Know all about Sperm Morphology
How is a man examined for infertility?
Semen is the fluid ejaculated through a male’s penis while copulating with a female partner, wherein the sperm live and are contained. In order to know a man’s fertility, semen analysis is performed. With this analysis, many characteristics of the semen and sperm are known, such as:
- The number of sperm, better known as sperm count
- The sperm motility (percentage of moving sperm)
- Morphology of the sperm (percentage of normally shaped sperm) &
- Fluid volume
How is morphology evaluated?
To evaluate sperm morphology, the sperm are scrutinized under a microscope and the estimation of abnormally-shaped sperm is done. It is essential to know that abnormal sperm are produced in all the men and in a normal semen sample, as many as half of the sperm are found to be abnormal-shaped.
Sperm morphology is appraised by using one of the two sets of features:
- Kruger principle is strict and considers even small irregularities as abnormal.
- World Health Organization (WHO) principle is comparatively lenient and does not categorize many sperm defects that Kruger principle may deem abnormalities.
In some cases, sperm morphology becomes a decisive factor for a couple and may suggest in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure for achieving a pregnancy. It is advisable to consult your treating doctor to know which method was used to scrutinize your sperm shape and the importance of the scrutiny results.
What is a normal-shaped sperm?
A normal-shaped sperm has:
- An evenly oval-shaped head, which has 5-6 micrometer length 2.5-3.5 micrometer width, less than a needle point size.
- A distinct acrosomal cap, directed towards the front covering 40% – 70% of the sperm head
- No discernible abnormality in the neck, mid-piece, or its tail
- The fluid droplet in the sperm head should not be bigger than one-half of the size of the sperm head
Can an abnormally-shaped sperm fertilize an egg?
Yes, of course, although higher amounts of abnormal-shaped sperm has been linked to infertility in some studies. By and large, the higher quantity of abnormally-shaped sperm is linked to other deformities of the like low sperm-count or motility. Men having abnormally-shaped sperm may not have any difficulty in impregnating his woman partner.
If an abnormally-shaped sperm can fertilize the egg, does it mean that my baby will have an increased risk of having genetic irregularities?
We really have no idea. However, there seems no link between the shape of a sperm and its genetic substance. If the sperm has entered an egg, there is a pretty good chance of fertilization taking place. As several of the irregularities in sperm shape may be the consequence of genetic disturbances, there could be some male babies who inherit the same type of irregularities in sperm morphology as could be traced in their fathers’ sperm morphology.
In case an abnormal-shaped sperm can also fertilize an egg, how does the sperm shape matter?
The fertility experts are not sure why and how the sperm shape matters. Men having abnormally-shaped sperm most likely find difficulty in impregnating his woman partner. Whether this trouble in causing a pregnancy is because of the abnormality in the sperm shape or for some other reason cannot be pronounced. At the same time, sperm shape does matter and may cause infertility in you.
How do I improve the shape of my sperm?
Although some studies have suggested that smoking impairs fertility, but researchers have not been able to show a clear link between the use of tobacco, alcohol or caffeine and their impact on sperm shape abnormalities.
If you are attempting to achieve a pregnancy, you are advised to avoid using any kind of tobacco product or any kind of recreational drugs. If you are attempting a pregnancy, these things may affect the sperm Deoxyribonucleic Acid, DNA (hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms) quality.
Researchers have not identified a clear-cut link between caffeine consumption and its effective changes in the sperm shape. And, you should know that these changes take about 3 months to appear noticeable.
Whether dietary supplements or vitamins help in improving sperm morphology or infertility?
Studies have not shown any improvement either in sperm morphology or infertility by taking any dietary supplements or vitamins. Some of the infertility specialists do suggest a daily intake of multivitamin for improving reproductive health, but these multivitamins have neither shown any improvement in sperm morphology nor the infertility.