Low sperm count
A low sperm count (oligozoospermia) is when a man has lesser than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Developing a low sperm count condition can make it tougher to conceive naturally, but still, successful pregnancies can occur. Issues with sperm count and quality are pretty common, and around 1 in 3 couples struggle to get pregnant. There are treatments available to help you get conceived.
Low sperm count causes
In multiple cases, there is no apparent cause for a low sperm count, but the following are some causes that can impact sperm quality and count:
- Hormone imbalance (decreased hormone production)
- Genetic problems like Klinefelter syndrome
- Structural issues like tubes that help carry sperm being damaged, blocked, or absent since birth.
- Genital infections like chlamydia, prostatitis, or gonorrhea
- Enlarged veins in the testicles
- History of testicles or hernia surgery
- Overheated testicles
- Alcohol abuse, smoking, and drugs intake
- Specific medications or treatments, including cancer medications (chemotherapy), testosterone replacement therapy, long-term anabolic steroid use, antidepressants, and some antibiotics
- Obesity or being overweight
Low sperm count diagnosis
If you cannot conceive after one year of trying, consult a doctor. It’s good to consult for you and your partner since fertility problems can impact men and women, and more often, it’s a combination of both. Identifying the issue is crucial before considering further steps.
A semen analysis will be one of the essential tests for low sperm count, where they analyze the sample to check the quantity and quality of the sperm. Usually, the results will be available within a week, and if it’s abnormal, there will be a repetition of the same test to ensure the outcome.
Low sperm count treatments
A doctor or a specialist might suggest any of the following:
- They may recommend you to keep trying since many couples conceive within the second year of trying
- In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Donor insemination
- Gonadotrophin medicine
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022