The male fertility test is being requested in greater numbers than ever before. Clearly something is not quite right; men's sperm counts have been on a rapid decline since the 50s. Back in the 80s, men, on average, had 85% normal sperm and 15% abnormal sperm. Today those figures have been reversed: 15% of sperm is normal and 85% or sperm is abnormal. And these numbers are getting worse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have had to lower the 'normal' sperm reference ranges over the years to accommodate for these declining numbers. Otherwise, most men would show as infertile in a male fertility test. Today according to WHO <30% normal looking sperm is considered to be insufficient for a natural conception.
The Male Fertility Test
One of the concerning parts about this sad state of affairs is that most fertility doctors are not too concerned about these figures. Why? Because all that's needed for IVF is ONE normal-looking sperm. Although we are talking about low percentages here, an average ejaculate contains millions of sperm and out of those millions, there ought to be at least a few fit enough to fertilize your egg.
Sadly, the lower the sperm rates the better it is for IVF clinics. So this is where you have to step into the picture and change this scenario for the better. Because the good news is, a poor result from a male fertility test does not automatically mean IVF. Sperm quality and quantity can be treated and abnormal sperm can be transformed into super-sperm in as little as 3-4 months. Click here for more information on how to improve sperm health.
Poor Sperm Health and Lifestyle
The rapid decline in the quality and quantity of sperm - highlighted by poor male fertility test results - happens to coincide with the introduction of processed, pre-packaged, pre-cooked food treated with pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, colors and preservatives. And a host of other convenient household and personal care products.
Men, in particular, tend not to be too worried about what's in their shampoo, toothpaste or their pre-made frozen dinner or a take-away. Convenience and value-for-money are what appeals to the majority of men. Most of the men I know (with the exception of my husband) will have their bathrooms and fridges stocked with well known and easily recognizable commercial brands found in every supermarket.
And some men (such as my father) find it hard to accept that their toothpaste could be bad for their prostate or that their beloved late-night snack in the fridge contains cancer-provoking chemicals. As a naturopath well versed in the chemical maze it's really frustrating and sad for me to watch my loved ones slowly poison themselves. Parents rarely listen to their children and vice-versa, so this is a battle I will have to let go of.
If you've been trying to conceive and your partner hasn't had his sperm tested in less than a year it's time to consider a male fertility test: a sperm analysis.
You can get the male fertility test done by an andrologist at any professional fertility clinic.
Here are the normal male fertility test sperm ranges:
- Volume: mL (normal 2-6 mL)
- Sperm concentration: mill.mL (normal 20-250 mill/mL)
- Sperm count: mill/mL (normal >60 mill/mL)
- Sperm motility: motile % (normal >50%)
- Sperm morphology: % (normal >30%)
Although according to WHO, 30% of normal-looking sperm is considered fine for conception, Dr. Kruger, the founder of the 'Kruger morphology method' begs to differ. He recommends the sperm shape (morphology) should be looked at more carefully as there are more abnormal-looking sperm than previously thought. Based on his recommendations, normal sperm morphology (shape) should be 14% and not 30%. The Kruger morphology test is widely used today to determine the exact percentage of abnormally looking sperm.
A sperm looks abnormal if it has:
- Two heads
- Very large oval head
- Crooked head
- Bent body
- Tapered head
- Two of more tails or bodies
- Curled tail
- Tail with kinks
- Short tail
- Round head
- Pin sized head
So What Should a Normal Sperm Look Like?
In 1992 WHO defined a normal sperm shape as follows:
"A normal spermatozoon has an oval head shape with regular outline and a well-defined acrosomal region covering 40-70 % of head; vacuoles occupy less than 20% of the head area. The head: length : 4-5,5 µm, width : 2,5-3,5 µm and lenght/width ratio : 1,5-1,75; no cytoplasmic droplets more than 1/3 of the size of a normal sperm head".- WHO, 1992.
What can cause sperm to become abnormal?
- Ingestion of social poisons: caffeine (coffee), alcohol, smoking, marijuana, other recreational drugs
- Ingestion of pharmaceutical drugs
- Poor diet
- Poor nutritional status
- Radiation exposure
- Toxicity (heavy metals, pesticides, food additives etc...)
- Oxidative damage to the sperm as a result of any and all of the above
How to Increase Male Fertility? My Pregnancy Rule of Thumb
'If it would be bad for an infant - don't have it yourself at least 90 days before conception'. And this applies to both men and women!
Some natural ways to increase male fertility include specific nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine, lifestyle and dietary changes. If you would like to find out about 71 all-natural ways you can rapidly improve the quantity & quality of your sperm following a poor male fertility test result click here for information on our sperm health program.
It's also important to remember that one male fertility test is not enough. If your sperm analysis comes back abnormal you need to have another test before any conclusion can be made and any male infertility treatments can be undertaken. Ideally, you should get your sperm tested at a fertility clinic but you may look into SpermCheck fertility test for men if going to the fertility clinic multiple times is proving to be financially straining.
Consider Male Fertility Testing
The Male fertility test is easy to perform, painless and absolutely worth doing if lovemaking is not turning out to be fruitful. Abnormal results can be your fuel and motivation for change for the better. The good news is most of my client's sperm counts after following my program are not only in the normal ranges but above average. There is a natural solution and that's the best part about abnormal sperm!
What are your thoughts? Did your sperm analysis come back as abnormal? What steps are you taking to correct this? Do you have any tips on how to improve male fertility? Would love to hear from you!
Merzenich, H., Zeeb, H., & Blettner, M. (2010). Decreasing sperm quality: a global problem?. BMC public health, 10(1), 24. Retrieved from: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-10-24
Vieira, M. (2013). New World Health Organization reference values for semen analysis: where do we stand?. Einstein (Sao Paulo), 11(2), 263-264. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872906/