fertility basics

Sperm Motility - Causes, Male Infertility Treatments

  • 4.7   (6 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 13 Dec 2017 - Written by Dr. Chitwan Dubey - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Sperm motility is one of the crucial features which determine sperm health. Low sperm count can be treated with the help of male infertility treatments. The causes of low sperm count are stress, poor diet, medications, smoking, drinking and genetic factors. Men need to deal with the causes with natural and medical treatments.

Sperms are called swimmers due to their characteristic of travelling in the uterus and fallopian tubes. For developing an embryo, a sperm cell needs to be optimal in both - motility and morphology. It is measured as part of a given semen sample and forms a very crucial aspect to checking male fertility. However, not everybody has a healthy motility because of genetic flaws or medical conditions developed as part of unhealthy lifestyle.

What is the Normal Sperm Motility?

For reaching the egg, the sperm must have the ability to swim. Normal sperm motility is quite important to understand as it plays a major role in men's reproductive health. There are least chances of natural conception and pregnancy if sperms are not motile. Normal Sperm Motility refers to a sperm with a characteristic of more than 50% as motility value for a single ejaculation. A motility value between 25% and 50% is considered borderline. But if it is below 25%, then it means that chances of conceiving are too low.

What is Low Sperm Motility?

Low Sperm Motility is a situation where the sperm has a difficult time reaching the egg in order to fertilize it. For such cases, Motility figures are below 25%.

sperm motility

Causes of low sperm motility

There are several factors that are responsible for the low sperm motility:

1- Stress- Due to undue stress, there are chances of fertility issues such as low sperm motility.

2- Poor diet- there can be fertility problems if there is a deficiency of certain vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin b12.

3- Excessive Heat Exposure- There are several ways in which heat can affect the male fertility, be it spending lot of time in sauna or hot tub, or holding a laptop in the lap for long time which can affect the genitals. Even tight undergarments and clothes care also the reason behind it.

4- Medications- There is side effects of some medicines, which also lead to infertility or low sperm motility. Ensure that your doctor is aware of your medications so that he can refer alternatives if required.  

5- Drinking and Smoking- Smoking and drinking are related to many health troubles. So there is no doubt that these two factors are also responsible for affecting the sperm motility.

6- Genetic Factors- There are genetic reasons, which are responsible for either low or non-existent motility. Genes which make sperm move (proteins present in the tail) can be altered, changes in production factory or due to some metabolic diseases, the sperm production and motility is impaired.

What are the treatments for low sperm motility?

There are numerous drugs and medicines available in the market that is effective in improving the sperm motility. Certain combination of vitamins and medications like Clomid might increase both motility and sperm count.  Also there are numerous natural ways to improve Sperm Motility. Below is the list.

1- Include healthy diet with an optimum balance of minerals and vitamins.

2- Maintain Low stress levels.

3- Perform regular exercises including walking for at least a couple of mile.

treatments for low sperm motility

4- Maintaining a healthy weight.

5- Cut down on alcohol consumption and say no to smoking.

6- Avoid too much exposure to heat

7- Avoid exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals by going for organic food and fruits.

How to achieve parenthood with low sperm motility?

Low sperm motility doesn't imply the end of impregnating abilities. There are several alternative treatments to help you conceive even with a low sperm Motility. They are as follows:

1- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): It is a process of artificial insemination and involves placing of sperm in the woman's uterus by reducing the swimming amount required for it to reach the egg. This procedure begins if the sperm has motility of 30 to 35% at least.

2- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This is the most popular treatment available under Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Here, the doctors fertilize the female's eggs with male's sperm. There are high chances of pregnancy due to controlled environment settings.

In Vitro Fertilization

3- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): This treatment occurs during IVF process where the man's sperm injection is used directly into the egg for continuing the fertilization. This process can be started regardless of motility and has a success rate of 70 to 90%.

How many swimmers does it need for embryo development?

The answer to this question is just 'One'. For fertilizing the egg, only one sperm is enough. Nature directs sperms to the right destination but because of journey's difficulty many of them end up in premature death. So, for completing the fertilization process naturally one needs to direct as many as possible sperm cells to the egg so that at least one reached the egg.


Hope now you have an idea about the sperm motility and how it is related to pregnancy. Follow Elawoman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.

Dr. Chitwan Dubey

Written by

Obstetrician, Gynecologist

Dr. Chitwan Dubey is a leading Obstetrician and IUI Expert currently working at SevenHills Hospital in Andheri, East Mumbai. She has been practicing in the same field for over a decade and her areas of expertise are Endometriosis, Ectopic Pregnancies, Fibroids, Total Lap Hysterectomies, and Fertility Enhancing Diagnostic etc. She completed MBBS from Rant's Medical College in 2004 followed by MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Mumbai University in 2006. Dr. Chitwan Dubey is an honoured member of Indian Medical Association (IMA). For contact details of Dr. Chitwan Dubey visit elawoman.com



Tarun Tyagi

Having low sperm count along with abnormal sperm morphology results in infertility. IUI, IVF, and ICSI should be opted by people as their treatment option.

Oct. 12, 2018, 4:56 p.m. 4.5


Mayank Dixit

I never heard of ICSI treatment, it sounds good and a man with low sperm motility should try this.

July 23, 2018, 9:53 p.m. 4.5


Pawan Karn

My wife and my IUI treatment were successful as I had low sperm motility. It was a simple and easy going process.

May 13, 2018, 6:50 p.m. 4.5


Anshul Patel

My doctor told me that I have sperm motility. I was very confused but your article helped a lot. Thanks for sharing!

March 11, 2018, 9:48 p.m. 5.0


Nadin Mangalvedhe

Sperm motility is another important factor after sperm count. My friend had to undergo IUI after her husband was found to have low sperm motility.

Jan. 24, 2018, 5:29 p.m. 4.5


Rohit Diwwan

The man with low sperm motility has infertile sperm and a woman with hostile uterus cannot conceive with low motility sperm.

Jan. 2, 2018, 5:46 p.m. 5.0

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