Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) Medically Reviewed

Last Updated: April 7, 2020

Definition - What does Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) mean?

Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) occurs when a man has:

  • A low sperm count (oligozoospermia)
  • Poor sperm motility or movement (asthenozoospermia)
  • Abnormal sperm shape or morphology (teratozoospermia)

With this condition, all variables on a semen analysis are subnormal. OAT is a common cause of male subfertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT)

What causes OAT?

Idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (iOAT) means the cause of OAT is unknown. This occurs in around 30% of infertile men. When a cause can be identified, it may include:

  • Endocrine problems (Hyperprolactinemia, thyroid disease, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism)
  • Obesity
  • Varicocele
  • Exposure to toxins and infections

Treatment Options

If found, underlying conditions should be treated. For example, men with varicoceles may benefit from a varicocelectomy while men with endocrine problems should be treated for their condition.

However, if spontaneous pregnancy is not achieved following the treatment, or OAT persists, assisted reproductive technology (ART) including intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI, are likely to be necessary.

General ways to increase the quality of sperm include:

  • Avoiding toxins such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
  • Avoiding excessive heat in the scrotal area
  • A healthy lifestyle (including exercise and health diet), especially if the male is overweight
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