Abnormal Sperm Production
Male infertility usually occurs because of sperm that are abnormal, because of inadequate numbers of sperm, or problems with ejaculation. Sometimes, sperm cells are malformed or die before they can reach the egg. In rare cases, a genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality can cause male infertility.
For a pregnancy to occur, a man’s sperm must fertilize a woman’s egg. The fertilized egg forms an embryo that implants into the wall of the woman’s uterus. Male infertility can be divided into three major categories that include: abnormalities of sperm production, abnormalities of sperm function, and obstruction or absence of the ductal system. The majority of male factor infertility is idiopathic (cause unknown).
Fertility experts at Footsteps To Fertility Centre identify and manage issues contributing to infertility in men. We are more than happy to work with your busy schedule & cater to your specific, individualized needs.
Causes of sperm abnormalities
Abnormalities of sperm function can be due to an infection of the genital tract (prostatitis), varicocele (enlargement of the veins in the scrotum), anti-sperm antibodies, failure of sperm to attain the fertilization potential (acrosome reaction) and failure of sperm to bind and penetrate the egg (fertilization).
In around one in three cases, male infertility is caused by blockages or the absence of tubes – usually due to an injury or a vasectomy.
In rare cases, a genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality can cause male infertility.
If you’ve helped conceive a baby in the past, but can’t now, you may still be producing normal, healthy sperm, but it may mean your sperm is not compatible with your current partner.
Sperm quality can also be affected by:
- excessive drinking
- drugs, including steroids and recreational use
- weight and body mass index (BMI)
- frequent exposure to extreme heat (working in hot temperatures, or regular saunas)
- acute viral illness or operations for undescended testes or hernias.
- working in cramped conditions (for example, truck drivers)
Types of Abnormal Sperm Production
This is the medical condition of a man whose semen contains no sperm. It requires careful evaluation and a possible search for sperm in the testis using a technique known as testicular biopsy.
This refers to semen with a low concentration of sperm. Sperm count in your ejaculate can vary throughout your life. A healthy sperm amount is often necessary for fertility. A low sperm count is diagnosed as part of a semen analysis test.
This is when a large percentage of sperm have an abnormal shape. Sperm morphology is the shape of the sperm. Normal sperm should have an oval head with a long tail. Abnormal sperm may have an oddly shaped head, more than one head, or more than one tail. If the sperm are not of normal shape, they may be unable to fertilize the egg.
This is when a large percentage of sperm movement is not normal, otherwise known as abnormal sperm motility. Normal sperm should move in a progressive direction. A progressive direction is defined as in a straight line or very larger circles.
This is when all sperm parameters are abnormal. In other words, sperm count, movement, and shape are all problematic. This is the most common cause of male infertility.