Sperm disorders account for most common male infertility and are often symptomatic of other diseases or disorders. To that end, a semen analysis is often critical in determining Male Infertility. The analysis looks at eight factors, including:
- Semen volume
- Normal volume is 1.0-6.5 milliliters (mL) per ejaculate. In very rare cases, there is an absence of semen, termed aspermia.
- Sperm count:
- Normal sperm count is defined by the World Health Organization as having over 20 million sperm per mL. A count of under 20 million/mL is termed oligospermia while the absence of sperm altogether is termed azoospermia.
- Sperm motility:
- This refers to the forward motion capacity of the sperm. 8 million sperm per mL with good motility is considered normal.
- Sperm morphology:
- Morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. 70% normally-shaped sperm indicates good morphology. Abnormally shaped sperm appear with malformed heads (two heads, tiny heads, round heads) and tails (two tails, short tails). These shapes tend to affect their motility.
Other Male Infertility causes include liquefaction time, pH levels, and fructose levels. An off-average number in any factor can signify infertility.
Cancer and Male Infertility
Cancer and Male Infertility may be linked as radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer can impair sperm production, sometimes severely. In general, the higher the dose and the longer the treatment, the greater the chance for reproductive problems. Your age, the type and dose of drugs, the location and dose of radiation, the scope and location of surgery, your pre-cancer fertility status, and other factors can influence your risk.
A varicocele is mass of enlarged and dilated veins in the testicle that essentially feels like a bag of worms. It is generally not harmful and usually not painful. A varicocele can be found in 42% of infertile men. About 15% of normal, fertile men also have a varicocele, a fact which complicates the relationship between infertility and varicoceles. Approximately 15 percent of males have this condition which almost always occurs on the left side.
Azoospermia is a condition in which a semen analysis shows an absence of sperm in a man's semen, although azoospermia is sometimes diagnosed even if as many as 500,000 sperm are found.
All told, this may be a testicular problem, where the testes simply aren't producing any. It's also possible that the testes are producing sperm, but they aren't being delivered. In this case, the problem is in either the ductal system carrying the sperm, or in the process known as emission, in which sperm moves to the urethra prior to ejaculation.
Defined as having a sperm count of under 20 million spermatozoa per milliliter, in short what this means is that there is an insufficient amount of sperm in the semen to make fertility likely. However, oligospermia does not automatically indicate Male Infertility.