Sperm quality is the measure of the overall health of the total number of sperm cells present in the ejaculate. It helps to determine their ability to accomplish fertilization and maintain male fertility.
This article will be a brief overview of sperm quality and its relationship with male infertility.
What Does Sperm Quality Entail?
Sperm quality is a broad term and includes all the vital features of sperm cells except their count. These include:
1. Sperm Morphology
Sperm morphology is the shape or structure of sperm. For a pregnancy, your sperm should be free of manufacturing errors and contain a head, tail, and midpiece.
- The head is like a tadpole with a nucleus and a cap covering it from the top.
- The tail should be long flagella without any tangling.
- The midpiece should have mitochondria for energy supply.
Above all, 4% of your sperm should have this accurate alignment of structures. If this percentage is lower, it is called teratozoospermia and translates into low sperm quality.
2. Sperm Motility
Sperm motility represents the ability of sperm to move in a way that reaches fertilization. For a high sperm quality, more than 40% of your sperm cells should have forward progression.
Asthenozoospermia (inadequate motile sperm) dampens this quality and results in male infertility.
3. DNA quality
DNA quality is the “software” of sperm cells. If your sperm are structurally sound and motile but possess damaged DNA, their “hardware” features are useless. After all, fertilization is the fusion of male and female genetic material.
Does Semen Have A Role in Sperm Quality?
Semen is a whitish-grey fluid produced by glands in the male reproductive tract.
As its primary function is the transport of sperm through the male reproductive tract, it does not influence sperm production. However, semen plays a vital role in maintaining integrity, because:
· Semen has fructose, which acts as a fuel for sperm motility.
· Semen contains nutrients like zinc that protect DNA from fragmentation.
· Abnormal semen might contain antibodies that attack sperm cells and destroy their morphology.
Semen quality can be judged by its texture, color, and volume.
- Texture: The texture should be slightly thicker and not dry up too quickly. Sometimes due to lesser intervals between subsequent ejaculations, semen can become thin or liquidy. If the interval is appropriate, a thin semen consistency is due to a lack of nutrients.
- Color: The color also can navigate you towards abnormality. Yellow or greenish color depicts an infection of the prostate or reproductive tract. It is rare, though, because illness also manifests as other symptoms like pain or burning during peeing.
- Volume: The amount of semen per ejaculate has a prominent effect on sperm quantity. The quality stays somewhat intact unless there is inadequate nourishment for sperm. Aspermia is the absence of ejaculation and lead to decline in fertility.
This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Dadi Inc. makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained herein, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site or article with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician.
- Tomlinson, Mathew et al. “Sperm quality and its relationship to natural and assisted conception: British Fertility Society guidelines for practice.” Human fertility (Cambridge, England) vol. 16,3 (2013): 175–93.
- Colasante, Alessandro et al. “The aging male: Relationship between male age, sperm quality and sperm DNA damage in an unselected population of 3124 men attending the fertility centre for the first time.” Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia : organo ufficiale [di] Societa italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica vol. 90,4