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Understanding Sperm Motility

Of every 100 couples, 10-15 encounter problems with fertility, which can develop for any number of reasons, including issues with low sperm count, sperm formation, and sperm motility, which refers to how the sperm move. 

In fact, 2% of men worldwide exhibit suboptimal sperm parameters, which means that their sperm are affected by one of the three conditions we just mentioned.

At NOVA IVF, our team of fertility experts, which is headed up by Drs. Meera Shah and Richard Schmidt, understands the many factors that can contribute to male infertility, and we want to share this knowledge here.

With that in mind, we take a closer look at one male infertility problem, in particular — sperm motility.

Defining motility

When you ejaculate, you set your sperm on a singular mission: Find and fertilize an egg, which is (or should be) located in your partner’s fallopian tubes. 

Sperm are affectionately known as “little swimmers,” which is an apt description for their journey, as they negotiate a woman’s reproductive system.

After entering a woman’s vagina, sperm need to quickly pass through the cervix to avoid the acids found in a woman’s anterior vagina. After passing through the cervix, they travel through the uterus and into the fallopian tubes where one may meet and fertilize an egg.

To execute this journey, sperm need to travel forward at a rate of 25 micrometers per second. With motility problems, your sperm may:

Also called asthenospermia or asthenozoospermia, sperm motility can be affected by several conditions, which we review next.

Behind slow-moving sperm

Motility problems can stem from various issues, including:

To determine whether your sperm have motility issues, we perform an analysis of your sperm, and if we find that less than 40% of your sperm move properly, we diagnose a motility problem.

Overcoming motility problems

After an extensive evaluation, we first recommend addressing any conditions that may affect the motility of your sperm. If these measures prove unsuccessful, we have several options for you and your partner, including:

Each of these treatment options allows us to bring your sperm together with your partner’s eggs more effectively to increase your chances of conception.

If you’d like to learn more about the role that sperm motility can play in male infertility, please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up a consultation.

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