There are three elements of analyzing semen. They are:
- Sperm count (concentration of sperm)
- Percentage of motility
- Morphology, wherein the percentage of normally shaped sperm is measured.
Mostly the usual cutoff for the standard sperm motility is higher than or equivalent to 50%. According to fertility experts, males having a motility percentage of 45% and above are considered and seen as fertile.
How is motility evaluated?
Evaluation of sperm is done by doing a semen analysis wherein a specific chamber for counting them or a microscopic slide having grids is used.
The sperm percentage that is progressing forwardly or having a “rapid linear progress” is also of importance. This denotes that the sperm are not only moving, they are moving forward progressively.
Treatment choices for low motility
- An appraisal of a urologist, specializing in male infertility issues to ascertain whether a varicocele or other medical issues that can be corrected are necessary for finding a remedy.
- Alternatively, they are advised to go in for the artificial intrauterine insemination.
For males having a rather normal semen factor, but sperm motility in the range of 30 – 40 % only, are considered for undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) for achieving a pregnancy. But the success rates of IUI procedure are not encouragingly high. So, they are advised to go in for IVF and ICSI procedures for having a baby.
- If there is a lower percentage of sperm motility, there are lesser chances of achieving pregnancy without seeking the help of IVF or ICSI procedures.
- If the percentage of sperm motility is lower than 25%, one can rarely hope for achieving a pregnancy without using the ICSI procedure.
It can very well be interpreted that lower sperm motility is the crucial cause of male infertility. However, there is another way of saying that the cause of infertility is unknown because we normally do not come to know why the sperm are having low motility.
What will it mean if more than mere the sperm motility is found abnormal?
A male is seen as fertile in case his sperm are found healthy. The health of sperm is seen in the three parameters of the semen analysis:
- Sperm count
- Sperm motility
- Sperm morphology
If all the three parameters are found normal, the sperm are declared as healthy.
- The male will not be seen as fertile without using the ICSI procedure, in case any of the three elements are found to be abnormal.
- The male infertility may successfully be treated with sperm insemination in case the sperm motility is at least 30% and the total number of motile sperm is 5 million and above.
How to treat male infertility and improve the sperm motility?
The male infertility is treatable with medicines. Some medicines may significantly improve the sperm count and the number of motile sperm. However, this course of treatment has not been found very successful because improving the sperm motility is very difficult achieved.
Some of the options may be tried, like: options that have been tried are:
- Clomiphene (Clomid) medicines for the male
- If a male is suffering from Varicocele, a surgery may be required
- Different combinations of minerals and vitamins
At times, these procedures apparently help in improving the sperm quantity and their quality. However, it still remains controversial whether the pregnancy rates considerably improve with these procedures for lack of a scientific proof.
Lifestyle changes for treating male infertility
Many changes relating to lifestyle help in not only improving the quality of sperm, but also their quantity, like:
- Stopping or reducing the use of tobacco, smoking/chewing
- Stopping the use of marijuana
- Stopping or reducing the consumption of alcohol.
- Stopping the use of anabolic steroids, besides the use of testosterone supplements
Inseminations vs. IVF-ICSI for male infertility problems
The experts in the field of infertility often begin their treatment with intrauterine insemination in case the sperm motility is found to be minimum 30% or more. If the insemination procedure fails, IVF along with ICSI is the normal upgrade of the male infertility treatment.
Points to ponder regarding IVF with ICSI treatment for male infertility
As long as there is one healthy sperm, the egg can be fertilized with it using ICSI procedure.