Sperm Quality And Fertility Problems

By Medically reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor

When a couple struggles to conceive, more often than not, society tends to pin the blame on the lady. Yes, they bear the womb and yes, certain gynaecological conditions do affect their ability to conceive and sustain a viable pregnancy, but it takes two to tango. Fertility problems are a man’s problem too and this article will discuss how sperm quality affects a couple’s chance of conceiving.

Are you subfertile or infertile?

It is actually quite common to hear people who discuss the issue of fertility using terms such as subfertility and infertility. While the two are often used interchangeably and sounds seemingly similar, they don’t carry the same meaning. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), infertility refers to the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy after a year. Subfertility, on the other hand, generally describes any form of reduced fertility with prolonged time of unwanted non-conception. It’s important to understand the distinction between the two terminologies as management of each can differ greatly. In addition, it is unlikely for a couple who suffers from infertility to conceive without medical intervention.

Fertility problems due to sperm quality

Although it takes just a sperm and ovum for fertilisation to occur, the male testicle isn’t taking any chances. For good measure with fertilisation, a single ejaculation would flood the female uterus with millions of sperm. Despite this incredible amount, some couples still find it difficult to achieve the sperm and ovum union. And you’ve guessed it, one of the main reasons for this is the sperm quality. 

It’s certainly easy for a man to assume that their sperms’ quality is A-okay because the naked eye cannot see beyond the viscous and milky appearance of the semen. While the semen looks set to breed an entire civilisation, the sperm swimming inside it may not be up to the task. To assess the quality of sperm, a semen analysis is carried out to evaluate different aspects of a person’s sperm and problems such as:

Oligozoospermia – In lay man’s terms, this is known as a low sperm count. According to WHO’s definition, oligospermia is defined as sperm concentration that is less than 20×106/mL. A low sperm count will reduce the likelihood of fertilisation.

Asthenozoospermia – This is a problem known as reduced sperm motility. A person is said to have this problem if they have less than 50% spermatozoa with forward progression.

Teratozoospermia – This is a problem associated with the sperm’s morphology. Normal semen should have at least 30% spermatozoa with normal morphology. The size and shape of your sperm affect their ability to fertilise an egg. 

Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia – This problem greatly reduces the sperm quality as it signify anomalies in all of the three aforementioned variables. Needless to say, the likelihood of fertilisation is significantly reduced if a man were to suffer from this condition.

Aside from the above results, a semen analysis may also reveal no sperm at all and this is known as Azoospermia. Beyond sperm variables, this analysis also looks at other aspects of semen such as:

  • Semen volume
  • Semen pH
  • Fructose level

Helping Malaysian couples to conceive

From Left: The Founder and Managing Director of Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialist Founder and Managing Director, Datuk Dr Colin Lee, and Her Royal Highness, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

On 8 November 2019, the grand launch of Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialist Centre took place at Encorp Strand Mall, Damansara. The prestigious event was officiated by Her Majesty, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah. Also present at the event were Tengku Puteri Diraja Tengku Puteri Jihan Azizah ‘Athiyatullah Al-Sultan Abdullah, as well as Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialist Founder and Managing Director, Datuk Dr Colin Lee and Malaysian songstress Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin.

Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialist Centre is one of the most technologically advanced fertility centres not just in Malaysia but also the region. Aside from being the first to introduce multiple assisted reproductive technologies, the centre boasts a success rate that is comparable to some of the best centres in the world. Currently, the post-thaw rate recorded by Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialist Centre is at a whopping 100%. 

The centre has helped thousands of couples with fertility problems to conceive successfully. As a testament to its proven track record, the event saw Her Majesty, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, sponsoring 15 couples in attendance to undergo fertility treatments at the centre. Through Her Majesty’s foundation, Tengku Azizah Fertility Foundation (TAFF), countless underprivileged couples throughout the country were able to undergo much-needed fertility treatment and successfully conceive.

Fertility problems seem to be on the rise, especially in urban reaches of the country. In a society where close friends and family members are constantly expecting you to fulfil life’s most adorned milestone, the pressure can be mentally and emotionally exhaustive to endure. Fortunately, there are various effective treatments in the country to help struggling couples conceive. Regardless of male or female fertility problems, the comprehensive treatment offered in fertility centres such as Alpha allows couples to have a far brighter chance at welcoming their long-awaited bundle of joy.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: November 13, 2019 | Last Modified: November 13, 2019

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