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Causes, Types and Treatment of Teratozoospermia

  • 4.9 (6 Votes)

Teratozoospermia is one of the common reasons of male infertility where a man suffers from poor sperm morphology. Causes of teratospermia include diabetes, genetic defects, side effect of cancer treatment, stress etc. Severity of teratospemria varies from mild to severe. Treatment options include fertility treatments such as IVF ICSI, IUI and bringing positive changes in the lifestyle.

Since ancient times, infertility is considered as a problem related to only women. No matter what, the medical checkup of men was not even considered important to establish the cause of infertility. But with changing times, the role of male fertility has been greatly studied and its importance is reemphasized in defining fertility. This has also caused a change in the mindset of people who can now understand that infertility is not restricted to females only.

Now, it is a general fact that trouble in conceiving can be due to a number of issues concerning sperm parameters of the male partner like poor sperm count, motility or low quality. One of such issues is Teratospermia or Teratozoospermia. This article throws light on various questions associated with the condition concerning its occurrence, types, treatment and what it is about. 

What is Teratospermia or Teratozoospermia?

Teratospermia is defined as an abnormal sperm morphology. It is also called as Teratozoospermia. This disorder causes males to produce abnormally shaped sperm. The sperm produced are defective either at head, mid piece or tail. Teratospermia is considered as one of the causes of male infertility. To check the morphology of sperm, semen analysis or seminogram is done with the use of dye test to see the shape of sperm under a microscope. These tests reveal about the shape and give a definite percentage of the morphological defects found in sperms.

Causes of Teratospermia

Many a time it is difficult to establish a specific reason for teratozoospermia. It is taken for granted that morphological modifications that happen during the end stage of spermatogenesis (process of sperm production) are responsible for teratozoospermia.

  • It is also noticed that treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy also have a role in the sperm production process hence leading to the onset of teratozoospermia. Men are advised to have their semen sample frozen if they wish to become father in future after the disease is treated completely.
  • Then there are certain drugs that can interact with hormones produced in the body like FSH, testosterone and GnRH to cause changes in the sperm production process resulting in incomplete maturation. This is another reason of teratozoospermia in men.

causes of teratospermia

There are quite a few factors that lead to Teratospermia. The causes of abnormal shape of sperms are different for person to person and sometimes it is quite difficult to assess the reason behind this disease. Some of the most common reasons identified till date that can contribute to the occurrence of teratozoospermia are:

  • Genetic
  • Cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Testicular disorders
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Obesity
  • Stress or any infections
  • Tobacco, drugs or alcohol etc.
  • High fever
  • Traumas or other testicular problems
  • Varicocele
  • Meningitis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Semen infections
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Some of the reasons of Teratospermia can be cured like if you keep a check on your diet plan, leave unhealthy habits, reduce stress level etc. With such corrective measures, sperm quality can improve, leading to the better chances of curing infertility.

Types Of Teratospermia

Before discussing the treatment of teratozoospermia, let us learn about the defects in sperm cells that can be found at any part of its body like head, mid piece or tail. It can also occur with all or in combination of any two type of abnormality. The normal sperm has an oval shaped head and a long tail whereas abnormal sperm has head or tail defects such as mis-shape head or double tail etc.

types of teratospermia

Sperm morphology determines the type of Teratospermia and its grade of severity like: Normal sperm Morphology > 14%

  • Mild teratospermia- here the normal sperm morphology value ranges between 10 – 14%
  • Moderate Teratospermia- here the normal sperm morphology value is between 5-9%
  • Severe Teratospermia- here the normal sperm morphology value is less than 5% 

These types show the percentage of normal or abnormal sperm cells in a semen sample, but in order to know the defects in sperm, Teratospermia index is used. In this way, we can identify the number of defects in each sperm.

The formula used in index is – TZI =(C+P+Q)/X, where 

  • C=head defects
  • P=midpiece defects
  • Q=tail defects
  • X=total no. of abnormal sperm

Interpretation of TZI

  • TZI =close to 1 means one part defective
  • TZI =close to 2 means two part defective
  • TZI =close to 3 means three part defective
  • TZI indicates which type of defect is the most frequent one.

Interpretation of TZI

Treatment of Teratozoospermia

Since the type of defect is identified, the next step is to move on to the treatment. The treatment of Teratospermia is possible. With proper treatment a man can achieve normal pregnancy, keeping in mind that other sperm parameters are normal. Sperm count and motility are the key points to be kept in mind in this case.

1. First treatment is Lifestyle changes –  A man with Teratospermia needs to give up his unhealthy habits such as cigarette smoking, alcoholic drinks or drugs if taking.

  • One should opt for a healthy lifestyle which involves regular exercise, eating balanced diet etc. One should take food which is rich in antioxidants & amino acids to boost the sperm quality.
  • Omega -3 fatty acid rich food, vitamins are required for healthy sperm. One can also take vitamin supplements too. This is a natural treatment for teratozoospermia.

2. Fertility treatment is also possible in order to achieve a pregnancy with poor sperm morphology. 

  • Advanced medical reproductive technology makes it possible for a man with teratospermia to have a baby.
  • In case of mild teratospermia, IUI, which is Intrauterine insemination can be used as a treatment option, however, it is important to know that sperm count and motility should be normal as well as the female partner should also be medically fit.
  • In case of moderate & severe teratospermia- IVF/ICSI can be chosen as a treatment option. IVF or In-vitro fertilization is a type of assisted reproductive technology where eggs and sperms are fertilized in laboratory and once fertilized, the resultant embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus. Whereas, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is the process by which a selected sperm cell is inserted directly into an ovum. This eliminates the difficulty involved in sperm reaching and penetrating the egg.

It has to be noted that teratozoospermia condition is a reversible one. The likeliness of getting treated is more if the causing factors are temporary in nature, which include high fever or a stressful event. If the morphological changes visible in sperm continue to reflect in the second analysis report, which is usually taken after few months, there is a good possibility that there are other associated diseases as a contributing factor. In a scenario where it appears to be occurring due to genetic reasons, teratozoospermia can turn out to be a very serious situation.

With the comprehensive knowledge on teratospermia, this article covers all the relevant aspects of the disease. Apart from knowing the causes and ways of prevention, the treatment methods for Teratospermia can help you find your way. You can contact ElaWoman for their guidance regarding the detailed process of getting the treatment to achieve pregnancy without any hassles. Proper medical as well as mental assistance is provided to both the partners in order to achieve a healthy pregnancy.

Dr. Sunil Eshwar

About The Author

Infertility Specialist, IVF Specialist Dr. Sunil Eshwar

Dr. Sunil Eshwar is an Infertility specialist who is presently specializing in laparoscopic surgery, high-risk pregnancies and infertility treatments such as IVF and IUI. Dr. Sunil Eshwar completed his MBBS from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute in 2000 and MD from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in 2004. Later, he completed DNB from National Board of Examination in 2006. Dr. Sunil Eshwar is currently practicing at Apollo Fertility, Brookfield, Bangalore. For more information about Dr. Sunil Eshwar, visit


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Surbhi Panwar

My husband had teratozoospermia and we have to undergo IVF ICSI procedure to conceive a baby.

Oct. 12, 2018, 3:42 p.m. 5.0


Jignesh Patel

I underwent sperm analysis test and found my sperm morphology is very poor. Is this the reason my wife is unable to conceive?

Oct. 10, 2018, 1:02 p.m. 5.0


Shakeel Arora

I think bringing changes in lifestyle is not gonna improve sperm morphology because it is somehow genetically linked. One need fertility treatment to have a baby with teratozoospermia.

Oct. 1, 2018, 2:45 a.m. 5.0


Aniket Sharama

I hope my sperm morphology is fine.

Sept. 28, 2018, 11:34 p.m. 5.0


Kaniska Kakkar

Oh my god! I did not know even males can have such issues. I will try to improve my sperm quality because it is a matter of dignity.

Sept. 28, 2018, 9 a.m. 5.0


Vajresh Surabhi

Sept. 24, 2018, 11:57 a.m. 4.5

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