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Birla Fertility & IVF

What is Asthenozoospermia

  • Published on July 29, 2022
What is Asthenozoospermia

With sedentary lifestyle on the rise, health issues are becoming quite common among people. And asthenozoospermia is one of them.

So, are you aware of what asthenozoospermia is? If not, don’t sweat it and keep reading to know the meaning of asthenozoospermia, its several causes, and treatment plans.

What Is Asthenozoospermia?

Asthenozoospemia refers to poor sperm motility. In simpler words, asthenozoospermia is the reduced ability of the sperm to move quickly in a linear way.

As a result, the possibility of a sperm fertilising an egg in the female reproductive passage dwindles. This, in turn, impedes conception and causes infertility.

There are no apparent symptoms of asthenozoospermia per se. However, you can experience the symptoms commonly found in many people that are actually symptoms of asthenozoospermia.

For instance, varicocele is a causal factor that can result in pain and swelling. But it is also a symptom of asthenozoospermia. Another symptom of this condition is the inability to achieve pregnancy in a year.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should undergo a seminogram or repeated semen analysis at a fertility clinic to confirm your diagnosis. The seminogram evaluates your semen sample for your sperm’s quality, quantity, motility, and morphology (structure of sperm) to check for abnormalities.

As stated in the criteria set by World Health Organisation (WHO), you suffer from asthenozoospermia when your ejaculates have total sperm motility of less than 40 per cent or progressive sperm motility of less than 32 per cent, i.e., sperm move in a straight line at a speed of 25 micrometres per second.

And if the deviation in your test report matches the criteria set by WHO, then the report confirms your diagnosis of asthenozoospermia.

 Causes of Asthenozoospermia

To be able to treat asthenozoospermia, it is crucial to discuss and figure out the root cause of this condition with your doctor.

You can be suffering from one of the following asthenozoospermia causes:

Genetic Defect

Anomalies in your sex chromosomes and DNA defect in your sperm cells can reduce your sperm motility to a large extent. This leads to asthenozoospermia and infertility.

Environmental effect

A study shows that exposure to toxic industrial chemicals and metals such as lead, fertilisers, benzenes, organic solvents, etc., decreases sperm quality and quantity.

Immunological Condition

Antisperm antibodies surround the tail of your sperm and impede it from effectively fertilising an egg in the female reproductive passage. This immunological condition can act as an asthenozoospermia cause.

Medical Diseases

Serious health conditions like diabetes, cancer, etc., can lead to erectile dysfunction, which lessens your sperm motility. Also, experiencing painful inflammation in your prostate gland, sperm duct, and other reproductive organs can affect sperm production drastically.

Besides these, suffering from STDs, cystic fibrosis, and other hormonal imbalances is harmful to your sperm overall and results in asthenozoospermia.

A study reveals that being obese and underweight has been linked to hormonal changes that can affect your fertility.

Testicular Complications

The following testicular issues can result in low sperm motility (asthenozoospermia):

  • Infection or injury in your reproductive organs
  • Varicocele (enlargement and swelling of varicose veins in your scrotum)
  • Atypical sperm composition
  • Unusual semen liquefaction (reduction in space in the sperm ducts that affects the movement of your sperm)

Lifestyle and Exercise Problems

A study reports that a sedentary lifestyle, eating an unhealthy diet, wearing tight undergarments, and regularly placing a laptop on your lap while working can lead to testicular overheating. As a result, your sperm motility shrinks.

Another study opines that doing physically demanding exercises, like extensively cycling, may irritate your testes, cause inflammation and damage your sperm health. Be cautious and seek advice from your doctor in such cases. No doubt is too simple or silly, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Psychological Problems

Chronic stress, depression, and other emotional problems can interfere negatively with your sperm health to a large extent.

This is an important issue, and it is important to seek help in these cases. It might be scary initially but think of the positive impact this will have and take the first step.

Intake of Certain Medicines and Alcohol

Taking medications (anabolic steroids, antibiotics, Macrobid, Tagamet, etc.) to treat certain health conditions can shrink sperm motility (and cause asthenozoospermia).

A study reveals that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol excessively decreases sperm concentration and causes infertility. Be aware and make the right decisions for your health.

Treatment of Asthenozoospermia

Depending upon the root cause of your condition and its severity, you are recommended a personalised asthenozoospermia treatment plan. The goal of asthenozoospermia treatment options is to boost sperm motility and raise the likelihood of a pregnancy. Several methods for treating asthenozoospermia are listed below:

  • ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)ICSI, a specific technique used during IVF to encourage fertilisation, involves the direct insertion of a single sperm into an egg. The ICSI method is frequently advised in such situations when the male partner is impacted by fertility concerns or encounters issues such as a low sperm count, sluggish sperm motility, or abnormal sperm morphology.
  • IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) – In this procedure, an egg and sperm are fertilised outside the body, in a test tube or laboratory dish (thus the phrase “in vitro,” which is Latin for “in glass”). Once created, the embryos are reinserted into the woman’s uterus in the hopes that they will implant and lead to a healthy pregnancy.
  • Lifestyle Changes – When lifestyle problems cause asthenozoospermia, making changes in your lifestyle can be helpful. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and avoiding intake of recreational drugs may increase your sperm motility. A study has shown that consuming zinc sulphate supplements increases your sperm’s overall condition. In case environmental problems cause asthenozoospermia, reducing exposure to lethal chemicals and metals may prove beneficial. Whereas if psychological issues cause asthenozoospermia, counselling and psychotherapy can be instrumental in enhancing fertility. You can opt for these with no hesitation. Remember, addressing the issue is important.
  • Hormonal Imbalance Treatment – If hormonal imbalances and medical conditions lead to asthenozoospermia, taking specific medication recommended by your doctor helps balance out hormone levels. For instance, a study reports that taking L-carnitine is safe and effective for asthenozoospermia treatment.
  • Surgery – With testicular complications, surgery is often helpful. For instance, varicocele can be treated successfully with surgery. Also, in situations where sperm are absent in your ejaculate, they can be retrieved through sperm retrieval methods. If you have questions about any aspect of the procedure, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) – Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is very helpful in solving infertility problems caused by severe asthenozoospermia. The techniques in ART involve extracting sperm through normal ejaculation, surgery or sperm donors. After this, depending on your case, your sperm is either injected into the mature egg in the female reproductive passage with a needle (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) or is used to fertilise the mature egg in a lab (in vitro fertilisation).


Do you think you might suffer from asthenozoospermia?

To confirm your suspicion, reach out to the healthcare practitioners at Birla Fertility and IVF. Birla Fertility and IVF is a leading fertility clinic spread out in different states in India. This clinic comprises a team of experienced fertility specialists, friendly counsellors, and good support staff and has cutting-edge testing facilities. It aims to deliver top-notch healthcare services and has an exceptional success rate.

To get in-depth answers to your queries regarding asthenozoospermia, its causes, diagnosis, and treatment, on a face-to-face basis, visit a close Birla Fertility and IVF centre or book an appointment with Dr Deepika Mishra.


1. Is asthenozoospermia serious?

Yes, asthenozoospermia is a serious medical condition which causes infertility in males.

2. Can asthenozoospermia be treated?

To a great extent, asthenozoospermia treatments can help effectively improve sperm motility. However, ultimately, the prognosis depends upon your root cause, severity level, and its respective treatment.

3. Can we get pregnant with asthenozoospermia?

In case you suffer from a mild-moderate level of asthenozoospermia (60 – 75 per cent poor sperm motility), there are chances that you can naturally become pregnant. However, if you suffer from a severe level of asthenozoospermia (75 – more than 85 per cent poor sperm motility), you can only conceive with the help of Assisted Reproductive Technology.

4. What causes asthenozoospermia?

As stated above, there are many causal factors of asthenozoospermia. Some of them include genetic anomalies in sex chromosomes, chronic health diseases like diabetes, cancer, STDs, etc., testicular complications such as varicocele, infection in reproductive organs, and many more, presence of anti-sperm antibodies, psychological and environmental problems, unhealthy lifestyle and extensive intake of recreational drugs and smoking.

5. What is asthenozoospermia’s normal range?

Multiple researchers have stated that the sperm motility range above 40% is considered normal. Whereas, a sperm motility range of less than 40% can cause conception issues and increase the risk of misscarriage and preterm birth.

Written by:
Dr. Nandini Jain

Dr. Nandini Jain

Dr. Nandini Jain is an infertility specialist with over 8 years of experience. With expertise in male and female factor infertility, she's also a published researcher and actively engages in medical conferences on a range of fertility related subjects.
Rewari, Haryana

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