Sperm Motility: How it Affects Natural Conception

Sperm that show low motility or are immobile are unable to reach the egg to fertilize it. This is why sperm motility is a key parameter of sperm quality to achieve a natural pregnancy.

Sperm movement is analyzed by the spermatozoa and is considered impaired when the number of progressively motile sperm is less than 32%, or the total number of motile sperm in the ejaculate is less than 40%.

Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, it is possible to achieve pregnancy despite reduced sperm motility values, even in cases where only live, immobile sperm are found.

How is Sperm motility assessed?

Sperm motility is assessed through a semen analysis called a seminogram or spermogram.

To carry out this analysis, the male partner must submit to the andrology laboratory a sample of sperm in an approved and labeled vial.

The ejaculate sample is obtained by masturbation after abstinence from sex for 3-5 days. It is important to respect this period of abstinence in order to obtain reliable semen analysis results.

A drop of the sample is placed in a Makler or Neubauer chamber, and the movement of the sperm is studied.

In the context of this study, it is not only important to know whether they move or not but also to analyze the way in which they move.

Thus, on the one hand, the total percentage of motile and non-motile sperm is analyzed and, on the other hand, the movement of motile sperm is specified:

Progressivity- in this, it is analyzed whether the mobility is progressive or not. If the sperm are unable to travel this distance, it will be very difficult for them to cross the female reproductive tract to reach the egg.

Form of movement- indicates whether the sperm move in a straight line, in a circle, or in a zigzag.

Vitesse- It is noted whether the movement is fast or slow.

Why sperm motility adversely affects natural conception?

When there are problems with sperm motility, this is medically referred to as asthenozoospermia, also colloquially known as sluggish or “lazy” sperm.

The higher the percentage of immobile or sluggish sperm, the more difficult it will be to achieve a natural pregnancy. That is why, in most cases where there is an alteration in the mobility of the spermatozoa, which means that the spermatozoa will have more difficulty traveling all the way to reach the egg and fertilize, it will be necessary to resort to assisted reproduction techniques.

What are the different treatments for sperm motility?

In terms of possible treatments, artificial insemination would not be indicated when the motility is very low because the sperm cannot complete the normal course and fertilize the egg. For this reason, the treatment of choice in most cases of moderate-severe asthenozoospermia would be in vitro fertilization (IVF), which can be performed in the following ways:

Conventional IVF

A large number of sperm are brought into contact with the egg in a dish and an incubator for natural fertilization to occur. This technique is only indicated if the decrease in motility is mild-moderate.


It is the biologist who introduces the selected sperm into the egg, so the sperm does not need to move.

IVF, like any medical treatment, requires that you trust the professionalism of the doctors and the clinic you have chosen. It is important to select the most beneficial clinics like Rana IVF Center for you.

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