Sperm motility plays an important role in maintaining healthy male fertility. Many factors influence and cause the sperm motility to reduce, which
Sperm motility plays an important role in maintaining healthy male fertility.
Many factors influence and cause the sperm motility to reduce, which directly influences the ability to conceive. When there is a reason to think that an individual is struggling with infertility issues, a semen analysis is to be done.
Today, we will look at what a semen analysis is telling us about the sperm motility rate, as well as what is considered to be normal when it comes to sperm motility rate.
What is the normal sperm motility rate?
Each sperm cell consists of a head and a tail. The tail is being used to help the sperm cell swim and move towards the egg. Because the sperm cells are required to swim to the egg in order for fertilization to happen, normal sperm motility plays a major role in the fertilization and conceiving process.
Of course, there are other factors to be included as well; however, for the purposes of today’s topic, we will focus on sperm motility alone.
Normal sperm motility is considered to be present when 40% or above of the sperm cells in the semen sample is able to move and are showing positive signs of movement.
If at least 40% of the sperm cells are moving, that is considered to be a healthy semen sample with normal sperm motility. Anything below that is considered to be low sperm motility, which reflects negatively on male fertility and is causing infertility issues.
How is the sperm motility rate being calculated?
The sperm motility rate, including the other important sperm characteristics such as sperm count, morphology, and volume, pH, etc. are measured through a semen analysis. A semen analysis is usually done when there is a suspicion of a case of male infertility.
Basically, a semen analysis looks at all of the characteristics of the semen in order to detect any present abnormalities.
A semen analysis is also a common test that is done after a vasectomy in order to determine whether or not the semen analysis has been successfully done. Along with the semen analysis, a normal blood test and a physical exam are often done as well.
A semen analysis looks at three aspects regarding your sperm motility.
- Progressive motility refers to the sperm cells that are making zigzag or circular movements.
- Non-progressive motility refers to the sperm cells that are only vibrating in one place, without making any forward movements. At least 32% of the sperm cells are supposed to be showing non-progressive movement in a healthy semen sample.
- Total motility refers to both the progressive and non-progressive moving sperm cells in general. When we talked about the normal motility rate, we mentioned 40% to be considered normal sperm motility. This is actually the total motility rate.
How to prepare for semen analysis?
The semen analysis does not require any special preparation process. However, you will be advised to abstain from sex for a minimum of two days to one week.
In addition, do inform your doctor about any prescription and non-prescription medications, including any dietary supplements and recreational drugs that you have been using prior to the semen analysis, as these are all factors that can influence your results.
Factors such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and even some herbal remedies can influence the results as well. So you will probably be advised to avoid those as well in the days before your semen analysis. For any additional questions and worries, you can consult your doctor.
How is the semen analysis being done?
A semen analysis is done at the hospital by using a semen sample. The semen sample can be collected in different ways, although the most commonly used way by depositing a semen sample in a plastic container at the hospital. After that, the semen sample is taken to the laboratory where additional tests take place in order to determine the quality of your semen.
It is safe to say that the semen analysis does not pose any risks to your health or life, and there are no expected side-effects.
What affects sperm motility?
A number of things can affect sperm motility. A long list of lifestyle factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, obesity, stress, not enough sleep, etc. can seriously damage the overall sperm quality.
Certain health issues, including depression, anxiety, diabetes, and high blood pressure, have the same negative impact on the overall sperm quality as well, focusing on sperm motility rate.
Testicular cancer, injury to the testicles, abnormalities of the male reproductive tract, varicocele, smoking, using anabolic steroids, and recreational drugs are among the most common causes for low sperm motility.
Semen analysis gives us an insight into the sperm quality, informing us about the current sperm count, sperm motility rate, and sperm morphology. It can help us detect any signs of low sperm motility that might be the answer to male infertility.
Semen analysis is a simple test to be done, and every man who suspects infertility issues should consult their doctor about doing a semen analysis.