IVF and Fertility Specialists Clinic
Low Sperm Motility - Male Fertility Problems - Sperm Motility Video
Chicago fertility clinic offers effective treatment for male infertility
Page author Richard Sherbahn MD
Dr. Sherbahn discusses low sperm motility in this video
How is motility tested?
Sperm testing is performed with a semen analysis which involves using a specialized counting chamber or a microscope slide with a grid.
The percentage of sperm that have forward progression (or "rapid linear progression") is also important. This means not only that they are moving - they are moving progressively forward. See video above for a demonstration of forward progression.
Significant abnormalities in any of the three main parameters of the semen analysis can result in inability of sperm to fertilize eggs.
Treatment options for low motility
For men with otherwise fairly normal semen parameters, but motility in the 30 to 40% range, insemination treatments (IUI) might be successful in achieving pregnancy. However, IUI success rates are not very high in these couples. Many will require IVF/ICSI to get pregnant.
It can be said that low motility is a cause of male infertility. However another way to look at it is that the cause of the problem is unknown since we usually do not know what the cause is for the low sperm motility.
What does it mean when more than just the motility percent is abnormal?
Sperm defects can be found in the count, or in the motility, or in the morphology - or in all 3 - or in any combination of these sperm parameters.
Treatment for the male to improve his low sperm motility
Ideally we would be able to treat the man and give him a medication or other treatment to significantly increase the sperm numbers or the percentage of motile sperm, etc. However this approach has not been very effective, because improving sperm motility is very difficult.
Some options that have been tried are:
Lifestyle modifications and male infertilityVarious lifestyle modifications have been shown to improve sperm quality and quantity.
Inseminations vs. IVF-ICSI for male infertility problems
Infertility specialists will often start with intrauterine insemination treatment if the motility is at least 30-35%. If those are not successful, in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection is usually as a treatment for male infertility.
IVF with ICSI is a highly successful treatment for male infertility
See a video showing ICSI being done - sperm injected into eggs in the lab
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