Sperm motility refers to the action of sperm movement. Good sperm motility is one of the essential criteria for healthy sperm, as it is vital that healthy sperm cells are able to swim proficiently to be able to reach and fertilise the egg.
Asthenozoospermia is a condition where sperm do not swim proficiently, which can lead to infertility.
What is considered to be healthy sperm motility?
- Good sperm motility means that at least 40% of sperm in a sample must be moving. This includes non-progressive movement
- At least 32% should show progressive movement
- A total motile sperm count of over 200 million is considered to be normal. Less than 5 million is considered to be poor sperm motility
- Sperm with a forward progression of at least 25 micrometres per second is considered to be normal
What causes poor sperm motility?
Some people have a medical reason why they have poor sperm motility, whilst others may have a genetic predisposition.
A medical issue called varicocele happens when veins inside the scrotum enlarge causing the temperature of the testes to increase, leading to poor sperm motility.
Environmental and lifestyle factors also play a part in healthy sperm motility. Stress, poor diet, some medications and ‘over heating’ of the male genital area have all been linked to poor sperm motility.
Studies have found that smoking is linked to poor sperm motility. A study by European Urology found a 13% decrease in sperm motility in men who smoke.
Certain jobs and hobbies can also impact sperm motility. Some professions might risk trauma to the male pelvic area such as jobs in the military or driving. Other professions can involve chemical exposure, which could affect sperm function.
Work that involves long hours sitting with the heat of a laptop directly on your lap can all influence the health of the sperm. Hobbies such as cycling and motorbikes can also impact sperm health with increased heat, impact and compression in the genital area.
How you can naturally boost sperm motility
In some cases where sperm motility is a medical problem, your doctor might recommend certain medications or surgery. However, poor sperm motility is a common problem and it is often linked to lifestyle factors that can easily be improved:
- Quit smoking – if you smoke you are likely to have decreased sperm motility, so it makes sense to quit smoking completely
- Reduce your alcohol intake – excessive alcohol consumption is known to lower sperm quantity,, motility and morphology
- Make exercise part of your routine and a top priority – regular exercise is known to raise testosterone levels and therefore increase production of healthy sperm
- Make sure you have a balanced diet – you are what you eat, especially when it comes to sperm production as sperm health is intrinsically linked to your diet. A balanced diet will help provide most of the vitamins and minerals you need and in conjunction with regular exercise should also help you avoid putting on weight
- Take supplements to improve sperm motility – we know that a good diet has a huge impact on sperm production and motility, but it is often impractical and difficult to follow a strict diet plan. Supplements can fill in the gaps and give you the best possible chance of producing healthy sperm. Condensyl creates a balance for optimal sperm maturation and development with clinically measurable success reflected in pregnancy rates
- Avoid certain medications – some medicine can impact your sperm, such as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. Talk to your GP if you are worried about a prescription
- Reduce stress – when you feel mentally stressed it can impact your physiology, impacting on male fertility. Make sure you get enough sleep, good food and exercise and take breaks from work for a better work-life balance
- Maintain a healthy weight – obesity is linked to poor sperm motility
- Limit mobile phone use – health professionals have long warned that the storage of mobile phones in your trouser pockets could lead to infertility. This is because mobile phones emit radiation which can impact sperm development
Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving – as many as 3.5 million people in the UK alone. Many are infertile due to factors such as poor sperm motility. In fact, male causes of infertility have doubled in a decade, making male symptoms the sole cause or contributing factor in 50% of cases according to research in the Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.