Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT)

Definition - What does Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) mean?

Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) is a condition where a man has a combination of a low sperm count (oligozoospermia), poor sperm motility or movement (asthenozoospermia), and abnormal sperm shape or morphology (teratozoospermia). OAT is a common cause of male subfertility, where it may be possible to conceive without assisted reproductive technology (ART), but at a statistically lower rate.

FertilitySmarts explains Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT)

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

  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HH)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Varicocele
  • Exposure to toxins

Depending on the cause of OAT, it may be treated with medication or surgery. Depending on the severity, assisted reproductive technology (ART) including intrauterine insemination (IUI) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in combination with In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be necessary.

General ways to increase the quality of sperm include:

  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
  • Avoiding excessive heat in the scrotal area
  • Exercise
  • A healthy lifestyle in general


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