Checking your sperm health
A semen analysis is one of the first steps reproductive specialists will take to assess male-factor infertility. These tests reveal 3 areas that influence pregnancy success rate, with sperm count being the most discussed. A healthy sperm count increases the chances of sperm reaching the egg. Sperm motility determines if the sperm can move efficiently to reach the egg. Finally, sperm morphology looks at the makeup of the sperm. If one of these factors are below the expected range, the chances of success fall significantly.
Is sperm morphology a concern?
Some men may have an adequate sperm count, but a doctor may be concerned about sperm morphology. Sperm morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm cell when observed under a microscope. A healthy sperm makeup determines if the sperm can penetrate the walls of the egg. The higher the percentage of morphology, the higher the chances of pregnancy. However, men should note that an irregular sperm shape does not increase the chances of congenital disabilities. Studies show that sperm morphology alone may not directly impact pregnancy rates. However, morphology often accompanies other sperm conditions, eventually causing infertility.
Can you fix sperm morphology issues?
There’s no available treatment to fix sperm shape or makeup. The condition may be genetic but can also be related to lifestyle habits. Making simple changes can improve overall sperm health and fertility. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, quitting smoking and alcohol use enhances fertility. Studies show that smoking and alcohol in particular, change the morphology and DNA of sperm.
Turning to ART
If sperm morphology and other sperm concerns continue, doctors will turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART). These are a range of treatments to improve the chances of pregnancy. For instance, doctors will try intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). These strategies allow fertility clinics to treat sperm samples first before attempting pregnancy. IUI places the sperm sample directly into the woman’s uterus. IVF combines sperm with egg in a clinic before implantation. The clinic will choose intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in some cases. ICSI uses a solitary healthy sperm to increase the chances of success.
Better sperm health matters
Sperm health plays a crucial role in pregnancy. Morphology speaks to sperm makeup, which plays a role in penetrating the egg. Poor morphology is one of 3 markers that men should seek to improve. Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise can help over time. If these options fail, speak with a doctor or reproductive specialist.