The Limitations of Current Sperm Testing and Analysis
Much like a woman can have infection and inflammations that cause infertility, so can a man, which causes problems in the creation of sperm. Sometimes it can even be hormonal. Unfortunately, while so much time and research is spent on women’s reproduction, there has been little research as to the causes of men’s reproduction.
But while it’s commonly assumed that infertility issues arise from women, Dr. Sergio Oehninger of the Sher Fertility Institute of New York, knows otherwise. While he understands infertility as a whole, he’s an experienced andrologist who specializes in male patients.
And it seems, he believes, that there’s a lack of focus and research on male infertility. Mainly, this is because it has always been wrongly presumed that infertility issues were a women’s health matter. It wasn’t very objective, but those were the old days.
Today, thankfully, there is new evidence that infertility is 50/50. Believe it or not, men, too, have a significant role in creating babies. (Shocking!) The biggest problem with this is that it’s still not spoken about, as if it’s still taboo that this could even possibly be a men’s issue.
The Limited Research on Sperm
A man’s age, like a woman’s age, plays a factor in getting pregnant.
However, while a woman’s egg count naturally decreases around 35, a man’s sperm really only sees a natural decrease in quality around his 50s. This means there’s not necessarily an age limit on the man; it’s really the eggs that start dropping off. This is likely where society still assumes most troubles lie with the woman’s health, but for trying couples who have spent over a year trying to get pregnant, there is more to it.
Sperm count and morphology are better understood and can be predicted. But more research in sperm motility is needed.
Already, though, some research has allowed doctors to create a more accurate system for grading a sperm’s motility. Before it was graded by A, B, C, etc., whereas today the motility of spermatozoon is graded in this way:
- PR (progressive)
- NP (non-progressive)
- IM (immotility)
Keeping a more accurate assessment of a sperm’s motility has allowed doctors to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy, which has been made possible by further sperm testing and analysis.
IVF and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
While there is limited research on sperm, there have been some advances like that of sperm motility, specifically in regards to the development of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
What Is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is when doctors take a woman’s egg and insert a single sperm cell directly into it, providing a better chance of success by eliminating sperm defects. It also has the same success rates as standard IVF.
The problem with IVF and ICSI is that it can cause multiple pregnancies and triplets, which is considered a complication by some (and a handful, by a vast understatement, to parents who find themselves in this situation).
But as more sperm testing and analysis is researched, the more predictable these pregnancies can become and be avoided. For example, today, Dr. Oehninger only transfers two embryos, resulting in single pregnancies for 80% of cases.
Until There Is More Sperm Research and Testing
The need for further sperm testing and research is an understatement. But for men who are experiencing infertility, there is still hope for creating a family.
At Naturna, we can provide acupuncture to help men improve their fertility and even improve their sperm quality. If you’re a couple having fertility troubles, reach out to us and see what we can do to make the process smoother.
Franken DR, Oehninger S. Semen analysis and sperm function testing. Asian J Androl. 2012;14(1):6–13. doi:10.1038/aja.2011.58