Sperm morphology- sperm shape

Sperm morphology is a part of semen analysis test and evaluates the shape and size of the sperm cells. Semen analysis is a type of laboratory test that is done to evaluate the features and characteristics of semen and sperm cells. Semen analysis test evaluates the listed topics;

  • Semen volume
  • Semen pH
  • Sperm concentration
  • Total sperm count
  • Semen liquefaction time
  • Sperm motility- sperm movement ability
  • Sperm morphology; sperm shape and size
  • Semen appearance
  • Semen WBC count

Sperm morphology and sperm cell parts

  • A sperm cells is the male reproductive cell and formed of 4 parts as head, neck, midpiece and tail.
  • A normal sperm cell is 5-6 micrometers long and 2-3 micrometers wide.
  • Sperm cell head is about 1/10 of the sperm cell, includes lytic enzymes to provide penetration to the female egg. Sperm head carries 23 chromosomes and transmits hereditary characteristics from male.
  • Sperm midpiece includes mitochondria and provides energy for movement and survival of sperm cells in vagina.
  • Sperm tail provides movement ability to sperm cell by swimming whip like or zig-zag.
  • Sperm cells moves 3 mm per hour by swimming in semen fluid to reach the egg.
  • Sperm morphology affects fertility because sperm cell should have a healthy and proper shape to reach and fertilize the egg.
  • Sperm morphlogy is one of the factors in fertility like sperm count, sperm motility and semen liquefaction time.

Normal sperm morphology

sperm shape

Every male may have abnormal shaped sperm cells in their semen sample. There are different evaluation methods of normal sperm morphology. In common 4-14 % of normal shaped sperm cells are accepted as normal sperm morphology for fertilization.