Male Infertility – Abnormal Sperm Tests


A diagnosis of a poor sperm sample can cause huge distress and confusion to both the man and woman. My patients frequently ask me to explain what their sperm test results mean, why is the sample results so poor and what can they do to increase their sperm count? An abnormal sperm test result is caused by abnormal semen (the fluid containing sperm that is ejaculated during sex). Possible reasons for abnormal semen include:

  • Decreased number of sperm – low sperm count, or no sperm at all.
  • Decreased sperm mobility – making it harder for the sperm to reach the ovum.
  • Abnormal sperm – sperm can sometimes be of abnormal shape, making it harder for them to move and fertilize an egg.

Abnormal Semen are due to a variety of factors such as:

Sperm Production Problems

  • Chromosomal or genetic causes
  • Undescended testes (failure of the testes to descend at birth)
  • Torsion (twisting of the testes in scrotum)
  • Varicocele (varicose veins of the testes)
  • Medicines and chemicals
  • Radiation Damage
  • Surgery or trauma to the testes
  • Unknown Cause

Sexual Problems (erection and ejaculation problems)

  • Retrograde and premature ejaculation
  • Failure of ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infrequent intercourse
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Prostate surgery
  • Damage to nerves
  • Some medicines

Blockage of Sperm Transport

  • Infections
  • Prostate-related problems
  • Absence of vas deferens
  • Vasectomy

Hormonal Problems

  • Pituitary tumors
  • Hypogonadism
  • Congenital lack of LH/FSH (pituitary problem from birth)
  • Anabolic (androgenic) steroid abuse

Sperm Antibodies

  • Vasectomy
  • Injury or infection of the Epididymis
  • Unknown cause


  • Alcohol
  • Toxin exposure
  • Occupation
  • Excessive exercise
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Age

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