Male infertility is male’s inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. The infertility in men can be caused by deficiencies in sperm formation, concentration, or transportation. It is estimated that between 40-50% of conception problem are attributed to male infertility. There are many known and unknown reasons behind infertility in men and low sperm count or semen quality is one of the common reasons.
It is estimated that more than 90% of male infertility cases are due to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both. The conditions like anatomical problems, hormonal imbalances, and genetic defects are also known to be the causes behind infertility in man.
Azoospermia is the complete absence of sperm in the semen of man. It can be due to failure in sperm production or a physical obstruction. If the sperm problem is caused by obstruction, it is defined as obstructive azoozpermia. There are various causes for azoospermia and it could be genetic, lifestyle or illness.
Oligospermia is low sperm count which is below than threshold of normal or healthy sperm count standardized as “ 20 million sperm per mL. Oligospermia is a common reason behind male infertility and measured on the basis of sperm concentration in the ejaculate. The causes for Oligospermia could be hormonal imbalance, stress etc.
AsthenoSpermia is the medical term for reduced sperm motility. It is related to the ability of sperm to move in normal speed. As per the experts, at least 50% of sperm should be good quality with progressive motility so as to cause pregnancy. The lifestyle factors, sexual habits are considered to be some of the causes behind asthenospermia.
In order to diagnose the male fertility, semen analysis or sperm parameters are the basis of assessment and that includes:
As per the medical experts, 40 million to 300 million is considered as the normal range for the number of sperm per milliliter. If the sperm counts are below 10 million then it is considered as poor. 20 million sperm/mL or more is considered normal if sperm motility and morphology are normal.
Sperm motility is the way that a man’s sperm is able to travel the reproductive tract, move forward through the vagina, past the woman’s cervix and reach to the fallopian tubes. The sperm motility is measured in terms of the percentage of sperm which is moving forward correctly. This percentage should not be lower than 50%.
Sperm Morphology reports the percentage of sperms that are normal when semen is viewed under a microscope. Normal Sperm have an oval head with a long tail and abnormal sperm will have head and tail defect. As per World Health Organization, at least 30% of cells should be of normal shape.
Semen is released during man’s ejaculation and the normal semen volume ranges from 2 to 5ml per ejaculate. Semen quality involves both sperm quality and sperm quantity. Semen quality is a measure of fertility in man in terms of ability of semen to accomplish fertilization.