Causes of teratozoospermia

Most of the times, the causes behind teratozoospermia are unknown.

It is presumed that the morphological alterations are produced in the last stage of spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis is the process of sperm production. In the last phase of spermiogenesis, sperm with the genetic content already formed go through a maturation process followed by the release of

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy alter sperm production, so these treatments can induce teratozoospermia. Accordingly. men are advised to keep a frozen sperm sample in case they wish to be fathers once they have overcome the disease.

Origins of teratozoospermia

In like manner, pharmaceutical drugs that interact with testosterone, FSH and GnRH levels may affect sperm production, impeding their proper maduration and eventually causing teratozoospermia.

Other possible causes are:

  • Semen infections
  • Traumas or other testicular problems
  • Varicocele
  • Meningitis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High fever
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Lastly, it should be taken into account that teratozoospermia is reversible, specially if it is associated with stressful events and high fevers. If a second analysis (to be performed a few months later), still shows morphological alterations, these are most likely due to associated diseases. Teratozoospermia may be a genetic problem if any of the aforementioned causes is responsible for the alterations. This is the most severe scenario.


  1. avatar

    Hi Doctor, just want to know if alcohol consumption is related teratozoospermia, is it reversible or not?


    • avatar
      Sandra F.Fertility counselor

      Hello David,

      yes, progressive deterioration in sperm quality is associated with alcohol intake. So you can have an idea, the influence of alcohol consumption on semen quality has a dose-effect and also time-effect relationship.

      This means that a man’s sperm volume, sperm vitality, and sperm survival rate negatively correlate with the amount of alcohol he drinks. In a study conducted on 100 alcoholics, teratozoospermia, oligozoospermia, and their combined presence were double or more amongst alcoholics.

      I hope I have been able to help,


  2. avatar


    A sperm analysis test done about 2 years ago showed a count of abt 21.6 mil/ml with 2.3 ml as total volume and normal morphology. Recent test done 2 days ago, showed count as unchanged (21 mil/ml), however morphology result indicated teratozospermia. Is the new test erroneous? Or can teratozospermia develop over time?
    Thank you.

    • avatar
      Sandra F.Fertility counselor

      Hello Mark,

      Yes, sperm pathologies or alterations in the sperm parameters can appear over time for a number of reasons, such as changes in eating habits (eating more or less than usual), smoking, drug consumption, certain medical treatments…

      Should you have any further doubt, do not hesitate to ask.

      • avatar

        Hello Sandra,

        Thank you for the reply.

        The night before the test, I did have about 6-8 units of alcohol. Is it possible that its effects can be immediate? Or in order for alcohol to be the cause, it would need to be over a longer period of time?


        • avatar
          Sandra F.Fertility counselor

          Hello Mark,

          If this happens on only one occasion, it won’t have an impact on your semen parameters. However, if you were to drink such amounts of alcohol every day as a habit, then yes, your semen analysis results would be compromised.


          • avatar

            Hello Sandra,

            I have been on colchicine treatment for the past 16 years. Alcohol consumption in past 6 months increased to about 6-8 units per week. These are the two causes I am suspecting. Probably it is the alcohol as first test 2 years ago didn’t show any issues. I will be consulting a specialist. Thank you again! I appreciate your time given.

            Best Regards

          • avatar

            That’s an intelligent answer to a difficult question xxx

  3. avatar
    haytham el saeid

    I am 26 years old, not married and I did a seminogram (semen test ) for check up. I did the 1st semen test on 4 August 2016 and volume was 3.2 ml, sperm count= 13 million per mm, total sperm count 41 600 000, motility 50 % i-ii, morphology 60 % normal (hypospermia).

    O made another test at 26 August 2016, and volume become 4.5, sperm count 58 million per mm, total sperm count 261 000 000 motility 70%, 20% no progressive 10% immobile, but morphology 1% normal and 99% not normal (teratozoospermia).

    And the 2nd test was made in 2 different laboratories in Barcelona. So, please help me… what should I do or what is meant by this? Is there a problem or what do you advise me to do as I am very worried?

    Is this normal or not? I mean the changes in the tests.

    Thanks a lot

  4. avatar

    Hi madam,
    Thanx in advance for your attention. After a 50 hour gap of last intercourse I performed my sperm test… Sperm volume is 1 ml and sperm concentration is normal but motility is low poor motile are 60 per cent and moderate motile are 40 percent but there is a total absence of good and excellent progression sperm… Also, I have had some hard time for the last 6 months n suffering in stress. I’m a smoker and occasionally drink alcohol… need your kind advise… plz

  5. avatar

    Hello my husband is suffering from insulin dependent diabetes since 2014 (neuropathies included) .we just got his result back and he has 94% head abnormalities 3% normal form.what are the chances that these abnormalities can be reversed?
    P.s:- what are our options now?

  6. avatar

    Hi, I have an severe addiction to masturbation (daily once at night), though married for 9 years. For this reason, I do intercourse with wife only at the time of ovulation (1 or 2 times), however, couldn’t achieve pregnancy. My recent semen test was diagnosed with Astheanozoospermia result. Is it because of strong masturbation addiction or other reason? I am non-alcoholic and non-smoker as well.
    Appreciate a reply.

    • avatar
      Sandra F.Fertility counselor

      Dear Akash,

      Masturbation has no influence on having asthenozoospermia or not. If you want to learn more about the causes of this sperm alteration, visit the following post: Asthenozoospermia.

      Hope this helps,


  7. avatar

    Hello Miss F,

    My SO’s semen analysis has high sperm concentration and total motility of 143 x 10^6. But morphology is only 3% normal. Do you think this may affect chances of natural conception? Is there a compensation for low morphology and low motility by high sperm count?

    The detailed results are as follows:
    Volume: 3ml.
    Semen Concentration: 148 x 10^6
    % progressive motility: 32% ; Non progressive 0%
    Total Motile: 143.86 x 10^6
    Normal Morphology: 3%
    Predominant abnormal: 39% Pyriform heads.
    Comments: Asthenoteratozoospermia

    I am 47 and given my age, we need to make the most of every cycle…

    Thank you!

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