It is unfortunate, but around 15% of couples face infertility problems due to an issue with the male reproductive system.
Male fertility issues can include a range of things, including genetic disorders, erectile dysfunction or hormonal problems, but the most common difficulties lie with the sperm.
There are several sperm issues which could affect your ability to get pregnant, however this doesn’t mean that you’ll never start, or extend, your family. In this post, we share what sperm problems can occur, and how treatments such as a sperm test analysis help you overcome them.
What are the common sperm issues?
There can be a number of reasons for a low sperm grade, including genetic disorders, lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol and poor diet, and hormonal changes. The most common problems are:
Low sperm count
A low sperm count refers to the number of sperm present in semen being lower than average. Having a low sperm count means that there is a lesser chance of natural fertilisation, resulting in difficulty conceiving.
A sperm count test can help to diagnose if this is something you are suffering with.
Low sperm motility
This issue means that the sperm a man is producing has either no mobility, no progressive motility (sperm must have a forward progression of at least 25 micrometres per second to be defined as healthy) or slow motility.
Abnormal sperm shape
Sperm morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm, and if this is impaired, it can affect the chances of the sperm reaching and penetrating an egg.
What treatments can support me?
The first thing on your list should be to undertake a sperm test analysis at our clinic. Producing a sperm sample, and undertaking blood tests, count tests and a sperm grade can quickly identify any issues.
Once your sperm issue has been formally diagnosed, there are a number of treatments which can help you and your partner achieve pregnancy:
Low sperm motility
Being diagnosed with low sperm motility can be disheartening at first, however there are treatments which can be utilised to greatly increase the chance of conception. An example of this is IVF with ICSI.
ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a technique used in conjunction with the IVF procedure.
During the IVF process, a portion of sperm is added to the collected eggs and left to fertilise naturally. However, with ICSI, a single sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg. This can help those with low sperm motility, as it bypasses the natural fertilisation process and eliminates the risk of the sperm not reaching the egg.
Low sperm quality
Another option which is available to help overcome sperm related fertility problems, is IVF with IMSI.
IMSI, or Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection, is a treatment which is almost identical to ICSI. The main difference between the two, is that with IMSI only the very best sperm is chosen to be injected into the egg. Those with low sperm quality can be supported with this treatment, as it will mean that any low-quality sperm are filtered out, and the best are used.
Low sperm count
If the main problem with your sperm is that the count is low IUI is a perfect option.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) takes prepared sperm and inserts it into the uterus around the time of ovulation. Before the procedure, you must undertake a sperm test analysis, which will allow the consultant to identify if the sample has enough sperm to continue. A catheter will be used to pass the sperm directly into the uterus, eliminating the need for sperm to enter through the cervix.
Hopefully this post has given you further information on the treatments which could support you with your fertility journey. If you have any questions, please contact one of our expert fertility consultants.