Texas Fertility Center Round Rock

Let’s hear it for the boys: What we look for in good sperm

Did you know that today you will produce the sperm that could impregnate your partner three months from now? Lifestyle changes can cultivate top performers, so ask a fertility doctor for suggestions. Plan to abstain from excess alcohol and all tobacco and illegal drugs; maintain a healthy weight; and avoid overheating your nether regions in hot tubs, steam rooms and tight underwear.

No matter which precautions you take, abnormalities in sperm production or function cause about 40 percent of all infertility cases. If you have tried for one year or longer to get pregnant with no success, a fertility doctor will order and evaluate a sperm analysis to develop an appropriate course of action.

Sperm quantity

It only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg and the average number of sperm a man ejaculates in semen falls between 10 and 100
million. It would seem the odds of getting pregnant are in your favor, right?

A low sperm count, anything below 10 million sperm in a milliliter (about half a teaspoon), can greatly decrease the chances for getting pregnant on your own. That’s because a large percentage of sperm never make it to the egg. Even if millions of sperm get deposited into the vagina during sex, a limited number of survivors make it into the uterus and an even smaller number actually find their way to the fallopian tubes. Once in the fallopian tube, very few sperm travel all the way to meet the egg. Think of fertilization as a 20K road race held in the dark, uphill and over rough terrain.  Only the strong survive.

Sperm quality (morphology)

A “normal” sperm is shaped like a tadpole with an oval head and a long tail. In a sperm analysis, we want to see more than 30 percent of a man’s sperm match this physical description.

Sperm motility

You’ve heard sperm called “little swimmers” and it’s an apt description. Ejaculation propels sperm, but they must actually move head and tail in synch to “swim” the final distance to meet the egg. Ideally, more than 50 percent of sperm should be alive and able to propel forward in a straight line.

You can’t control how your sperm look or act, but a fertility doctor can work around any barriers to pregnancy.

• Medication can sometimes help you overcome a low sperm count caused by a hormonal imbalance.

• If your sperm count is a little low, your sperm don’t swim very well or if you have a very low number of normally shaped     sperm,  intrauterine insemination (IUI) enables doctors to place washed, prepared semen directly into the uterus.

• In-vitro fertilization (IVF) can be performed for almost any type of sperm abnormality.  During this process, an embryologist adds a
high concentration of motile, normal sperm to a small droplet of fluid containing one egg in a controlled lab environment.

• If your sperm count is extremely low, embryologists can actually inject a single sperm directly into your partner’s egg using a technique    called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

• Some guys may need a consultation with a urologist to correct an anatomic abnormality, and in very rare cases donor sperm may be the best solution.


Regardless of the treatment you need, rest assured that male factor infertility can be successfully treated in almost every case.


For more information on male infertility and sperm visit http://www.txfertility.com/09men.php

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