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Sperm analysis

Sperm analysis – information on sperm motility in the man

In approximately 30% of cases of involuntary childlessness, the causes lie with the man, whilst the causes of a further 20% of cases lie with both the man and the woman. In most cases, impairment of male fertility is due to insufficient production of normally matured sperm with good motility. If no pregnancy has yet occurred naturally, a sperm analysis can provide information about the man’s sperm motility. We perform the sperm analysis in our special laboratories and advise you of the options for infertility treatment in your individual case.

Impaired sperm maturation – a frequent cause of reduced fertility

Maturation of sperm begins when the man enters puberty. Stimulated by the sex hormone FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) that is produced in the pituitary gland, millions of sperm cells are formed daily in the seminiferous tubules of the testes. After about ten weeks, the sperm cells travel from the testes to the epididymides, where sperm maturation is completed. If sperm maturation is impaired, the sperm don’t develop the correct form or they are not fully motile. The probability that the sperm cells will reach the woman’s fallopian tubes naturally is therefore severely limited. We check your sperm quality and motility with a targeted sperm analysis in our specialist laboratories. We then recommend an individualised treatment plan based on your particular situation.

Fertilisation depends on functioning sperm transport

During ejaculation, sperm moves through the seminal ducts and the urethra to travel through the woman’s vagina into the uterus. In some cases, sufficiently healthy sperm cells may well be present, but they don’t reach the woman’s body because the seminal ducts are blocked. This happens in approximately four percent of all cases of impaired male fertility. The cause of a blocked seminal duct could be prior sterilisation, undeveloped epididymides or adhesions in the epididymides, for example as a result of inflammation. If there is still a fertility problem despite a normal sperm analysis, our doctors will also investigate the possibility of a blocked seminal duct.

The sperm analysis determines sperm count and sperm motility

When you come to our clinics with infertility problems, a sperm analysis is often the first step in the diagnosis. A sample of the man’s semen is examined microscopically immediately (within 60 min.) after it is obtained. The purified ejaculate is placed in a special counting chamber and analysed under the microscope. During examination we determine the number of sperm cells per millilitre of semen, the shape of the sperm and their motility. The WHO guideline value for normal sperm motility is 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen. Of these sperm cells, at least 15% should be normally formed and at least 25% should have good forward mobility. If the sperm analysis does not indicate these values, it means the man has reduced fertility. In such cases, our clinics offer the options of ICSI or IVF treatment, for example. Our doctors will gladly advise you on these and other topics.

What are the possible causes of insufficient sperm motility?

A dysfunction in sperm maturation can be triggered by an illness, but it can also be inherited. The known causes include:

  • A mumps infection during childhood
  • Varicose veins in the testicles (varicocele)
  • Undescended testicles
  • Tumours that have been operated on
  • Hormonal problems
  • Genetic causes (chromosomal anomaly)
  • Stress and environmental pollution

Acute infections can also temporarily reduce sperm motility. In making their diagnosis, our doctors consider all the potential causes of a fertility problem and make their recommendation for the appropriate treatment measures on this basis.

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