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Male fertility

The production of sperm is a physiological process that is governed by hormones and takes place inside the testes. Sperm production starts at puberty. A healthy man will continue to produce sperm for the rest of his life. From start to finish, it takes approximately 12 weeks for sperm cells to develop and mature. The first10 weeks of sperm development take place inside the testes; the sperm then migrate to the epididymis, where they continue to mature. It is during this phase of their maturation process that the sperm gain motility. During sexual intercourse, ejaculation leads to motile sperm being introduced into the vagina. From here, they travel to the cervix and into the uterus, and then all the way to the ovaries. Due to the fact that large numbers of sperm never make it to the site of fertilisation, the body has to produce an excess amount of them.


Sperm formation and maturation of sperm

With the onset of sexual maturity, millions of sperm cells are produced in the seminiferous tubules of the testes every day. The sperm cells remain in the testes for approximately 10 weeks, after which they pass into the epididymides, where they continue to mature. In the epididymides the sperm cells acquire their ability to move, or motility. After about 12 weeks, sperm formation is complete – healthy sperm now have a fully formed head that contains the male genetic make-up, a central part that generates kinetic energy and a tail that drives and controls the sperm cell.

Male reproductive physiology

During sexual intercourse, the mobile sperm cells are squeezed out through muscle contractions with ejaculation via the seminal ducts and the urethra. The motile sperm cells travel through the vagina, the cervix and the uterus to the fallopian tubes. If there is a mature egg in the fallopian tube, the sperm cells try to penetrate the wall of the egg cell and become embedded inside the egg – which is then fertilized. Many sperm cells don’t make it to the fallopian tubes, which is why a single ejaculation contains 300-400 million sperm cells. If the quantity of sperm cells is significantly below this average or if the sperm cells in the ejaculate do not have sufficient motility, this can affect the man’s reproductive capacity.

What factors are decisive for sperm motility?

The reasons why a couple fails to fall pregnant can lie with either the man or the woman, or both partners. The most common reason for infertility in the man is insufficient production of normally shaped, motile sperm cells. According to the guidelines of the WHO, “normal” sperm motility is defined by the following values:

  • amount of ejaculate: 2 ml or more
  • pH-value of the ejaculate: 7.2 or more
  • total number of sperm cells in the ejaculate: at least 40 million sperm cells
  • sperm concentration: at least 20 million sperm/ml
  • morphology of the sperm: at least 15% normally formed
  • sperm motility: at least 50% with forward movement or 25% with progressive movement within 60 min. after ejaculation

We establish the details of sperm production and quality with a sperm analysis performed in our labs. Based on the results of the sperm analysis, we then advise you concerning further diagnosis and treatment methods.

Further topics you might be interested in

We are here for you!

 

Please feel free to contact us!

Opening times:
Mo-Sa: 8.00 - 16.00

Telephone consultation:
Tu: 16.00 - 20.00
Su: 8.00-15.00

Schedule an appointment:
✉ aarhus[at]vivaneo.dk
☎ +45 (0)86 27 76 26

We look forward to hearing from you!