What Is Oligoasthenozoospermia? – Causes & Treatment

By MD (gynecologist), MD (urologist), MD (gynecologist), BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BSc, MSc (psychologist).
Last Update: 12/23/2021

Oligoasthenozoospermia (OA), also called oligoasthenospermia, is a primary cause of male infertility where two seminal parameters are altered: sperm count and sperm motility.

Thus, oligoasthenozoospermia is the resulting disorder when oligozoospermia and asthenozoospermia are combined, which aggravates infertility in the male affected.

Achieving natural pregnancy with oligoasthenozoospermia is complicated, but the good news is that it is possible. Moreover, when conceiving is not possible, these couples can turn to reproductive technologies like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to become parents.

Definition

Oligoasthenozoospermia or oligoasthenospermia (OA) is a sperm disorder that involves two disorders at the same time:

Oligozoospermia
Low sperm count, below 15 million sperm/ml.
Asthenozoospermia
Abnormal sperm motility, with more than 60% of sperm being immotile, or unable to move in a straight direction.

In short, males with OA have a reduced sperm motility and count, with sperm that are unable to move forward, with a rapid, linear progression.

As a result of this sperm disorder, the chances for sperm to hit the egg for fertilization are considerably reduced, which hinders or prevents natural pregnancy, causing male infertility.

Oligoasthenozoospermia is a condition where the male has less than 15 million sperm per milliliter. Moreover, 60% of spermatozoa are unable to move forward.

Causes

Establishing a unique cause of OA is difficult. As a matter of fact, it typically goes unnoticed by the man who suffers from it until he decides to have a baby.

In any case, the following are some of the most common causes of OA in men:

  • Toxic habits, including tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
  • Exposure to toxic environmental agents
  • Infections of the seminal ducts
  • Not following a balanced diet
  • Cancer treatments (radiotherapy and chemotherapy)
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Testicular trauma
  • Testicular disorders, like varicocele
  • Genetic diseases, including Klinefelter syndrome (KS), or Y chromosome microdeletion

Altered sperm parameters can be caused by a combination of these factors as well.

Lifestyle plays a major role when it comes to determining sperm quality. Any alteration that affects spermatogenesis (sperm production process) can cause OA or any other sperm disorder.

Treatment

Depending on the severity of OA, or if there exist other fertility issues in the man and/or the woman, the best treatment option will be different.

Broadly speaking, there is no cure for oligoasthenozoospermia. However, in the mildest cases, a simple change of lifestyle habits, and the intake of vitamin and antioxidant supplements can boost sperm quality.

Conversely, in the most severe cases, couples have no alternative but to undergo fertility treatment to become parents.

Natural treatment

Natural remedies to cure OA include following a healthy, balanced diet, quitting toxic habits, and adding supplements to your diet such as Androferti.

Androferti and any other male fertility product to boost male fertility, is composed of L-Carnitine, Vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, zinc, folic acid, selenium, and vitamin B12.

Other examples of natural remedies are: brewing damiana herb into tea, or Peruvian maca powder. The efficacy of these methods has not been scientifically proven, though.

Assisted reproduction

In severe cases of OA, or when the couple fails to achieve pregnancy naturally, the only option left for them to start a family is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Basically, there exist two fertility treatments that are adequate for these males:

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Only indicated in cases of mild-to-moderate O, since there are a series of minimum quality standards to meet for IUI to be possible. The motile sperm count (MSC) after sperm capacitation must be 3 million sperm or more. There are some requirements for the woman as well, such as age and tubal patency.
IVF with ICSI
In most cases, it is used as the first choice, especially in men with moderate or severe OA. Out of the sperms selected, they are injected into the egg one by one so that fertilization hopefully occurs.

Thanks to in vitro fertilization, all the obstacles present in the male and female reproductive tracts are overcome, thereby increasing the chances of achieving a pregnancy. In this particular case, by barriers we are referring to the cervix, uterus (womb), and Fallopian tubes.

Furthermore, with ICSI, the specialist can "force" fertilization to the point of even using a sperm that is immotile. The only requirement for this technique to be possible is that its integrity is intact, which is to say, that it is alive.

If you need to undergo IVF to become a mother, we recommend that you generate your Fertility Report now. In 3 simple steps, it will show you a list of clinics that fit your preferences and meet our strict quality criteria. Moreover, you will receive a report via email with useful tips to visit a fertility clinic for the first time.

FAQs from users

What reproductive options are available for oligoasthenozoospermia?

By Dr. Gustavo Daniel Carti MD (gynecologist).

The clinical picture of oligoasthenozoospermia refers to a combination of several factors. Specifically, it refers to a decrease in the quantity, motility and morphological alterations of spermatozoa.

For this reason, the best option for treatment and achieving pregnancy would be in vitro fertilisation with optimal sperm selection, i.e. IVF-ICSI.

Are there any medications that can improve sperm quality?

By Dr. Ricardo García Navas MD (urologist).

Nowadays, in the case of a male with suboptimal semen quality due to idiopathic causes, we recommend correcting habits, trying to improve the diet by being more balanced and limiting animal fat, and getting at least 7 hours of sleep. In addition, physical exercise should be done on a regular basis but it should not be strenuous exercise, as competitive sports have been shown to cause physical stress that decreases semen quality. We add a dietary supplement that includes at least L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q-10 and omega 3-6 fatty acids. This treatment should be maintained for at least 3 months so that at least one cycle of spermatogenesis (62-75 days) is affected by this treatment, and desirably until pregnancy is achieved.
Read more

Is conventional IVF or ICSI with oligoasthenospermia better?

By Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura MD (gynecologist).

Oligoasthenospermia is a combination of several sperm alterations:

  • Low sperm count (oligospermia).
  • Low sperm motility (asthenospermia).

Achieving a natural pregnancy with a diagnosis of oligoasternospermia will be more difficult, as the sperm will not always be able to reach the egg. The recommendation would be IVF treatment to assist fertilization.

The IVF-ICSI technique is usually recommended, as it significantly optimizes fertilization rates compared to classical IVF. However, in the case of oligoasternospermia, the ICSI technique will be used with all the more reason, since it will allow a better selection of motile spermatozoa.

Depending on the seminogram values, biologists may use an additional technique for sperm pre-selection, such as the PICSI or FertileChip techniques.

Can acupuncture help with severe oligoasthenozoospermia?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Some studies have shown that acupuncture can indeed help with infertility in both males and females. Some men can experience an improvement in sperm quality after various acupuncture sessions, along with healthier lifestyle habits. However, in severe cases, it is unlikely that natural remedies help recover fertility in the male and allow him to conceive.

Get more info: What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Fertility?

Can oligoasthenozoospermia be cured with Clomid?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

It depends on what is causing oligoasthenozoospermia (OA). The main ingrediente of Clomid is clomiphene citrate. This formula stimulates the function of the testicles, promoting spermatogenesis in males with hormonal imbalances. For example, Clomid would be the treatment of choice in cases of males with hypogonadism.

Is there a relationship between varicocele and oligoasthenozoospermia?

By Zaira Salvador BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Yes. Varicocele is a cause of low sperm quality, which can lead to sperm disorders such as oligoasthenozoospermia. In this case, sperm quality will increase after undergoing surgery to treat varicocele.

Read more: What is a Varicocele? – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.

Suggested for you

In order for oligoasthenozoospermia to be diagnosed, carrying out a semen analysis is required. More on this article: What Is a Semen Analysis Report? – Purpose, Preparation & Cost.

Once the type of oligoasthenozoospermia is detected (mild, moderate, or severe), the most adequate fertility treatment option will be recommended. Check out this for information: What Are Infertility Treatments? – Definition, Types & Costs.

We make a great effort to provide you with the highest quality information.

🙏 Please share this article if you liked it. 💜💜 You help us continue!

References

Bollendorf A, Check JH, Lurie D. Evaluation of the effect of the absence of sperm with rapid and linear progressive motility on subsequent pregnancy rates following intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization. J Androl 1996; 17550-7.

Evers, J. L. H., De Haas, H. W., Land J. A., et al. (1998). Treatment independent pregnancy rate in patients with severe reproductive disorders. Hum. Reprod. 13, 1206-1209.

Insler V, Lunenfeld B. Infertility: The dimension of the problem. In: Insler V, Lunenfeld B, eds. Infertility: male and female. Second edition, Edinburg: Churchill Livingstone, 1993; 3-7

Kiefer, D., Check, J. H., Katsoff, D. (1997). Evidence that oligoasthenozoospermia may be an etiologic factor for spontaneous abortion after in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer. Vol. 68, No. 3, September 1997. Fert. Stert., Elsevier Science Inc.

Palermo G, Joris H, Devroey P, Van Steirteghem A. Pregnancies after intracytoplasmic sperm injection of single spermatozoon into an oocyte. Lancet 1992; 2: 17-8.

FAQs from users: 'What reproductive options are available for oligoasthenozoospermia?', 'Is it possible to achieve pregnancy with oligoasthenozoospermia?', 'Are there any medications that can improve sperm quality?', 'Is conventional IVF or ICSI with oligoasthenospermia better?', 'Can acupuncture help with severe oligoasthenozoospermia?', 'Can oligoasthenozoospermia be cured with Clomid?' and 'Is there a relationship between varicocele and oligoasthenozoospermia?'.

Read more

Authors and contributors

Dr. Gustavo Daniel  Carti
Dr. Gustavo Daniel Carti
MD
Gynecologist
Dr. Gustavo Daniel Carti has a degree in medicine and specialized in obstetrics and gynecology from the University of Buenos Aires. More information about Dr. Gustavo Daniel Carti
Licence number: 07/0711274
Dr. Ricardo García Navas
Dr. Ricardo García Navas
MD
Urologist
He graduated in Medicine from the Complutense University of Madrid, specializing in Urology via MIR at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital. Dr. Garcia Navas has a long career in the field of urology and, in addition, currently also works as a fertility specialist urologist. More information about Dr. Ricardo García Navas
Member number: 282854749
Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura
Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura
MD
Gynecologist
Graduation in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Alcalá de Henares. Specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital Costa del Sol in Marbella. Dr Rut Gómez de Segura currently works as medical director in the fertility center ProcreaTec in Madrid. More information about Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura
Licence number: 28/2908776
 Zaira Salvador
Zaira Salvador
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Valencia (UPV). Biotechnology Degree from the National University of Ireland en Galway (NUIG) and embryologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction, with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI) More information about Zaira Salvador
License: 3185-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Cristina  Algarra Goosman
Cristina Algarra Goosman
BSc, MSc
Psychologist
Graduated in Psychology by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Clinical Psychology by the European University Center and specific training in Infertility: Legal, Medical and Psychosocial Aspects by University of Valencia (UV) and ADEIT.
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman
Member number: CV16874

Find the latest news on assisted reproduction in our channels.