Causes of Infertility: Impaired Shape and Movement of Sperm

One of the causes of infertility is abnormal shape or movement of sperm. Sperm that do not move quickly or in a straight line, or sperm that do not contain a long enough tail, are unable to reach the egg for fertilization. Below is an explanation of how the shape and movement of sperm can be one of the causes of infertility, and possible solutions to the problem.

Abnormal Sperm Movement

After ejaculation, sperm should move forward through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes where it will fertilize an egg. Sperm that move any other way will be unable to find the egg. Sperm movement is directed by the quality and viscosity of the liquid carrying the sperm. High or low fluid viscosity could make the sperm unable to travel in a straight line.

Abnormal Sperm Momentum

Poorer quality sperm or sperm restrained by thick ejaculatory fluid may not be able to travel far. Sperm may be stuck in the uterus or lower part of the fallopian tube and not reach the egg. Furthermore, sperm remaining in these areas may die prior to fertilizing the egg. Problems with the viscosity of the fluid can be corrected by ingesting more liquids or through ingesting medications. However, always speak with your physician prior to taking any non-prescribed medicines intended to affect your fertility.

Abnormal Sperm Shape

The average sperm has a long tail that propels it through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tube to the egg. This long tail enables the sperm to wiggle and turn to reach its destination. Sperm with larger, shorter, curled or tapered tails are less likely to reach the egg. A man cannot control the shape of his sperm during production. It is not uncommon for males to have some misshaped sperm. The difficulty arises when this percentage represents the majority of the available sperm.

Checking Sperm Shape and Motility

If after a year of unprotected intercourse you and your partner are still not pregnant, it is wise to have your sperm tested. The tests performed by your physician will identify if your sperm is abnormally shaped or suffer from poor motility and momentum. However, every male has sperm with oddly shaped tails that cannot travel far. The important thing is for more sperm to be healthy and regularly shaped than others, and so your physician will only become worried if he finds that you have a high amount of misshaped sperm or sperm that is unable to travel as necessary.


Fortunately, numerous fertility treatments enable a couple to get pregnant, even if sperm shape and motility are the problem. By fertilizing the egg outside of the woman’s body, sperm motility is no longer a problem. Additionally, in this process, the physician will only use those sperm that are of good quality and properly shaped, even though shape will no longer really be a problem since the sperm will not need to travel. Additionally, your physician may have suggestions on how to improve the shape and quality of your sperm. Medications, nutritional supplements and vitamins may help your body produce the best sperm it can.