Semen Analysis with Total Motile Sperm Count

The Semen Analysis is a male fertility test used to assess the quality of semen.

Sometimes this seminal analysis includes the motile sperm count, a parameter that more accurately determines whether the semen is good or bad.

Depending on the EMR results obtained, the specialist will be able to more safely recommend the appropriate assisted reproduction treatment for the couple: Artificial Insemination (AI) or In vitro fertilization (IVF).

What is Total Motile Sperm Count?

The Motile Sperm Count is a complementary test to the basic Semen Analysis that allows obtaining a more accurate assessment of seminal quality since it provides the number of progressively motile sperm that exist in the semen sample. These are the sperm with fertilizing capacity.

First, before performing the Motile Sperm Count, a normal semen analysis is done to assess the fresh semen sample. Next, this ejaculate must go through a sperm capacitation process that separates the sample into two fractions:

  • Sperm concentrate: Here you will find good quality sperm that will be analyzed to obtain the Motile Sperm Count.
  • Seminal plasma: Here the immobile sperm and non-sperm cells that may be in the ejaculate (epithelial cells, leukocytes, etc.) will Motile Sperm Count. This fraction will be discarded.

Sometimes, the Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis is also called a sperm capacitation test, since the ejaculated semen sample must go through all this processing that we will discuss in more detail below.

Sperm Capacitation

Sperm capacitation is a process that occurs naturally in the female reproductive tract after unprotected sex.

The sperm, as they advance through the cervix and fallopian tubes until they reach the ovum, undergo a series of physical and chemical modifications that will give them the ability to fertilize. For example, one of the changes in the hyperactivation of the sperm, which allows them to move faster and more vigorously.

During training, seminal plasma is released and sperm that have difficulty moving forward will also be left behind.

In an assisted reproduction laboratory, both to do a Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis and any other fertility treatment, it is necessary to train the semen by imitating what happened naturally.

In this way, it is possible to check the qualities of the semen after having been trained and whether the sperm obtained will be able to fertilize the eggs easily.

Types of Sperm Capacitation

The two most common seminal training techniques in andrology laboratories are as follows:

Swim-up: The semen sample is centrifuged in a tube, leaving the sperm and other non-sperm cells at the bottom. The seminal plasma is eliminated, a culture medium is added and the sample is left in the incubator for a while. During this time, more mobile sperm will “swim” to the surface, while cells and immobile sperm will be trapped at the bottom of the tube. The culture medium with the good spermatozoa is recovered and the Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis is performed.

Density gradients: Two media of different density are placed in one tube and the semen sample is placed on top over the two gradient layers. After centrifugation, the densest sperm (with greater vitality and mobility) will have been able to cross the gradients and settle to the bottom. Therefore, on this occasion, the sample that Motile Sperm Count in the lower part of the tube is collected to take the Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis.

In both training techniques, the ultimate goal is to Motile Sperm Countove plasma, bad sperm, and non-sperm cells, while concentrating the sample with highly vital and mobile sperm.

Sperm Motility Test Results

Once the trained semen sample has been obtained, the motile sperm are counted in a Makler counting chamber which is a simple-to-use device for rapid and accurate sperm count, motility and morphology evaluation.

It is said that well-trained semen is one in which a high percentage, close to 100%, of progressively motile sperm is obtained. Obviously, this will also depend on the values ​​obtained in the previous Semen Analysis.

The total number of motile sperm obtained is very valuable information in deciding which assisted reproductive technique is adequate to achieve a pregnancy.

  • Artificial insemination
    it is recommended to carry out this treatment when the Motile Sperm Count is greater than 3 million. For the AI ​​technique to be successful, it is necessary for the seminal sample to have a high concentration of Progressive motility sperm.
  • In vitro fertilization
    It is decided to do IVF when the Motile Sperm Count obtained is less than 3 million. In addition, in the case of the severe male factor with a Motile Sperm Count of less than 1 million, the ICSI technique will be recommended to impregnate. In short, the interpretation of the Motile Sperm Count test allows us to intuit the fertility treatment that will offer greater guarantees of success from the point of view of the malefactor. However, to finally determine the technique to apply, it is necessary to also take into account the results of the woman’s fertility tests.

Semen Analysis results table

WHO reference range
Total sperm count in the ejaculate 39–928 million
Ejaculate volume 1.5–7.6 mL
Sperm concentration 15–259 million per mL
Total motility (progressive and non-progressive) 40–81%
Progressive motility 32–75%
Sperm morphology 4–48%

Questions from users

Can Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis values ​​improve over time?

The Motile Sperm Count is a test associated with the Semen Analysis to assess its quality, reporting the amount of sperm with progressive motility in a sample of trained semen. Sometimes this study makes it possible to define the appropriate assisted reproduction treatment.

The production of sperm which live varies with time, so it would be advisable to perform at the least two functional testings within a reasonable time to establish a proper diagnosis.

Is Semen Analysis the same as Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis?

No. The motile sperm count or Motile Sperm Count is a complementary test to the Semen Analysis that is carried out to confirm the parameters evaluated in it. Therefore, Motile Sperm Count provides more clinical information.
Read more

What are the best Motile Sperm Count values ​​for an Artificial Insemination (AI)?

The concept of Motile Sperm Count (Mobile Sperm Count) tells us the number of spermatozoa with good mobility in each millilitre of ejaculate after the preparation of the semen in the laboratory. This count allows us to choose the most appropriate assisted reproduction technique.

It is considered that to carry out Artificial Insemination (AI) it is necessary for the Motile Sperm Count to be greater than 3 million sperm. Although this is the cut-off point most accepted by scientific societies, the lack of solid studies in this regard makes some clinics prefer to apply stricter criteria, placing the Motile Sperm Count limit for performing an AI at 5 million. Even so, being more or less rigid when evaluating an EMR to indicate AI or IVF will also depend on factors that contribute to the sterility of the couple in question (age of the woman, concomitant pathology, etc.).

Beyond Motile Sperm Count, we must bear in mind that in cases of very altered sperm morphologies (% of normal forms less than 1%), we will speak of severe teratozoospermia and AI is not indicated. Motile Sperm Count does not take into account sperm morphology.

What are the normal values ​​of the Motile Sperm Count test?

There are no established normal values, simply if the motile sperm count is high, it will be easier to achieve a natural pregnancy.

If the male has male infertility and has a medium-low Motile Sperm Count, it may be possible to achieve pregnancy with artificial insemination. On the other hand, if the Motile Sperm Count is low, the appropriate technique will be IVF. Finally, in the event of a very low or no Motile Sperm Count, it will be necessary to apply ICSI to achieve fertilization, since the sperm do not have enough mobility to reach the egg by themselves.

What is the price of the Motile Sperm Count Semen Analysis?

The price of the normal Semen Analysis is between 70 and 100 euros approximately. If the Semen Analysis includes the mobile sperm count test or Motile Sperm Count, the price can go up to 150 euros.

Leave a Comment