Have you been told your sperm morphology is low? What does this mean?
Diagnosis with low sperm count and low sperm morphology (low number of normal sperm) is more common that you’d think. Male fertility issues account for 40-60% of all fertility concerns. However, some couples share with us that testing shows that sperm count is fine, but that there are problems with morphology. These results are often confusing! So, here I’ll share about what low morphology means and what can be done to improve sperm morphology, as well as male fertility and sperm health overall.
What is Sperm Morphology?
Sperm morphology is just one marker of sperm function that is looked at during a semen analysis. Morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm. Normal sperm have a long tail and oval head; abnormal sperm may have a misshapen head or a crooked or double tail.
Although abnormalities can affect the ability of the sperm to reach and fertilize an egg, a man with low sperm morphology may not have a fertility problem. In today’s world, low morphology results are pretty common. Many men with low morphology can father children, although in some cases, it may take longer.
Sperm Analysis- Pros and Cons
While we highly encourage testing for both partners, there are limitations to all fertility tests, including sperm tests. Sperm health is difficult to assess even through a complete semen analysis from your doctor.
Sperm analysis only tests about 400 sperm when there may be millions in a man’s body, according to scientists and fertility specialists with Fertility Solutions, Australia. The results can be misleading. It’s important to note that infections or trauma to the testes can also affect your semen analysis results.
A sperm analysis tests for many factors, all of which influence a man’s fertility:
Low morphology along with low sperm count is a definite red flag for a man’s fertility health. However, men with normal sperm counts and low morphology results may have plenty of healthy sperm, too.
Tools to Promote Male Fertility Health and Normal Sperm Morphology
If you smoke, make a commitment to quit. Smoking cigarettes damages the male reproductive system and is linked to low sperm count and low morphology. Learn more about How To Quit Smoking To Protect Your Fertility.
Eat a Male Fertility Diet. A processed, junk food diet is not good for a man’s fertility or overall health. A Male Fertility Diet includes plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, which help to protect sperm at the cellular level.
The positive connection between antioxidant-rich foods and male fertility is well documented, as in a 2013 study in the journal Fertility and Sterility, a 2000 study out of India shared in Men’s Health Magazine, and clinical trials in the Cochrane database and the International Urology and Nephrology, all shared of in our guide Lycopene Found to Influence Sperm Morphology.
Try a Cleanse. If you’ve been exposed to toxins from foods, medications or your environment, and are concerned it may have affected your fertility, a Male Fertility Cleanse is a good choice. A cleanse can assist the body in eliminating environmental toxins and chemicals from the blood, and support normal reproductive function.
Consider the herb Tribulus (Tribulus Terrestris). Practitioners of TCM and Ayurveda have found Tribulus promotes improvements in sperm count, motility and morphology when combined with diet changes and exercise.
Have regular sex. Sexual abstinence causes sperm to be stored in the testes for longer periods of time, and become more exposed to oxidative stress. Tests show men who ejaculate more frequently have better sperm morphology.
Try Acupuncture. Research shows acupuncture enhances sperm morphology and success rates in couples using technologies like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Julie Johnson is a licensed acupuncturist of Well Woman Acupuncture in Boulder, Colorado, shares of many studies, one in particular that stands out is from the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2005 sharing that “when a group of infertile men received twice weekly acupuncture for 5 weeks, there was a general improvement in the sperm’s structural integrity and a statistically significant increase in the percentage and number of sperm with no structural defects.” A mere 5 weeks of treatment for benefit is very promising.
Get Answers. Get Help.
A man’s fertility is an expression of his overall health. Male fertility is strongly influenced by diet and lifestyle. Don’t wait to address your fertility health if you’re concerned. Get tested. Make improvements to your diet and lifestyle where you know you need to.
Many male fertility concerns can be overcome with natural therapies. For complete information, see our article Increasing Low Sperm Count and Improving Male Fertility. Please reach out to us if you need support along the way. We’re here to help!
- Trost, L. (2015, May). Male Infertility. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/expert-answers/sperm-morphology/faq-20057760
- So Your Sperm Morphology is Low, Should You Be Worried? (2017). Retrieved from: https://fertilitysolutions.com.au/so-your-sperm-morphology-is-low-should-you-be-worried/
- Poor Sperm Morphology. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.jinheeyooacupuncture.com/mens-health-acupuncture-herbal-medicine/poor-sperm-morphology/
- Hagan, J. (n.d.). Acupuncture and Male Factor Infertility: 4 Lifestyle Habits to Dramatically Improve Your Sperm Quality. Retrieved from: https://wellwomanacupunctureboulder.com/acupuncture-male-infertility-how-to-improve-sperm-quality/
- Frequent Sex Improves Sperm Quality. (2009, June). Retrieved from: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20090630/Frequent-sex-improves-sperm-quality.aspx
- Barton-Shuster, D. (2017). Tribulus Terrestris: Fertility Herb for Men and Women. Retrieved from: https://natural-fertility-info.com/tribulus-fertility.html