Male Infertility

04:55 9th April 2013 | Semen Parameters

Male Fertility Infertility Virility Fecundity Erection Orgasm Conception Unprotected Sexual Intercourse Investigations WHO Sperm Count Abnormal Sperms Motility Teratozoospermia Morphology Normozoospermia

Infertility has always been considered a problem that affects women because after all “it is the woman that did not get pregnant.” Increasingly it is becoming clear that a lot of these women are not getting pregnant because “the man is not getting them pregnant”. The situation is even more interesting in that most men confuse “virility” with “fecundity”.

Most men believe that virility, the ability to achieve and sustain an erection and effectively prosecute the sexual act to orgasm means that they are fecund (able to reproduce). This unfortunately is not true in that the fecundity is expressed by the quality of the semen which is defined by assessing a sample under a microscope.

Male infertility can therefore be defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after twelve months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse, investigations have confirmed that there are no abnormalities in the woman and the man’s semen parameters is confirmed to be abnormal according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) parameters.

sperm count and abnormal sperms

These parameters were reviewed in 2010 by the World Health Organisation as follows:
Semen parameters are said to be normal if:

  • The Volume of ejaculate is at least 1.5ml
  • The concentration of sperm in ejaculate is at least 39 million.
  • The progressive Motility rate of sperm is at least 32%

A test for vitality (the capacity for the sperm to live and endure) is carried out only when the progressive motility is less than 40%.
Sperm morphology
In terms of morphology, when the presence of normal sperm in a sample is less than 4% then a condition known as Teratozoospermia is said to be present. Teratozoospermia is a condition that affects male fertility and it is characterised by the presence or morphologically abnormal sperm. Sperm is said to be morphologically normal (Normozoospermia) if the concentration is greater than or equal to 39 million, progressive motility is greater than or equal to 32% and normal morphology (forms) are greater than or equal to 4%.

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