What is sperm disorder, what causes it?
Sperm disorder means that the number and quality of sperm present in the person are insufficient for fertilization. Depending on some genetic and environmental factors, sperm production from the testicles is traumatically affected and loses its ability to fertilize the egg. Traumatic events such as blows, accidents, and wounds to the testis region, especially during adolescence, may cause deterioration at the sperm production center and the structural morphology of the sperm. Besides, being in extremely hot environments, exposure to radiation and chemical substances, harmful habits such as excessive alcohol and cigarette consumption also directly affect sperm production. Apart from this, the damages that are present or acquired in the DNA are among the main reasons that prevent the development of the embryo. People with sperm disorders can have children with many techniques applied within the scope of IVF treatment methods.
One of the first tests requested from men who have infertility problems and apply to a specialist clinic to have children is semen analysis. Semen analysis includes the detailed examination of the sperm cells contained in the semen sample obtained after 2-7 days of sexual abstinence in terms of number, motility, and deformity.
In individuals whose sperm count, motility, and morphology are below the normal values, the higher the rate of decrease in their values, the longer it takes for couples to have children.
What is Sperm Morphology?
The presence of deformity in the sperm is examined with sperm morphology. The most common evaluation methods used in the world for the determination of deformities in sperm are the evaluation method performed according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Kruger criteria.
The sperm cells, that are going to be examined with these methods, are evaluated in detail in terms of different parts of the sperm (head, neck, and tail) after undergoing special preparation processes. As a result of the evaluation, results, where the ratio of sperm cells with normal standards is above a certain number, are considered normal.
Significance of Sperm Morphology (Figure) Disorders
In most clinics, sperm is evaluated only in terms of motility and number. In fact, especially in recent years, sperm deformity is more important to us. The reason is that sperm production is a process that takes about seventy days, and in simple terms, the quality control department does not work in sperm production. In other words, we consider this sample as normal sperm, since four of the 100 sperm have a normal shape.
In this process, if there is a problem in production at certain stages, this is usually reflected in the sperm as deformity. If certain deformities in sperm are seen at a high rate, we understand how the treatment can go with major deformities during infertility treatment without further action.
For example, we know that we will have a fertilization problem in a sample where most of the round-headed sperms, which we call globozoo sperm, appear. For this, we can take extra precautions in our laboratory.
The short tail and some serious abnormalities in the head of the sperm clearly show how we will proceed during treatment or diagnosis. In this respect, morphological evaluation of sperm is extremely important in treatment and examination.
How Sperm Morphology Should Be?
The sperm cell consists of three parts: head, middle part (neck), and tail. The head contains the genetic material, the middle part provides the energy necessary for the sperm to move, and the tail part provides the sperm movement.
Head length of a normal sperm: 4 to 5 µm
Head width: 2.5 – 3.5 µm
The length/width ratio of the head should be 1.50 – 1.75.
The tail is thinner than the middle part and is smooth, uncurved, and approximately 40-50 µm long.
Treatment of Sperm Shape Disorder
One of the most common questions of patients is “Is it possible to correct the sperm morphology?”. It is difficult to say that you can correct deformities in sperm.
In cases where the problem may be hereditary, it does not seem possible to provide an improvement in this direction, but it is seen that deformities due to temporary external factors can be corrected after the elimination of these factors.