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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Men's Health Abnormal sperm morphology

Abnormal sperm morphology

Morphology refers to the shape and structure of the sperm. A normal-looking sperm has an oval head and a tail seven to 15 times longer than the head. On a semen analysis, in which we look at sperm under the microscope, we can identify defective sperm by their large heads or strange tails -- kinked, doubled, or coiled.


Sperm morphology is routinely evaluated as part of a standard semen analysis. Morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm. The results of a sperm morphology exam indicate the percentage of sperm that appear normal when semen is viewed under a microscope. Abnormal sperm morphology may be a contributing factor in infertility.

Normal sperm have an oval head with a long tail. Abnormal sperm may have head or tail defects  such as a large or misshapen head or a crooked or double tail. These defects may impair the ability of the sperm to reach and fertilize an egg.

Causes of abnormal morphology include:

  • Testicular abnormalities that are present at birth (congenital)
  • Enlargement of veins within the scrotum (varicocele)
  • High fever
  • Illicit drug use
  • Infections

The best recommendation is to repeat the semen analysis in four to six weeks to determine if the changes in morphology are temporary or permanent. Even with poor morphology, pregnancy may still be possible. Intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization methods are sometimes needed.

Sperm Morphology assessed by videomicrography or simple photography, at least 60 % of sperm should be normal oval shape & size.

Abnormal sperm morphology

Sperm Morphological Abnormalities are

  • Micro cephalic Sperm - Small Sperm
  • Macro cephalic Sperm - Large Sperm
  • Tapered Sperm
  • Amorphous sperm with midpiece and and tail defect
  • Teratospermia is defined as more than 40 % of abnormal sperm cells.


The detection of Asthenospermia & Teratospermia should be followed by through Urological evaluation.