Can Low Sperm Motility Affect ICSI?

Low sperm motility can severely impact a couple’s ability to conceive. Sperm motility refers to the rate and which sperm move “forward” after conception, up through the fallopian tubes where they can fertilize an egg. If sperm motility is low, especially if sperm motility is extremely low, a couple will not be able to conceive. In fact, low sperm motility can even affect a procedure like artificial insemination. Fortunately, there are other fertility procedures, such as ICSI, that a man can undergo that will have a much higher rate of success in terms of being able to conceive.

It is important first to understand what exactly ICSI is. ICSI stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. ICSI is one of the most revolutionary fertility treatments for male factor infertility. ICSI has been around for around 15 years, and is performed by most fertility centers in the United States. ICSI was derived from In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) research that took place in the late 1970s. ICSI is much less invasive than IVF, and much less costly as well.

ICSI is a process by which a single sperm is injected directly into the center of an egg, where it will, hopefully, fertilize the egg. By injecting the sperm directly into the egg, low sperm motility becomes much less of a factor. The sperm no longer have to be able to travel up the vaginal canal. The sperm no longer have to travel up the fallopian tubes. The sperm don’t even need to penetrate the egg; they are already inside. The sperm just needs to fertilize the egg.

ICSI is also able to help address a variety of other male-factor fertility problems, beyond sperm motility. A man with a very low sperm count, for example, can benefit from ICSI. As long as the man is producing some sperm and as long as the fertility specialist can isolate that sperm for use in ICSI, sperm count is not an issue at all. In addition, if a man has abnormal sperm shape, ICSI can still be used to isolate a healthy and normal sperm for use in ICSI.

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