When it comes time to check your fertility, sperm count is often the metric in mind for most men. However, sperm count is only one aspect of male fertility (albeit, an important one). Abnormal sperm morphology, sperm motility, and many other factors can significantly affect a man’s ability to conceive.
A healthy sperm count is undoubtedly beneficial, but the quality and functionality of those sperm are also important. Here, you can explore additional semen parameters you should be aware of and better understand your reproductive health.
Sperm morphology refers to the shape and structure of sperm. A normal sperm cell has an oval head and a long tail that propels it forward. However, many men have a significant proportion of sperm with an irregular shape, a condition known as abnormal sperm morphology.
In cases where men have abnormal sperm morphology, sperm may have multiple heads, multiple tails, or possess defects in their midsection. These defects can compromise their ability to swim effectively, penetrate the outer egg layer, and ultimately fertilize the egg.
What is a Normal Sperm Morphology Rate?
|Criteria||Percentage of Normal Sperm|
|Normal Sperm Morphology||4-10 %|
|Low Sperm Morphology||0-3 %|
|High Sperm Morphology||11+ %|
Source: Mayo Clinic
Semen volume refers to the total amount of semen released during ejaculation. Typically, the semen volume is measured in milliliters (mL). Every milliliter of healthy semen should contain millions of sperm. Semen volume can be influenced by a man’s age, diet, frequency of ejaculation, and overall health.
A decrease in semen volume over time is a natural part of aging. However, significant changes in semen volume, color, or consistency could potentially indicate underlying health issues and should prompt consultation with a healthcare professional.
What is a Normal Semen Volume?
|Normal Semen Volume||1.5-7.6 mL|
|Low Semen Volume||0-1.4 mL|
|High Semen Volume||7.6+ mL|
Source: World Health Organization
Sperm motility describes how well a man’s sperm can move. If a man has normal sperm motility, his sperm can move through the female reproductive tract to reach an egg. If a man has low sperm motility, on the other hand, that means his sperm can not move fast enough or far enough to fertilize an egg.
The amount of time it takes for a sperm cell to travel to the egg can vary greatly. Highly motile sperm may reach the egg in as little as 30 minutes, while those with low motility might take days to complete the same journey. Given that sperm cell life span is five days (at most) in the body, low motility can significantly increase conception challenges.
What is a Normal Sperm Motility Rate?
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers a normal sperm motility rate at least 42%, meaning that at least 42 out of every 100 sperm cells should be moving. The motile sperm cells are further classified based on their speed and movement. To fall into a normal categorization, at least 30% of the sperm must be progressively motile, meaning they are moving in a forward direction.
Additional Male Fertility Testing
The SpermCheck Fertility Test is designed specifically for measuring sperm count. Knowing your sperm count is a significant first step when properly evaluating your fertility, but you can learn so much more with the help of additional testing. When you test all key semen parameters with one of Legacy’s Semen Analysis Kits, you gain insights into all of the above metrics and more.