This sperm disorder affects sperm quality, leading to male infertility or sterility, and reducing their chances of conceiving.
The particular causes of teratozoospermia are unknown in the vast majority of cases. However, there exist certain factors that can affect the semen by causing abnormal sperm morphology.
The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.
Most experts agree that sperm morphology alterations occur during the final phase of sperm formation (i.e. spermatogenesis).
Spermatogenesis is the process whereby sperm production takes place. It occurs in the testicles and can take up to 3 months.
Particularly, spermiogenesis, which is the final stage of spermatogenesis, where sperm already contain all their genetic material, is the stage where sperm go through the maturation process, acquiring their characteristic morphology.
When sperms already have an oval-shaped head and the tail fully formed, they are released to the seminiferous tubules so they can continue their pathway.
In short, it is only natural that any kind of defect or abnormality that occurs during spermatogenesis causes sperm abnormalities in the head, neck, and/or tail.
Teratozoospermia can be reversible or irreversible depending on what is causing it.
As regards treatable or reversible teratozoospermia, the good news is that males affected by it can recover their fertility in a few months after having followed the appropriate treatment.
To check if it has been successful, one should repeat the semen analysis and compare it with the previous one.
The following are the most common causes of reversible teratospermia:
As surprising as it may seem, lifestyle affects sperm quality to a large extent.
Especially if one is stressed or anxious, sperm morphology can worsen, aside from other parameters such as sperm count and motility.
Alcohol, tobacco, and street drug use are associated with sperm disorders, too.
Continuous testicular exposure to heat affects spermatogenesis as well. For example, placing the laptop on your lap, wearing too tight clothes, or prolonged car driving can cause teratozoospermia.
Finally, eating habits and sports can influence male fertility as well.
Males who are currently trying to conceive with their partner should have healthy life habits, follow a balanced diet, practice sports on a regular basis, and avoid toxic substance use at all costs.
Seminal tract infections
Seminal tract infections are caused by invasive microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, in the male reproductive tract.
Infectious agents can be present either in urine or sperm, causing sperm abnormalities, inflammations, and blockage in the seminal ducts.
Most common bacterial infections in the testes are chlamydia and gonorrhea. Fortunately, both can be overcome with antibiotics.
Get more info: Sperm Infections and Temporary Infertility.
Fever caused by the flu or any other condition may alter sperm production temporarily as well.
Thus, any alteration in the adequate levels of these hormones due to the administration of medications can impact spermatogenesis negatively.
As explained above, if the spermiogenesis phase is altered, sperms will not mature as expected, causing teratozoospermia.
In cases of teratozoospermia, if no improvement is seen in the second sperm analysis report after being treated, it might be a case of irreversible teratospermia.
If this were the case, the couple may have no alternative but to undergo fertility treatment if they wish to become parents. Unfortunately, achieving a natural pregnancy with untreatable teratospermia is highly unlikely.
Furthermore, there exist certain conditions or circumstances that can cause long-term or untreatable teratospermia. The following are the most remarkable ones:
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can alter sperm stem cells and spermatogenesis at the same time, causing severe teratozoospermia along with other serious disorders.
For this reason, all men suffering from cancer should consider retaining their fertility through sperm freezing. This way, they can have children in the future, after having overcome the disease.
If you are considering freezing your sperm to have a child in the future, we recommend that you start by creating a Fertility Report. 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.
One of the most complicated causes to detect. Normally, when the cause of teratozoospermia cannot be explained, it is attributed to genetic alterations.
Gene or chromosomal abnormalities in sperm are considered a serious defect, mainly because there is no possible way for them to be treated.
Teratozoospermia can be caused by diseases that affect the testes mainly, such as:
- Trauma to the testicles, especially during childhood
- Testicular varicocele
- Diabetes mellitus
Aside from all this, age can affect sperm morphology as well. In particular, several studies have confirmed that, in males aged 45 or over, the rate of abnormal sperm in the semen increases.
FAQs from users
Does poor sperm vitality correlate with abnormal sperm morphology?
Yes, teratozoospermia can affect both live and dead sperm.
Dead sperm do not have an abnormal morphology in all cases. Sometimes, they are confused with immotile sperm, and performing a dye test is necessary to determine whether they are actually viable or not.
Can leukocytospermia cause teratozoospermia and male infertility?
Leukocytospermia or pyospermia is defined as having white blood cells in the semen, with a concentration that is above 1 million per milliliter. The cause of this sperm disorder is an infection in the seminal tract, which should be treated with antibiotics, as it can affect spermatogenesis (sperm production process), and lead to oligospermia or teratozoospermia.
Are teratozoospermia and asthenozoospermia caused by the same factors?
In most of the cases, asthenozoospermia and teratozoospermia have the same causes. Both sperm parameters appear altered in the semen analysis, which is known as asthenoteratozoospermia. Nonetheless, they do not go hand in hand in all cases.
Suggested for you
The most important test to detect teratozoospermia in males is the semen analysis (SA). You may also enjoy some further information reading this: What Is a Semen Analysis Report?
Also, we have made reference to sperm freezing as an option for fertility preservation in males with cancer. If you want to delve deeper into it, we recommend that you have a look at this: What Is the Process of Freezing Sperm?
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