Sperm Quality & Does Sperm Quality Affect IVF Success?

January 27, 2023
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When a couple undergoes fertility issues, they will consult a fertility specialist and decide on a fertility treatment. The common or popular fertility treatment is IVF/ ICSI. Here both the sperm and the egg are extracted, fertilised and incubated in a lab and transferred into the uterus after successful embryo formation. For a successful IVF, both sperm quality and egg quality are important.

Sperm Quality for Pregnancy

Good sperm health is very important for a successful pregnancy. Sperm quality is determined by sperm count, sperm motility and the morphology of the sperm. A minimum of 39 million sperm is required per ejaculation to be considered good sperm health.

So, how can one know if his sperm quality is up to the mark or not? Do all men with low sperm quality face difficulty in impregnating their partner? Do all men with good sperm quality impregnate their partners easily?

This is a very subjective issue. Many men with low sperm quality or low sperm count are successful in impregnating their partner, both naturally and with fertility treatments. Similarly, men with very good sperm health face issues in impregnating their partners.

When it comes to pregnancy, various factors influence a successful pregnancy and sometimes despite everything being in the “healthy” range, pregnancy through natural means can still be challenging.

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Does Sperm Quality Affect IVF Success?

Though the sperm is extracted and injected directly into the egg in the lab, instead of the sperm swimming up the tubes and penetrating the egg, sperm quality is still very important.

An IVF can be helpful if the sperm count or the motility is low because only the healthy sperm will be directly injected with the egg. Since the sperm need not travel up the tubes, low motility can be compensated for through this treatment.

But if DNA quality of sperm or genetic of sperm is abnormal , achieving pregnancy can take longer even with IVF/ICSI

Does IVF Work With Abnormal Sperm?

Yes, successful pregnancies are still possible with abnormal sperm. However, if the abnormally shaped sperm are large in number, it can indicate other issues with the sperm such as low sperm count or motility. This does not mean pregnancy is not possible, but certain studies show, it can decrease the chances of natural conception.

One may never find out about his abnormal sperm shape or low sperm quality unless he has a fertility issue that leads him to test his semen and sperm. When a couple opts for IVF, low sperm quality or abnormalities in the sperm will be identified, as semen analysis is a part of any fertility treatment.

Does Poor Sperm Affect Embryo Quality?

One of the biggest concerns related to low sperm quality or health is its impact on the baby. If a couple conceives despite low-quality sperm, will it negatively impact the embryo or have any effect on the baby?

Some genetic causes of semen abnormalities are genetically transferred to the male offspring . So , in sperm count is very less i.e., < 5million/ ml genetic analysis of male is done before starting fertility treatment

Does Sperm Abnormality Matter?

So, if low sperm quality or abnormally shaped sperm can still successfully fertilize an egg, how does the quality or shape matter?

Having a large number of abnormally shaped sperm can reduce the chances of the sperm successfully penetrating and fertilizing an egg. Apart from this possibility, the shape of the sperm has no impact on anything else.

On the other hand, if the sperm count is very low or non-existent, it will have a direct impact on a couple’s attempts to get pregnant. It may take them multiple tries to conceive naturally or they may have to resort to some fertility treatment or procedure to conceive.

How Can I Improve My Sperm Quality for IVF?

If you are diagnosed with poor sperm quality, chances are that you want to fix it. Most men can’t let it slide and just take a chance with pregnancy attempts. Many men will want to do something about their sperm quality and successfully impregnate their partner. If you are one of those men, here are a few tips to help you achieve the best quality sperm for pregnancy:

  • Change Lifestyle – If you smoke or consume alcohol regularly, it is advisable to reduce the usage if not completely avoid it. Recreational drugs, alcohol and tobacco can affect sperm quality during pregnancy.
  • Get Active – Becoming more active by including exercises or more movement in your daily life can help improve overall health and thus the quality of your sperm for the IVF treatment.
  • Improve Intake – Though a direct link between better foods or multivitamins and sperm quality is not established. Eating a more balanced diet rich in vitamins and consuming multivitamins if prescribed by your doctor, can again improve your overall health and lead to good-quality sperm.
  • Limit Exposure – If you have frequent exposure to radiation, chemicals or toxins, you need to limit it if you want to improve your sperm quality for pregnancy.
  • Change Clothing – Wearing tight underwear can increase the temperature of the scrotum and lead to poor sperm quality. Change your underwear option to something
  • Lose Weight – Being overweight has been linked to low sperm quality. Start exercising, eating healthy and reducing excess weight to increase your chances of pregnancy.

Must Read : Obesity affects sperm quality and quantity


Sperm quality is important for a successful IVF. Though there is not sufficient data on this, it is always safer to improve sperm health, for better sperm count, motility and chances of pregnancy.