Reduced sperm quality

One of the most common reasons for a couples’ inability to conceive is male reduction of procreativity.

The sperm maturation takes place in the testicles at around 35°C. The whole development cycle takes three months. If the temperature in the testicles is too high, the production stops or the sperm cells are destroyed. Even a low temperature has inhibitory effects, although the sperm cells are not destroyed.

The sperm maturation starts in puberty and continues until an advanced age. During this time span, the sperm quality can vary strongly. Therefore, it is necessary to do at least two sperm analyses over a three month period in order to estimate the semen quality. Infections and fever, as well as prolonged sunbathing, sauna and solarium usage have negative effects on sperm maturation.

The image shows how the amount of sperm cells per milliliter can vary over several weeks

Analysis of a sperm sample: the spermiogram

One of the most important tests for a couple with difficulties conceiving is the spermiogram, the analysis of a sperm sample. The partner delivers a sperm sample after an abstention period of 2 to 7 days. The following parameters are especially important:

  • volume of the sample
  • the amount of sperm cells per milliliter
  • concentration of sperm cells
  • mobility
  • morphology

What is important to consider for the sperm delivery?

  • 2 – 7 days abstention period should be observed
  • the bladder should be empty before ejaculation
  • hands and penis should be washed before the delivery
  • no check-up necessary for an inconspicuous test result (normozoospermia)
  • for conspicuous test results a check-up 6 to 12 weeks later is recommended
  • in the case of kryptozoospermia or azoospermia the check-up can be conducted already after 4 to 6 weeks

Comparison with values provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

The results are compared with reference values provided by the World Health Organization within 60 minutes of ejaculation. The following factors are taken into account for the analysis:

Important: The semen analysis can vary so one analysis is therefore not significant.

Definitions of the World Health Organization

Normozoospermia: normal ejaculate
Hypospermia: reduced volume of sperm cells
Oligozoospermia: too few sperm cells
Asthenozoospermia: percentage of moving cells too low
Teratozoospermia: percentage of regularly formed cells too low
Azoospermia: no sperm cells present within the seminal fluid
Kryptozoospermia: very few sperm cells present within the seminal fluid
Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia: syndrome combination of all three disorders
Oligoasthenozoospermia: combination of too few sperm cells & low percentage of moving cells
Oligoteratozoospermia: combination of too few sperm cells & low percentage of regularly formed cells
Asthenoteratozoospermia: combination of too few moving cells & percentage of regularly formed cells
Aspermia: no seminal fluid
Leukospermia: >1 Mio/ml white bloodcells in ejaculate
Hämatospermia: red bloodcells in ejaculate

* We need an up-to-date test result which should not be older than 6 months. Please ask whether all the parameters required will be tested. We cannot give a definitive statement if parameters are missing!

** Depending which criteria is used.