Sperm Morphology & Infertility

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Physical examination and evaluation
    A male infertility test usually starts with a thorough evaluation. Your fertility expert will conduct a physical examination and will try to understand your lifestyle and medical history. The questions may include any chronic diseases you may have, your diet, medications, exercise routine and habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. You may also have to divulge any past sexually transmitted disease.
  • Semen and sperm analysis
    After the physical examination, you will be asked to produce a sample that can be analysed. The experts will look for the sperm shape, count, motility and other characteristics. Your doctor may ask for a second test to verify the findings of the first test. Two normal tests will show that you don’t have any significant fertility problems attributed to the sperms or the semen.
  • Hormone evaluation
    In around 97% of men, hormones aren’t the reason for infertility, but your fertility expert may ask for it to ensure that testosterone and other hormone levels are normal.
  • Genetic testing
    Genetic testing can be prescribed to you to identify fertility issues and abnormalities in sperm. This is done if the man has a history of infertility in his family history.

Not all sperms of a person will look alike. There can be a lot of variations of sperm in the same sample of the man. To test the sperm morphology, the test samples are placed under the microscope and the percentage of sperm that have the normal form or NF is calculated. Experts will calculate the number of NF in 200 sperms in a sample. The analysis can also be done using a computer-aided sperm morphometric assessment (CASA). The latter is considered more precise. A low sperm morphology score is not indicative of infertility.

The characteristics of a sperm with normal morphology are-

  • An oval-shaped head with a smooth rim.
  • The size of the head should be 2.5 to 3.5 micrometres in width and 5 to 6 micrometres in length.
  • Presence of the acrosome that covers at least 40 to 70% of the sperm’s head.
  • There mustn’t be large vacuoles and no more than 2 vacuoles on the head that take up less than 20% of the head.
  • The mid piece of the sperm must be of the same length as the head and be much less in width.
  • The tail should be thinner than both the head and the midpiece, it should be uncoiled and be about 45 micrometres long.

An abnormally shaped sperm can find it difficult to find its way into the egg due to impaired motility. If it does manage to fertilise the egg, the embryo cam fail to thrive and can result in miscarriage. It will also raise the risk of health disorders and birth defects in the baby.

It is very difficult for an abnormally shaped sperm to fertilise an egg. And even if it does, it may increase the chances of the baby being born with health disorders and birth defects.

The male body is always producing new sperms. This means that a man can produce normal sperms even after he has had a poor sperm analysis result. Some diet, habit and lifestyle changes can go a long way to improve the morphology of the sperm.

  • Lose weight
  • Work out regularly
  • Avoid smoking, drinking and the use f tobacco and illegal drugs
  • Use loose cotton underpants.

Some vitamin pills and natural supplements are known to improve sperm morphology. Talk to your fertility expert to know more about these and if you are a right candidate to be prescribed these.

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