Sperm Motility

Definition - What does Sperm Motility mean?

Sperm motility refers to the way active, living sperm move. Sperm motility is measured during a semen analysis, which is typically performed on men undergoing fertility testing.

An analysis of sperm motility can provide insight into how a man’s sperm move, including their direction, speed, and endurance.

FertilitySmarts explains Sperm Motility

In order to determine whether or not a man’s sperm is contributing to a couple’s infertility, a semen analysis is performed. A semen analysis measures three things: sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm shape.

In order to fertilize an egg, sperm must perform a very precise function; swim up, quickly, with little deterrence. Sperm that does not swim straight, or cannot swim for long, is unlikely to lead to fertilization and eventual conception.

If less then 40% of the sperm are functionally motile, the sperm are considered abnormal. This indicates that will conception not only be challenging, but that genetic disorders may be present, as poor sperm motility may indicate DNA fragmentation.

Motility-related conditions include:

  • Asthenozoospermia, decreased sperm motility. Causes: abnormal sperm creation, sperm maturation problems, sperm transport abnormalities, or varicocele.
  • Necrozoospermia, a total absence of moving sperm. Sperm may be present, but may not be alive.

It may be possible to use healthy, non-motile sperm in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

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