sperm morphology (e.g., increased numbers of abnormally shaped sperm, etc.)
The first step to determine if you have a sperm disorder is getting a semen analysis from a male fertility clinic. That evaluation will provide a comprehensive examination on your sperm and will identify areas of concern that may be contributing to infertility. This can be collected in the privacy and comfort of your own home, so you no longer have to produce a semen sample in a laboratory or office.
Types of Sperm Disorders
We’ve categorized these health conditions into easy-to-understand groupings. This is because there is a wide range of sperm disorders.
Disorders That Affect Sperm Production
In general, you can expect normal semen to have a volume of ≥ 1.5 mL and a sperm concentration between 15-200 million/mL. Certain disorders that affect sperm can result in an insufficient number of sperm in the ejaculate. Here are just a few of the most common disorders resulting in abnormal sperm counts:
- Oligozoospermia – This disorder is diagnosed when a male has fewer than 15 million sperm/mL of ejaculate. This low sperm count makes it more difficult to conceive naturally, although pregnancies can still occur.
- Cryptozoospermia – This diagnosis refers to an extremely low sperm count that’s less than 100,000 sperm/mL.
- Azoospermia – When no sperm can be found in the ejaculate, the male is diagnosed with azoospermia. This disorder can be due to either an obstruction or production issue.
Disorders That Affect Sperm Motility
Motility refers to the percentage of sperm that are moving. Normally sperm motility is ≥ 40%, meaning that 40% of the sperm seen should be swimming. Here are a few common disorders that affect the movement of sperm:
- Asthenozoospermia – This sperm disorder results in a decreased percentage of sperm swimming.
- Necrozoospermia – This is a rare cause of male infertility in which all the sperm in the semen are not viable.
Disorders That Affect Sperm Morphology
Sperm resemble the shape of little tadpoles, but certain disorders can cause abnormalities in the shape of sperm cells. There aren’t many disorders that fall into this category, but there is an important one to take note of:
- Teratozoospermia – This disorder is characterized by an increased number of abnormally shaped sperm, which may impact their ability to fertilize the egg (Fertility Science).
Disorders That Affect Multiple Sperm Parameters
In many cases of male infertility caused by sperm disorders, the diagnosed condition may directly influence multiple sperm parameters (e.g., motility, morphology, etc.). Here are just a few examples:
- Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) – This disorder results in abnormalities in the number of sperm, their swimming ability and their shape.
- Oligoasthenozoospermia – This disorder is best described as a combination of oligospermia and asthenospermia. It represents low sperm counts and poor sperm motility.
Explore Treatment for Sperm Disorders at Our Male Fertility Clinic
Each case of a sperm disorder should be evaluated and treated individually. The best way to start your fertility evaluation is with a semen analysis.
At our male fertility clinic in Colorado, we are proud to offer reliable at-home semen analyses that include telehealth consultations with our male fertility specialists. This allows us to discuss the details of your semen analysis results to help you fully understand them and outline the most appropriate next steps to improve your fertility status.
If you’re ready to give your swimmers a boost, contact our team at Posterity Health to get started.