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Abnormalities in Sperm: Learn about the sperm abnormalities types that affect the male's fertility rate and find out what causes abnormal sperm & ways to manage it.

Sperm is a crucial component of the reproductive system in males. It is a specialised cell that is responsible for fertilising the female egg and initiating the process of pregnancy. Sperm cells are formed in the testes through a process called spermatogenesis. During this process, immature cells in the testes divide and develop into mature, motile sperm cells that can fertilise an egg.

The quality and quantity of sperm can be affected by various factors, including age, lifestyle habits, genetics, and underlying medical conditions. Abnormalities in sperm can reduce the chances of successful fertilisation and make it difficult for couples to conceive naturally. However, this does not mean that someone with an abnormal sperm can never father a child; some advanced techniques & treatments aid in becoming a happy parent.

What are some common types of sperm abnormalities?

Abnormalities in sperm can be of various types. Different issues with sperm can affect fertility in men. These can range from issues in sperm count, motility, morphology, etc.

Some of the most common sperm issues that can affect fertility include the following:

  1. Low Sperm Count: It is a condition in which a male has fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen. This can reduce the chances of successful fertilisation.
  2. Poor Sperm Motility: Sperm motility refers to the ability of sperm to swim and move towards the egg. Poor or abnormal sperm motility can make it difficult for sperm to reach and fertilise the egg.
  3. Abnormal Sperm Morphology: Sperm morphology refers to the shape and structure of sperm. Abnormal sperm morphology can lead to decreased fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.
  4. Sperm Agglutination: Sperm agglutination is a condition in which sperm stick together, forming clumps that can impair their motility and ability to fertilise the egg.
  5. DNA Damage: DNA damage in sperm can result from a variety of factors, including age, environmental toxins, and certain medical conditions. DNA damage can reduce the chances of successful fertilisation and increase the risk of birth defects in offspring.

Morphological Abnormalities in Sperm

Morphological abnormalities are some of the most common types of abnormal forms of sperm anomalies that can affect the ability to fertilise an egg.

A healthy sperm has the following characteristics typically:

  1.  A distinct head, a mid-piece, and a long, whip-like tail called a Flagellum.
  2.  An oval-shaped head that is symmetrical, smooth, and free of any deformities or abnormalities.
  3.  A straight, smooth, and undamaged tail.
  4.  Size around 5-6 micrometres in length and 2.5-3.5 micrometres in width but can vary slightly.

An abnormality in sperm morphology generally includes an irregular head shape, a bent or coiled tail, or a missing mid-piece. Some of the most common abnormalities in sperm morphology include:

  1. Head defects: Normally, the head of the sperm would contain the nucleus, which contains the sperm's genetic material, including the DNA. Common abnormalities in the sperm head include macrocephaly (large head), microcephaly (small head), pinhead, tapered head, headless sperm, thin narrow head, Globozoospermia (round-headed sperm), multiple heads in one sperm, etc. 
  2. Midpiece defects: The midpiece of the sperm contains several important structures that are essential for the sperm's motility and energy production, the most important being the mitochondria. Abnormal sperm may sometimes lack the mitochondria in the midpiece. The neck of the sperm can exhibit abnormalities such as asymmetrical insertion into the head, a bent neck, a neck that is too thick or too thin, or an irregularly shaped neck.
  3. Tail defects: The tail helps the sperm swim towards the egg. Any defect in the structure of the tail can cause the sperm to be unable to swim successfully towards the egg. Common defects associated with the sperm tail include the coiled tail, stump tail, duplicate tail, multiple tails, and tails of irregular thickness or absent tails (tailless).

Sperm Abnormality Causes 

Sperm abnormalities can be due to a variety of factors, including:

Certain medical conditions and treatments (For eg. - Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, etc.)

  • Exposure to harmful environmental toxins
  • Genetic factors
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Medications
  • Past or present infections
  • Trauma to the testicles
  • Undescended testicles
  • Excessive use of testosterone
  • Varicoceles


Sperm Abnormality Symptoms 

Sperm abnormalities generally do not cause any noticeable symptoms in men. Most males would know about their condition when they start trying to conceive and are unsuccessful. Sometimes symptoms can be noticed based on the cause of the abnormality. These symptoms include loss of hair due to hormonal imbalance, pain or swelling in the testicular region, etc.

Sperm Abnormality Treatment 

Males with abnormalities in sperm can still father a child in most cases. However, they will need medical assistance to do so, and the treatment will depend on the cause of the abnormality. Some common treatments for sperm abnormalities include:

  1.  Medications to treat hormonal imbalances and infections.
  2.  Surgery in case of issues like varicoceles.
  3.  Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) to help conceive a child.
  4.  Lifestyle changes to improve the overall health of the sperm
  5.  Using donor sperm to get pregnant in case sperm abnormalities cannot be treated.

It's important to discuss treatment options with a healthcare provider or a fertility specialist to determine the best approach based on the individual's situation and the underlying cause of the sperm abnormalities.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What can I do to correct the morphology of my sperm? 

Men are always producing new sperm. Following a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and seeking the right medical aid can help improve the quality & quantity of sperm.

Q2. What techniques can help in conceiving if someone has abnormalities in sperm? 

Assisted Reproductive Techniques like Intrauterine insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), etc., can help someone with abnormal sperm to conceive.

Q3. How common are sperm abnormalities? 

Sperm abnormalities are relatively common, affecting up to 15% of males. However, the severity of the abnormalities can vary widely.

Q4. Do sperm abnormalities always cause infertility? 

Not all sperm abnormalities lead to infertility. The severity of the abnormalities and other factors, such as the female's fertility, can also affect a couple's ability to conceive. Additionally, some sperm abnormalities may not be detected until a couple has trouble conceiving.

How to seek help? 

If you are concerned due to a delay in starting your family due to any such health problem, visit Indira IVF. Our 250+ fertility specialists, 120+ clinics, advanced ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), and patient-centric practices have helped more than 1,40,000 infertile couples overcome infertility. To get expert fertility treatment like IVF, IUI, ICSI, etc., at affordable prices, visit your nearest Indira IVF centre.

To explore our top fertility treatments with expert fertility specialists, book a free consultation at 18003092323.




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