Though there is a common misconception that fertility problems exclusively
affect women, male factor infertility is seen throughout many couples
who have difficulty conceiving.
Male fertility is measured through three factors: Sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Even with a healthy sperm count, men may have fertility issues due to
low motility, or the inability of sperm to move through the vaginal canal,
as well as poor morphology, or a high rate of abnormally formed sperm.
Low motility can be a challenging problem to address because the causes
are not entirely clear, but there are factors known to affect sperm motility
in addition to treatments that can achieve successful pregnancies through
What is the cause of low motility?
Like many fertility problems, low motility has a number of possible causes,
so it is important to take stock of a patient’s total health and
lifestyle when addressing this condition. Excessive exposure to heat,
stress, and heavy metals can all affect sperm motility. Diet, stress,
alcohol and tobacco use are also known to have negative effects on sperm
health. In addition, there may be genetic factors and underlying health
conditions that impact motility, so a broad approach may be necessary
How is sperm motility assessed?
When male infertility is suspected, a sperm sample is taken to be inspected
under a special microscope that will allow technicians to take an accurate
total sperm count and percentage of sperm with rapid linear progression,
and this figure will indicate sperm motility.
How is low sperm motility treated?
The appropriate treatment for each patient will depend on the exact percentage
of motility. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, or ICSI, is a procedure
that has revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. It allows couples
to achieve fertilization, even when only a few sperm are available. The
procedure was developed to overcome male infertility problems such as:
low sperm counts, poor motility or movement of the sperm, poor sperm quality,
or sperm that lack the ability to penetrate an egg. Later, the indication
for ICSI has broadened and is performed to optimize fertilization in almost
all IVF cases. ICSI has revolutionized infertility management, to the
extent that most treatments previously used have been abandoned in its favor.
ICSI is performed by physically inserting one sperm into each egg using
a microscopic approach. Because only one sperm is needed per egg, even
very small numbers of sperm will do. Once the egg is injected with a single
sperm, it is observed approximately 18 hours later to see if fertilization
has taken place.
At ReproMed in Toronto, we provide a complete spectrum of male infertility
treatments, including assisted reproduction procedures. To learn how we
can help you achieve your family planning goals, call us at (972) 494-5438
or visit our website.