Motility, Volume, Concentration, and Morphology: What Does It All Mean for Sperm?
So often, when we hear about “bad sperm”, whether on a television show or in a movie, that’s as far as an explanation that’s provided. There’s likely no elaboration on what the actual medical issue is, whether treatment is possible/being pursued, and other options available to someone experiencing male factor infertility. This lack of detail does a disservice to our overall understanding of how male fertility really works. It is not a binary state, there are complexities to account for, just like in female fertility.
How does male fertility work?
The quality of sperm is made up of different factors. If an issue is present, it is possible that your fertility specialist will recommend treatment based on the specific issue at hand. Here is a guide to how male fertility works:
Motility - motility refers to the ability of a man’s sperm to “swim” in the correct direction at a specific speed. If sperm is slow to swim or does not move in the proper direction, then it has poor motility.
Volume - volume refers to the amount of semen that is produced during ejaculation. Technically a man can fall somewhat below the average range of volume without a fertility issue being present as long as the overall quality of said sperm is optimal.
Concentration - concentration refers to the amount of sperm within a semen sample. This is typically what is meant by when a man receives a diagnosis of a low sperm count if the concentration total is lower than average.
Morphology - morphology refers to the shape of a man’s sperm. A sperm’s shape contributes to its overall quality. If the morphology of the sperm is abnormal, it may not be able to travel well (poor motility).
How is male infertility treated?
Male infertility treatment will depend on a few different factors. Your doctor will seek to understand your personal medical history, including if any injuries or surgeries have taken place that could negatively impact the reproductive system. A semen analysis will be performed, where your doctor will review the above areas of the quality and quantity of sperm. Depending on your diagnosis, a treatment plan will be created. There are non-surgical approaches, including medications, as well as surgical therapies and if needed, assisted reproduction services (infertility care like IUI or IVF).
If you have concerns about being able to conceive or have been experiencing difficulty, please consider contacting our team today for a fertility assessment.