Dr. Shelly Kagan Specializes in Male Infertility and offers his professional opinion on what healthy sperm looks like.
Checkout this video:
Sperm are the cells that carry the male reproductive material, or genetic information, to unite with the female egg. A single sperm cell contains 37.5 MB of DNA information. This is the same amount of information contained in an entire human genome.
Sperm morphology is the size and shape of sperm cells. Healthy sperm have an oval head and a long tail. The head contains the nucleus, which contains the chromosomes that carry the father’s genetic information. The tail propels the sperm cell through the female reproductive tract.
The size and shape of sperm cells are important because they affect the sperm’s ability to travel through the female reproductive tract and fertilize an egg. Sperm with abnormal morphology are less likely to be able to travel through the reproductive tract and fertilize an egg.
There are several methods that can be used to assess sperm morphology, but the most common is called “typing.” In this method, a microscopist evaluates a stained slide of sperm cells under high magnification (1000x or more) and assigns each cell to one of four categories:
Normal: A normal sperm cell has an oval head with a smooth surface and a single, long tail.
Head defect: A head defect is any abnormality in the shape of the sperm head. These defects can range from slightly misshapen heads to completely spherical heads. Head defects can be caused by genetic defects, infections, injuries, or exposure to certain chemicals or medications.
Tail defect: A tail defect is any abnormality in the structure or movement of the sperm tail. Tail defects can range from minor abnormalities in movement to complete absence of movement (immotile). Tail defects can be caused by genetic defects, infections, injuries, or exposure to certain chemicals or medications.
Indeterminate: An indeterminate cell is one that cannot be clearly assigned to either the normal or abnormal category. Indeterminate cells are often excluded from calculations of percent normal morphology.
Healthy sperm have good motility, meaning they can swim quickly and in a straight line. Motile sperm make up 40 to 60 percent of a healthy semen sample.
Sperm motility declines with age. The percentage of sperm with good motility decreases from about 80 percent in men younger than 35 to around 50 percent in men older than 45.
Poor sperm motility is a major cause of infertility. A man with poor sperm motility may have a higher risk of fathering a child with genetic abnormalities.
How to Check Your Sperm Health
There are a few things you can do to check your sperm health at home. The first thing you will want to do is take a look at your semen. It should be a whitish-gray color and have a jelly-like consistency. If it is yellow or green, this could be a sign of an infection. You will also want to check for any clumps or unusual chunks in your semen. If you notice any, this could be a sign of a problem.
A healthy sperm count is typically greater than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. A low sperm count, also called oligospermia, is when you have fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter.
Fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter, or 39 million per ejaculate, is considered low and can make it more difficult to conceive. A count of 10 million or fewer sperm per milliliter or 39 million or fewer per ejaculate is considered very low and may make conceiving nearly impossible.
Sperm motility is a measure of how well your sperm move. The higher the percentage of motile sperm, the better your chances are of getting pregnant. A normal sperm motility rate is 40% or higher.
To check your sperm motility, your doctor will ask you to provide a semen sample. They will then look at it under a microscope to see how well your sperm are swimming.
There are two types of sperm motility:
-Progressive motility: This means that your sperm are swimming forward in a straight line.
-Non-progressive motility: This means that your sperm are swimming but not in a straight line.
Sperm morphology is the size and shape of your sperm. A healthy sperm has an oval head and a long tail. Your sperm should also be uniformly shaped and sized. If your sperm are misshapen or have abnormal tails, they may not be able to swim properly or penetrate an egg.
Causes of Poor Sperm Quality
Healthy sperm are an important part of a man’s reproductive system. They are responsible for fertilizing a woman’s egg and help to create a pregnancy. However, poor sperm quality can lead to infertility. There are many factors that can affect sperm quality, including lifestyle choices, health conditions, and medications.
As men age, the volume, number and motility of sperm decrease. In addition, large percentages of sperm may have abnormal morphology (shape). All of these changes result in a decrease in fertility. The effects of aging are gradual and usually become noticeable after age 40.
Smoking cigarettes can cause poor sperm quality. The toxins in cigarette smoke can damage the DNA in sperm, causing it to be less effective at fertilizing an egg. If you are trying to conceive, it is best to quit smoking completely.
Excessive drinking can damage the liver, leading to an increase in the level of enzymes in the blood. This can cause a condition known as hepatic steatosis, which impairs sperm production and leads to poor sperm quality. Alcohol also increases the levels of hormones that inhibit gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which further reduces testosterone levels and sperm production.j
It’s well known that a good diet is essential for overall health, but did you know that what you eat can also affect your sperm? Research has shown that men who consume a diet high in processed meats, fatty foods, and refined carbohydrates have a lower sperm count than those who eat a healthier diet. Conversely, men who consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish have healthier sperm.
It’s no secret that stress can take a toll on your health, but did you know that it can also impact your sperm quality? Chronic stress can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, weight gain, and depression. All of these conditions can contribute to poor sperm quality.
In addition to its direct effects on sperm quality, stress can also indirectly impact fertility by interfering with sexual function. When you’re stressed, you may have difficulty Getting or maintaining an erection. You may also have less interest in sex. All of these factors can impact your ability to conceive.
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to manage your stress levels. There are a number of ways to do this, including exercise, relaxation techniques, and counseling. Talk to your doctor about what would work best for you.
How to Improve Sperm Quality
Having healthy sperm is important for fertility and being able to father a child. There are a few things that you can do to improve your sperm quality. Let’s take a look at what healthy sperm looks like and how you can improve your sperm quality.
Smoking cigarettes can lead to a decrease in sperm count, as well as lower sperm motility (ability to swim). If you and your partner are trying to conceive, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances.
Limit alcohol intake
limit alcohol intake Alcohol can damage sperm. A single night of heavy drinking can reduce the number of sperm a man produces by as much as 30 percent.
Eat a healthy diet
Research has clearly shown that what you eat has a profound effect on your sperm quality. A 2014 study showed that men who ate the most junk food had the lowest sperm count and motility. This likely has to do with the fact that processed foods are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like trans fats, which have been shown to damage sperm.
On the other hand, eating plenty of healthy foods has been linked with higher sperm count and motility. One study found that men who ate the most fruits and vegetables had significantly higher sperm counts than those who ate the least. Another study showed that men who ate fish weekly had higher sperm motility than those who didn’t eat fish.
Here are some specific foods that have been linked with improved sperm quality:
-Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, which are believed to protect sperm from damage. One study found that men who ate the most fruits and vegetables had significantly higher sperm counts than those who ate the least.
-Oysters: Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc, a mineral that is essential for healthy semen. One study found that men with low zinc levels had lower testosterone levels and reduced semen quality.
-Fish: Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with better semen quality. One study showed that men who ate fish weekly had higher sperm motility than those who didn’t eat fish.
-Nuts: Nuts are another good source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as zinc and selenium, which are all nutrients essential for healthy semen production. One study found that men who regularly consumed nuts had significantly higher semen quality than those who didn’t eat nuts.
Male infertility is often caused by low sperm count or poor sperm quality. Although there are treatments available, such as assisted reproductive technologies (ART), they can be expensive and not always successful.
There are lifestyle changes you can make to improve your chances of having healthy sperm. One of the most important things you can do is to reduce stress. Stress can reduce semen quality and affect sexual function. It can also interfere with hormone production, which can impact sperm production.
There are many ways to reduce stress, such as exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques. You may also want to avoid triggers that cause you stress, such as work or relationship problems.