In about 40 % of cases of involuntary childlessness, the causes lie with the man, and a further 20 % of cases are caused by both the man and the woman. In most cases, male fertility disorders are due to the insufficient production of normally grown, well-motile sperm. If pregnancy has not yet occurred naturally, a spermiogram can provide information about the sperm quality of the man. We carry out the sperm test in our special laboratories and advise you on the possibilities of infertility treatment based on your individual case.
Maturation of sperm begins when the man enters puberty. Stimulated by the sex hormone FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) that is produced in the pituitary gland, millions of sperm cells are formed daily in the seminiferous tubules of the testes. After about ten weeks, the sperm cells travel from the testes to the epididymides, where sperm maturation is completed. If sperm maturation is impaired, the sperm don’t develop the correct form or they are not fully motile. The probability that the sperm cells will reach the woman’s fallopian tubes naturally is therefore severely limited. We check your sperm quality and motility with a targeted sperm analysis in our specialist laboratories. We then recommend an individualised treatment plan based on your particular situation.
During ejaculation, sperm moves through the seminal ducts and the urethra to travel through the woman’s vagina into the uterus. In some cases, sufficiently healthy sperm cells may well be present, but they don’t reach the woman’s body because the seminal ducts are blocked. This happens in approximately four percent of all cases of impaired male fertility. The cause of a blocked seminal duct could be prior sterilisation, undeveloped epididymides or adhesions in the epididymides. If there is still a fertility problem despite a normal sperm analysis, our doctors will also investigate the possibility of a blocked seminal duct.
When you come to our centres with infertility problems, a sperm analysis is often the first step in the diagnosis. A sample of the man’s semen is examined microscopically immediately (within 60 min.) after it is obtained. The purified ejaculate is placed in a special counting chamber and analysed under the microscope. During the examination, we determine the number of sperm cells per millilitre of semen, the shape of the sperm and their motility. The WHO guideline value for normal sperm motility is 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen. Of these sperm cells, at least 15% should be normally formed and at least 25% should have good forward mobility. If the sperm analysis does not indicate these values, it means the man has reduced fertility. In such cases, our centres offer several treatment options, including ICSI and IVF. Our doctors will gladly advise you on these and other topics.
A dysfunction in sperm maturation can be triggered by an illness, but it can also be inherited. The known causes include:
A mumps infection during childhood
Varicose veins in the testicles (varicocele)
Tumours that have been operated on
Genetic causes (chromosomal anomaly)
Stress and environmental pollution
Acute infections can also temporarily reduce sperm motility. In making their diagnosis, our doctors consider all the potential causes of a fertility problem and make their recommendation for the appropriate treatment measures on this basis.