Quality/Quantity of Sperm
The major cause of male infertility is failure to produce enough healthy sperm. It could be a low sperm count (oligospermia) or a complete absence of living sperm in the semen (azoospermia). The presence in the semen of large numbers of abnormally shaped sperm, such as the two- headed one, may reduce a man's fertility.
So, the first thing a infertility specialist do is to perform a semen analysis. Here, semen is examined as soon as possible for the number, shape, and degree of motility of the sperm. A postcoital semen test may also be performed. The semen is analyzed for
The threshold value for a "normal" sperm/semen is shown below.
The total sperm count and sperm quality of the general male population has been deteriorating over the last few decades.
Functional Tests to Evaluate Sperm
There are several functional tests to evaluate sperm.
The post-coital test measures the ability of the sperm to penetrate the cervical mucus after intercourse.
This is a "test tube version of the post coital test." Scientists discovered that human sperm, under appropriate conditions, can penetrate hamster eggs. It was established that fertile males exhibit a range of penetration of ten to one hundred percent, and that penetration less than ten percent is indicative of infertility The hamster-egg penetration test is a more reliable indicator of fertility. It accurately predicts fertility in sixty-six percent of the cases, as compared to semen analysis that is accurate only thirty percent of time.
Detection Of Antisperm Antibodies
Another important criteria for suitability of fertilization is the absence of antisperm antibodies in the sperm. If these antibodies are present in the sperm, they will attack the tail of the sperm, thereby impeding the sperm's ability to move and penetrate the cervical mucus. (Women also produces the antisperm antibodies. But the antisperm antibodies produced by women are typically directed against the head of the sperm.) The presence of antisperm antibodies in semen analysis is usually a sign of past or current infection in the male reproductive tract.
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