What is sperm motility?
One of the parameters that determine sperm quality is motility. It is crucial that a man’s sperm cells are motile and swimming if a couple is trying to make a baby. Here you can learn about sperm motility, the difference between semen and sperm, how to test the quality and how to improve it.
What is sperm motility?
Sperm motility is basically the sperm cells’ ability to move and swim. The sperms’ motility is important for a man’s ability to make a woman pregnant. Sperm cells must be able to swim from the woman’s vagina towards the egg in one of the fallopian tubes. That is through normal intercourse where the man ejaculates inside the woman.
What is the difference between semen and sperm?
Semen and sperm are actually two different things even though people often use the two terms interchangeably. While sperm is the reproductive cells, semen is the fluid that contains the sperm cells. Apart from sperm cells, semen also contains proteins, lipids, acids, minerals etc. These components contribute to help the sperm cells fertilise the woman’s egg.
Normal sperm motility
Sperm quality is measured by looking at several parameters. Motility is just one of the parameters that determine semen’s quality and ability to get a woman pregnant. Generally, a man should have more than approximately 15 million sperm cells per millilitre semen, and more than 40% of them should be motile – that is alive and swimming.
How to test sperm motility
Sperm motility can be tested through a semen analysis. A semen analysis can be done at a fertility clinic or a sperm bank. You will have to provide a semen sample at the clinic or sperm bank. A laboratory technician will assess the motility and other parameters such as the total volume of the sample and the number of sperm cells per millilitre semen. This way, the clinic or sperm bank can let you know if your sperm is healthy.
Low sperm motility
Sperm quality is measured through several parameters and not only by looking at the motility of the sperm cells. However, a normal semen sample must contain 40-81% motile cells according to WHO. So, does this mean that all hope is out if your semen analysis comes back with a disappointing result? Not necessarily. Sperm quality varies over time and is dependent on many different factors – for example, lifestyle.
How to improve sperm quality
You can improve the quality of your sperm – and thereby the motility. Here are a few tips:
- Quit smoking
- Stop drinking (or at least reduce your alcohol intake)
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid heating of the testicles for example by avoiding tight underwear, hot tubs and saunas
While the above tips can help improve sperm quality, they are also a part of a generally healthy lifestyle – so there is no excuse.
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