iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeHealth articlesfertilityWhat Is the Role of Semen in Fertility?

Role of Semen in Fertility

Verified dataVerified data

4 min read


The male reproductive cell, the sperm, also plays an important role in creating an embryo. Read the article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Dheeksha. R

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sameer Kumar

Published At May 8, 2024
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024


Most of the infertility issue is discussed as a women’s issue, whereas even men can be the causative factor. There is a common speculation that when a family is unable to conceive, then the problem lies in the female reproductive system. Usually, the infertility problem is divided into three types: female issues, male issues, or a combination of two. In one-third of infertility cases, the problem is with the male reproductive system, mainly the sperm. There are many treatment methods to manage male infertility.

What Is Meant by Sperm?

The male reproductive cells are called sperm. These sperm usually contain 26 chromosomes. When there is any abnormality, the number of chromosomes may vary. When the sperm comes in contact with the ovum, they fertilize to form an embryo having 36 chromosomes. Sperm is usually made up of the head, which contains protein coating, proteins, enzymes, and a genetic substance, and a flagellum, which is the tail part that helps the sperm to swim and reach the ovum to result in an embryo. The fluid which contains the sperm is called the alkaline semen. This semen helps the sperm with the acidic environment present in the female reproductive tract and also helps the sperm to meet the egg.

What Are the Factors Which Determine Sperm Health?

Sperm health depends on:

  • Quantity: Usually, a single ejaculation will contain a minimum of 15 million sperm per milliliter. Less than this number can make it difficult for the couple to get pregnant as only a small number of sperm will be present to fertilize the egg.

  • Movement: To fertilize an egg, the sperm has to swim along the female reproductive system, the cervix, the uterus, and the fallopian tube. This is known as motility. This factor is also necessary for fertility.

  • Structure: Usually, the structure of the sperm has an oval head and a long tail. This head contains proteins and enzymes that help fertilize the egg, whereas the tail helps swim the sperm to the egg.

What Is the Cause of Male Infertility?

Some causes of male infertility are:

  • Any issues in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are the parts of the brain that produce testosterone-producing sperm.

  • Any form of testicular condition.

  • Disorder related to sperm transport.

What Are the Factors That Affect the Count of the Sperm?

Semen analysis is the test to determine the sperm count and the quality. In this test, freshly ejaculated sperm is examined under the microscope in the laboratory. Some common factors which can impact the sperm count negatively are:

  • Usage of anabolic steroids.

  • Overweight or obese.

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like gonorrhea blocks the sperm from ejaculation.

  • Smoking.

  • Prescription drugs.

  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy used in the case of cancer treatment can also reduce sperm count.

What Is Meant by Quality Sperm?

The sperm quality is as important as the count. During the semen analysis, the motility of the sperm and the morphology that is required for the sperm to fertilize the egg is evaluated. Along with these, some other factors are also measured, such as:

  • The volume of the semen is evaluated.

  • The presence of WBC (white blood cells) indicates an infection.

  • The pH of the semen is evaluated.

  • Presence of sperm antibodies.

Low quality of sperm is a major concern as it can affect the ability of the couple to get conceived and have a baby. Low sperm count or low quality of a person can affect fertility. Some of the factors which affect the quality of sperm are:

  • Overweight, which affects the sperm motility and increases the number of abnormal sperm.

  • An increase in the number of smoking cigarettes can affect sperm quality.

  • Increased alcohol consumption can affect the quality of the sperm.

  • Even though men produce sperm throughout their lives, the quality of the sperm decreases with age. Older men have an increased risk of having babies with development issues.

  • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can impact the quality of sperm.

  • Heat, chemicals, and recreational drugs can affect the quality of sperm.

How Can Sperm Health Affect Fertility?

Infertility is caused by many causes, and if it is caused due to males, then the focus is on the sperm. Sperm is one of the important parts of determining the couple’s fertility. Many males experience reproductive issues, which makes their sperm ineffectual.

How Sperm Health Can Be Improved?

Many reasons can affect the sperm's health, such as the sperm count and quality. Many lifestyle conditions, such as consumption of alcohol, drugs, being overweight, etc, can affect the quality of the sperm. Even environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals also can affect the quality of sperm. The hormone testosterone produces sperm. However, the use of anabolic steroids, which mimic the action of testosterone, can affect the quality of the sperm if used for a very long time. Despite health risks, some people use it to develop muscles and increase sports performance. Despite everything, there are many ways to protect the sperm from damage and improve its health to produce healthy babies.

Usually, three months is required to produce new sperm, so the couples can plan accordingly before three months to get conceived. This can help the person prevent infertility issues and fertility treatment. This can also enhance the chance of giving birth to a healthy child.

Some lifestyle changes can help to improve sperm health; some are:

  • Intake of a healthy and balanced diet.

  • Proper and regular exercise.

  • Maintaining a proper and healthy weight.

  • Quit smoking and avoid consumption of alcohol.

  • Anabolic steroids should be avoided.

  • Regular hot baths and spas need to be avoided.

  • The mobile phones and the computers or laptops need to be kept away from the lap.

  • Protective gears need to be used while playing sports.


Semen plays an important role in male fertility. If there are any issues with the sperm count and quality, it can result in male infertility. This condition can make it difficult for couples to conceive. Many factors can result in male infertility. However, some lifestyle changes can help to improve the condition of the couple and help them give birth to a healthy child.

Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Sameer Kumar
Dr. Sameer Kumar

Obstetrics and Gynecology


Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Ask your health query to a doctor online


*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy