While oligospermia (low sperm count) is one of the most common sperm abnormalities that cause infertility in men, there are several other issues. Getting tested for such problems is imperative if you’re looking forward to getting a partner pregnant.
Without further ado, here are a few of the sperm abnormalities that men may have to deal with in order to enhance their fertility.
Just like other bodily fluids, semen has its unique pH that is needed to ensure the survival of the sperm cells.
Any change in the typical pH could lead to problems and make conception more difficult. The sperm pH should be neutral or at about a seven. Any deviation from this golden medium could be indicative of a problem.
A sperm pH that is way under seven is usually indicative of retrograde ejaculation. Retrograde ejaculation is a problem characterized by not all ejaculate leaving the body during an orgasm. A low value could also speak of a problem with the ejaculatory ducts.
High pH is seen as anything going above eight. In such instances, an infection may be present.
This is a serious problem that’s sometimes called immunological infertility. In this case, a man’s immune system (this could also be true for a woman’s body) identifies the sperm cells as pathogens and will thus attack them.
Usually, men start producing such antibodies whenever the semen comes in contact with a part of the immune system.
This may occur due to a testicular injury, after a surgery involving the reproductive organs, a vasectomy or an infection of the prostate gland – a part of the body that plays a major role in semen production.
The same is true for women. In that case, a woman may have an abnormal allergic reaction to her partner’s semen. Fertility specialists still don’t have an understanding of this faulty immune response and its cause.
An interesting study on the topic was presented in the Middle Eastern Fertility Journal. Researchers wanted to find out just how common antisperm antibodies are among people dealing with infertility.
In their experiment, 39 out of 680 male and female patients were positive for antisperm antibodies. The number represents 5.73 percent of the entire sample. When gender is examined, 4.36 percent of women and 7.14 percent of men were positive for antisperm antibodies.
Researchers also found out something quite intriguing – the risk of suffering from this problem increases with age. Only 2.5 percent of the patients in the age group of up to 30 were positive. In comparison, 8.08 percent of the patients over the age of 41 were positive.
Sperm Morphology Problems
While oligospermia refers to a low sperm count, some men could be suffering from an alternative problem – a sufficient count that is characterized by poor morphology.
Morphology is a term that refers to the size and the shape of the sperm cells. There are certain parameters that are needed to make the respective cell capable of fertilizing an egg.
If it doesn’t have the right shape, size of the head and the tail, for example, the sperm cell may be incapable of penetrating the egg’s exterior and leading to fertilization.
Poor sperm morphology is very common. Most men have at least some of their sperm cells being abnormal in shape and size. What matters is having at least four to 15 percent of the sperm cells being considered normal.
In such instances, the ejaculate volume will also be crucial. The bigger, the better because it will ensure a higher probability of having normal cells within the sample.
Morphology issues are usually caused by genetic traits, high temperature of the testes or exposure to toxic chemicals. Depending on the probable cause, an experienced urologist may be capable of prescribing a treatment and lifestyle changes that will contribute to improvements.