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What is Asthenozoospermia?

By H. Lo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Asthenozoospermia is a term that means reduced sperm motility. Sperm motility, in turn, refers to how well sperm move. The ability of sperm to move ahead is called forward progression. In general, sperm is distinguished by its progressive and non-progressive motility or altogether immotility. When sperm has low motility or is immotile, it can negatively affect male fertility.

Fertility, or the ability to conceive a child, can be hampered by many things. Both males and females might experience infertility, which could be caused by a myriad of factors. Along with asthenozoospermia, other causes of male infertility include having no sperm, low sperm count or abnormal sperm. Additional factors that might affect infertility are health problems and environmental conditions.

Male infertility can be diagnosed through many different means, including a physical exam and disclosure of medical history. Asthenozoospermia is usually checked through semen analysis, which is done by a fertility specialist. For this exam, several samples may be collected for examination to ensure the accuracy of the results.

During the analysis, the samples are examined based upon six different aspects that make up healthy sperm. Four of these aspects are concentration, morphology and volume in addition to a standard fluid test. Concentration deals with the ratio of sperm per milliliter; morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. Volume means the total volume of the semen sample, and the standard fluid test examines the thickness and color of the sperm.

The other two aspects analyzed in the semen analysis involve sperm motility: the percentage of sperm movement within the semen and a count of the total number of moving sperm. Motility is determined by the ability of the sperm to reach the egg in order for fertilization to happen. Progressive motility means the sperm is active, whether moving linearly or in big circles. In non-progressive motility, the sperm is active although there is no forward progression. When sperm does not move, it is referred to as immotility.

Since there are various factors that can affect fertility, different methods of medical treatment exist to improve the chances of conceiving a child. With asthenozoospermia, the problem lies in the inability of sperm to move towards the egg. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a treatment method that might be able to help with this dilemma, as it involves directly injecting sperm into the egg. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common form of ART.

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Discussion Comments
By anon315956 — On Jan 26, 2013

Can a man recover after having asthenzoospermia.

By umbra21 — On Jul 28, 2011

@browncoat - I've heard that there have been several studies on reduced sperm counts. One of them even said something along the lines of "If we didn't find sex so fun, we might already be going extinct".

Apparently one in five young men has asthenozoospermia, at least in the developed world. And that's compared to around one in ten for almost any other mammal.

They aren't sure why it's happening, but it might be because of various environmental effects or maybe living choices of men, and even of women when they are pregnant.

At any rate, the scientists really need to get busy on this one before we get ourselves collectively into trouble.

Although maybe they should wait until the human population has declined a little first.

By pleonasm — On Jul 28, 2011

@browncoat - Sperm production also goes down with age, and asthenozoospermia goes up. So leaving children until later in life affects the chances of a man having kids as well.

I suppose they could get young men to freeze their sperm to be used later!

It's interesting because this condition is leading to a lot of women using sperm donors, and of course they try to pick healthy, intelligent, good looking donors.

So, it makes me wonder whether this is human evolution at work. I wonder if anyone has ever studied that.

By browncoat — On Jul 27, 2011

I've heard that asthenozoospermia has become more and more common recently. They aren't sure if it is some kind of weird spike, due to the fact that they haven't been keeping records on this kind of thing for very long, or whether it is a real downward trend, but it looks to be the latter.

Unfortunately, it gets matched up with women leaving conception later and later in life, so they end up with reduced fertility as well.

Which is why people seem to be having so much trouble conceiving lately. In vitro fertilization is getting more and more popular.

Personally, I think people should just adopt, but I can understand why they want their "own" child.

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