Like women, there are many factors that can cause infertility in men. One such factor that can cause male infertility is asthenozoospermia. Asthenozoospermia is a condition where the majority of the sperm in a semen sample has low motility (movement).
Motility is the ability of the sperm to swim through the uterus and fertilize the egg. If it can’t swim to the egg, fertilization and pregnancy won’t happen, resulting in infertility.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the major causes of asthenozoospermia and the treatment options men can opt for to overcome the issue.
Causes of Asthenozoospermia
There are many factors that can cause asthenozoospermia in men. Below are some of the most common causes.
Inflammation in the reproductive organs can affect sperm motility and quality. The microorganisms (like bacteria) that are produced in these inflammations can affect spermatogenesis and reduce the motility of the sperm.
Varicocele is a condition where the veins inside the scrotum become enlarged and swollen. This can also affect sperm production and affect sperm motility.
Abnormal semen liquefaction
Semen liquefaction is the time it takes for the semen to liquefy after ejaculation. A normal, healthy semen sample should liquefy within 20–30 minutes of ejaculation. If it doesn’t, it is called abnormal semen liquefaction.
Delayed semen liquefaction can be caused due to problems in the seminal vesicles or the prostate. This can affect the sperm and reduce their motility.
Abnormalities in chromosomes
Chromosomal abnormalities not only reduce the quality and motility of the sperm but can also affect the developing embryo if the sperm manages to fertilize the egg. This can increase the chances of miscarriages and birth defects in the baby.
The presence of certain immunological components, like antisperm antibodies around the sperm tail, can hinder its ability to swim and move around the semen. It can also prevent it from passing through the cervical mucus, thus decreasing the chances of fertilization.
Lifestyle and environmental factors play a significant role in a man’s reproductive health. Unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, drugs, junk & fried foods can affect sperm quality.
Wearing tight pants and submerging in hot baths for too long can also affect sperm production and decrease motility in sperm. This can lead to asthenozoospermia.
How do I know if I Have Asthenozoospermia Or Not?
Asthenospermia can be identified if you visit a fertility doctor and get your semen analyzed. Sperm are microscopic cells that can only be analyzed for abnormalities when placed under a microscope. So, you can’t know if you have asthenozoospermia unless you take a sperm analysis test.
The main factor that can indicate male infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy after about six months or one year of unprotected sex. Visiting a fertility doctor can also help you identify the root cause of the issue and take the necessary treatments.
Treatment of Asthenozoospermia
Asthenozoospermia is a serious male infertility issue. But men don’t need to worry as there are many technologically advanced fertility treatment procedures that they can choose to achieve pregnancy and have a baby.
Artificial insemination (IUI)
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is an assisted reproductive technology where the sperm is collected from the male and directly injected into the female uterus. This is a good option for couples with male-factor infertility.
Here, the collected sperm are washed and analyzed, and the healthy, motile sperm are segregated from the others. Injecting these sperm into the uterus increases their chances of swimming to the fallopian tubes and fertilizing the awaiting mature egg.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF)
IVF is one of the most preferred assisted reproductive technologies. Here, the sperm and egg are collected from the male and female partners, respectively. These sperm and eggs are placed in a lab dish and fertilized in a laboratory.
This procedure makes it easier for the sperm to reach the egg and fertilize them. The fertilized eggs are monitored for some days and then transferred into the uterus to develop further and result in pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI is a type of IVF where a healthy, high-quality sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg’s cytoplasm. This is the best treatment option when the sperm is unable to reach the egg on its own.
The fertility doctor will choose the sperm of the highest quality in the semen sample and inject them into a high-quality sperm. This increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.
A sperm’s health is critical to ensure fertilization and a safe pregnancy. A sperm needs to be of high quality with the perfect shape, motility, and morphology to reach the egg and fertilize it.
It is best to take a sperm analysis if a couple can’t get pregnant naturally and take the required treatments to cure the issue. They can also go for assisted reproductive techniques like IUI, IVF, and ICSI to get pregnant.
The treatments for asthenozoospermia vary for each person depending on the severity of the issue and their health condition. They can take the prescribed medications and lifestyle changes to treat the issue.
If it can’t be treated, men can opt for other fertility treatment options like IUI, IVF, and ICSI to achieve pregnancy.
IUI can be a preferred treatment option for men with mild asthenozoospermia. That is if the sperm only finds it difficult to swim through the cervix but can reach the uterus if injected into the uterus.
If they have severe asthenozoospermia, men might have to choose IVF/ICSI, where the sperm is injected into the egg for fertilization.
Men with asthenozoospermia should alter their diet and should intake healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, skimmed milk, poultry, seafood, etc. They should also avoid adding sweets and other processed and junk foods to their diet.
It can be a bit difficult for a woman to get pregnant if her husband has asthenozoospermia. But it doesn’t mean there are no chances of pregnancy. They can choose fertility treatments like IUI and IVF to get pregnant and have their own baby.