By Neus Ferrando Gilabert BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 11/06/2014

Oligoasthenozoospermia or oligoasthenospermia comprehends several sperm alterations. It’s a mixture between oligospermia and asthenozoospermia in the seminal sample. These men have a sperm concentration lower than 15 million sperms/milliliter and less than 32% of their sperms are able to move and displace.

How is oligoastenospermia diagnosed?

Diagnosis

Men that suffer from this alteration have a low number of sperms and their sperms manifest bad motility. A sperm analysis needs to be carried out to diagnose this disease. To perform a proper semen analysis men must be from 3 to 5 days without ejaculating so that the sample is representative. Men ejaculate in a jar and specialists check the seminal quality. The main factors are: concentration, motility and morphology. Although, some other values are also checked, such as volume, pH, colour and physical appearance.

In 2012 the World Health Organisation (WHO) established some reference values. Specialists take these values as reference when diagnosing alterations in male fertility. Most of the hospitals and clinics in the world accept these values as minimums and compare them with the patient’s data.

Oligospermia

Oligospermia or oligozoospermia is linked to the quantity of sperms in semen. This parameter is evaluated through the sperm concentration and the total number of sperms when ejaculating. A concentration of 15 million sperms/ml is needed so that men don’t have any fertility problem and the total number of sperms must be 39 million or higher.

Achieving pregnancy with oligoashtenospermia

This alteration is not related to any other recognisable symptoms. These men may suspect that there’s an anomaly when they don’t succeed in having children, but a sperm analysis is needed, sometimes even two, in order to diagnose oligospermia.

Astenozoospermia

Astenozoospermia or asthenospermia is related to the sperms’ low motility. You can also hear about slow moving sperm. For this diagnosis two different factors must be taken into account: sperms that present any kind of motility and sperms that present progressive motility, which means that apart from moving they are able to displace.

The WHO’s reference values are: 40% of the sperms must have motility and 32% of them must have progressive motility. Everything located under these values is considered as bad motility or slow moving sperm.

Men with oligoasthenozoospermia have difficulties when it comes to achieving pregnancy naturally and they must turno to a fertility clinic where they will be given the right treatment. Since they have two sperm alterations, it’s common to carry out in vitro fertilization (IVF) or ICSI so that they can conceive. Less complex assisted reproduction techniques, such as artificial insemination, wouldn’t be effective enough for these patients.

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Authors and contributors

 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information
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