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Everything You Need To Know About Sperm Motility

Everything You Need To Know About Sperm Motility

For most couples in Australia, sperm motility isn’t a concern until it’s time to get babies to grow the family. But knowing what it means, what is normal and what is not, can make all the difference. Motility can simply be defined as an organism’s or fluid’s ability to move. Therefore, sperm motility entails the movement or swimming of the sperm.

If your medical care expert in Australia says that you have poor sperm motility, it means your sperm isn’t swimming properly. This condition is known as asthenozoospermia, and it can cause male infertility.

What is good sperm motility percentage?
What is a good sperm motility percentage?

Why do sperm swim?

Naturally, sperm are motile cells that can make themselves move automatically. This is an essential aspect when it comes to conceiving. To get pregnant through vagina sexual intercourse, the man will generally need to ejaculate semen close to the cervical canal or at the farthest end of the vaginal canal so the sperm can find their way easily to meet the egg for fertilization. Even when ejaculated close to the vaginal area, sperm will find a way up to the vaginal canal and enter the cervix thanks to motility.

It’s also possible for semen to get into a woman’s vaginal canal without ejaculation. This happens through the pre-ejaculation process, whereby a tiny amount of semen-like fluid comes out of the man’s urethra whenever he is sexually aroused. This is one of the primary reasons why the pull-out method is not recommended to prevent pregnancy.

The sperms are naturally designed for swimming in a way that they can get to the ultimate destination, which is to find the egg and fertilize it. However, the egg moves from the ovary to the fallopian tube, where small hair-like projections known as cilia, an egg cannot swim. What it does is float its way through and get into the fallopian tube with the assistance of the cilia.

On the other hand, sperm can move naturally. They are programmed to swim up from where they are deposited (primarily the cervical canal) through the uterus until they get to the fallopian tube. This is where they are supposed to meet with an ovulated egg. Once they get there and meet the egg, the sperm must fertilize it, a process that also requires constant movement. Various studies have shown that it takes about 2 to 10 minutes for the sperm to get to the fallopian tube after ejaculation.

What improves sperm motility?
What improves sperm motility?

Sperm motility and general semen health

Generally, mortality is one measurement of sperm and semen health. Other factors need to be considered when analyzing semen to determine their mortality and overall health. This includes:

  • Semen volume: This refers to how much one ejaculates, and this is measured in millilitres (ml)
  • Sperm concentration: This refers to how many sperm a man has in 1 ml of ejaculation
  • Total sperm count: This is the number of sperm  in a semen sample (they should be approximately 33 to 46 million sperm  on average)
  • Sperm morphology: This is the general shape of the sperm
  • Vitality: This is the percentage of live sperm per sample
  • Time to liquefaction: This is the time it takes for semen to change naturally from thick to liquidy (approximately 20 to 30 minutes)
  • White blood cell count: This refers to the number of white blood cells found in a semen sample(a high count may indicate infection)
  • Semen pH: This refers to the semen acidity

Sperm Motility measurements in semen analysis

Motility can be evaluated in another analysis of the semen in various ways. This includes:

  • Percentage motile: This refers to the percentage of all the sperm that are moving in a single ejaculation
  • Percentage motile concentration: This is the percentage of sperm moving in one measurement of semen, mainly millions of cells per ml
  • Total motile sperm count: This is the number of sperm that swim in a single ejaculate. The number is most relevant to male fertility prognosis.
  • Average path velocity: This is the movement speed of the sperm, which is measured in microns per second

Progressive, non-progressive, and total motilities

The way the sperm move is also crucial. Progressive mortality refers to how the sperm swim, which is mostly in large circles or a straight line. Non-progressive motility alludes to sperm that move but do not make the forward progression or manage to swim in tight circles. Total motility is the percentage of sperm that make any sort of movement, which can either be progressive or non-progressive.

For instance, sperm that just vibrate in one place may be considered mortal, but they are non-progressive. Sperms that can make zigzag movements and forward progression are deemed to be progressive. Progressive motility is required for the sperm to swim up into the female reproductive tract to fertilize an ovulated egg.

Can you get pregnant with low motility sperm?
Can you get pregnant with low motility sperm?

What’s the number of Sperm Motility that needs to swim properly?

If a man has normal fertility, a single ejaculation of semen may have over 39 million sperm. Not all these firms are expected to be healthy. For each ejaculation sample to be considered normal, it needs to have about 40% motile or moving sperm. This may include non-progressive and progressive movements, and at least 32% of them should have progressive motility.

A poor sperm motility diagnosis is usually made based on the percentage of the motile sperm. But studies have found that the total number of motile sperm is a better measurement. Having a total motile sperm count of about 20 million is known to be normal. If a man has less than five million, it means they have poor sperm motility. Less than 1 million is considered a severe or poor sperm motility case.

What cause low speed in sperm?
What causes low motility in sperm?

What factors affect sperm motility?

Usually, when a man has poor sperm motility, they may be dealing with one or several sperm health issues. For instance, a man who has poor sperm motility is likely to have low sperm count or poor sperm shape (sperm morphology). Any sperm that are not appropriately formed will not be able to swim as expected, and this will affect their capability to travel to the fallopian tube.

In some cases, sperm motility can be harmed by severe illness, constant exposure to chemicals, lifestyle habits such as smoking, exposure to extreme cold or heat, or abnormalities in the male reproductive tract such as varicocele.

Poor sperm motility sometimes might occur if the man does not frequently participate in sexual activities. The first ejaculation will probably show poor motility in such a situation, but the second one and the others that follow will get better.

So, if you have sperm motility issues, consider talking to your healthcare provider to know your condition and options if you want to get kids.