Asthenic means Weak. Asthenozoospermia is a condition where the sperms have reduced motility (movement) compared to healthy ones.  Some men have 100% immotile sperms and that happens to 1 in 5000 men.

It is this inability of the sperm to move efficiently inside a woman’s body  which is vital to reach the egg and cause progency.  Yes, your guess is correct, asthenozoospermia causes Infertility in men. The motile and healthy sperm needs to move through the woman’s reproductive tract to fertilise the egg for it to result in a pregnancy.

Men are diagnosed with low sperm motility when less than 40 per cent of the sperms can move efficiently. For the sperm to get through the cervical mucus to fertilize a woman’s egg it needs to have a progressive motility of at least 25 micrometres per second, anything less than that results in low sperm motility.

There are different types of sperm motility issues, which include; slow or sluggish progressive motility, non-progressive motility (less than 5 micrometres) and no motility.  Progressive motility is where the sperms move linearly. Non progressive motility may be either when the sperms move sluggishly or go around and around in the same place.

Causes of Asthenozoospermia

The reasons for poor sperm motility is not well understood, but research claims it can be affected by:

  1. Presence of antisperm antibodies
  2. Excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs (tobacco, marijuana)
  3. Age (motility decreases from 45 years of age)
  4. Exposure to toxic products (fertilisers, chemicals)
  5. Infections in semen
  6. Problems in testicles
  7. Abnormal sperm morphology
  8. Varicocele
  9. Poor diet
  10. Vasectomy
  11. Fever
  12. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  13. Habits which increase the temperature in the testicles

Infections, Varicoceles, Obstruction could all be a reason for a reduction in motility. The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines require motility to be in the range of about 40%. Sperm motility has a definite role to play in improving pregnancy rates.

Diagnosing Asthenozoospermia Condition

Couples who have been trying to conceive from 12 months and have not yet succeeded, may or may not be infertile. Low sperm motility is one of the important causes of infertility other than low or no sperm count.

Asthenozoospermia is usually diagnosed by means of a seminogram or semen analysis. It is a basic tool which provides information to analyse a man’s fertility, which personalises the treatment for the couple concerned. A seminogram analysis numerous factors such as concentration, motility and morphology of the sperm present in the semen.

If the percentage of progressively motile sperm is less than 32 per cent, the patient is diagnosed with poor sperm motility. 

Treatment options for Asthenozoospermia

Poor sperm motility can be helped through a change in lifestyle, which includes exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy BMI of less than 25, limiting cell phone exposure, reducing alcohol and quitting smoking.

One study has found out that 52 per cent of men who took a daily supplement of selenium along with vitamin E for 100 days in a row had an increase in their sperm motility. While taking supplements you should be careful of where you buy them and your intake. Natural foods that contain vitamin E include almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, peanuts, and white tuna.

As long as you eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and a moderate amount of unsaturated fats from vegetable oils, fish, nuts and seeds you should be able to get a healthy amount of vitamin E each day, without the need of supplements.


Various treatments are also available to treat male infertility, some of them include – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), this method is performed by injecting a single sperm into a mature oocyte to achieve fertilisation. It is one of the most commonly used Assisted Reproductive Technique (ART) to solve most masculine infertility problems.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), is known as artificial insemination. The procedure involves sperm being collected and washed. The fastest-moving sperms are then inserted into the womb using a fine plastic tube

In vitro fertilisation (IVF),  in this method, the woman is given medication to encourage the production of eggs, which are removed from the ovaries and fertilised with the sperm in the laboratory. The resulting embryo is then returned to the womb to develop

Anyone who has been trying to unsuccessfully to conceive for more than 12 months is advised to check with the best sexologists or fertility clinics near them for any fertility issues that may be present.

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