Globally, around 40-50% of infertility is caused by male factors. And, in that, around 2% is due to suboptimal sperm parameters. The same can be due to poor sperm motility, sperm concentration, or abnormal morphology. The causes are diverse and subjective to the patient.
So, a man needs to be aware and educated about their reproductive health, especially if they are trying to conceive a child with their partner. A detailed sperm analysis test can help examine all the complications and downsides that come with the associated causes attached with infertility.
This article will discuss the average sperm count, the minimum requirement for pregnancy, and the associated queries that male patients have concerning sperm analysis.
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What is Considered a Normal and Healthy Sperm Count?
According to reports, a standard or healthy sperm count in a male’s reproductive age ranges between 15 million to over 200 million sperm per/ml of semen. Being mindful of these numbers is crucial, especially if one is trying to conceive a child.
If a patient produced less than 15 million sperm per/ml or under 39 million sperm cells per ejaculation, the same is considered abnormally less. Medically, the condition is termed oligospermia and is a leading cause of male infertility.
The easiest way to determine a patient’s sperm count is by conducting a standard semen analysis test. The same can be done at a hospital or a diagnostic center or even as an at-home test with the collected semen sample of the patient.
Typically, any abnormal sperm count is a sign of abnormality in the reproductive anatomy of the patient. So, getting a semen analysis is not just to rule out the causes behind infertility but also to diagnose any potential disease.
Following is a table to determine what counts as “normal and healthy” sperm count:
|Total sperm count after ejaculation||39–928 million|
|Healthy Sperm concentration||15–259 million per mL|
|Total Sperm motility||40–81 percent|
|Sperm morphology||4-48 percent|
What are the markers Involved in a Semen Analysis test?
If you are engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse but cannot conceive a child even after trying for 12 months, the doctor might prescribe semen analysis to check for the causes of infertility.
Ideally, the test helps to rule out any one of the three complications with sperm health:
- Low sperm count
- Abnormal shape of the sperm
- Defective sperm motility
These are the top three factors that are crucial for testing different male factors causing infertility. Semen analysis is often done in different sessions for better accuracy of the results. Also, if you are conducting at-home tests, they are only suitable for determining the sperm count.
What is the Minimum Required Sperm count for Pregnancy?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the minimum required sperm count for a successful pregnancy is 15 million sperm cells/ml. Anything less than that is abnormal and can gravely affect the chances of a successful conception.
Issues with abnormal sperm health are often connected with age as well. So, if you are over the age of 35 and you and your partner are having a hard time conceiving, it is advised to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment to resolve the issues.
However, reports suggest that low sperm count can make pregnancy problematic; it is not impossible. Some men with poor sperm count can still get pregnant. It is only when an individual is unable to conceive with their partner after 12 months of unprotected sex that a possibility of infertility is suggested.
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How to Improve Low Sperm Count?
The causes behind low sperm count stem from reproductive anatomy issues or other physiological conditions. If your sperm analysis has come out abnormal, it is advised you talk to a medical professional immediately for further treatment or guidance.
Some of the most effective ways to improve low sperm count are:
- Reduce alcohol intake: Heavy drinking or regular alcohol consumption can suppress testosterone production in the body, reducing sperm production, thereby reducing the sperm count significantly.
Along with alcohol, even smoking has similar impacts. The nicotine from the cigarettes negatively impacts the male hormone balance, affecting the sperm count significantly.
- Weight management: Obesity is a crucial trigger behind male infertility. The excess prevalence of fat cells and adipose tissues in the body increases the production of aromatase. This enzyme breaks down the normal testosterone in the bloodstream into estrogen, reducing sperm count.
- Avoid overheating of the testicles: The study results for this are still inconclusive and debatable, but some clinical trials have found that overheating the testicles is directly proportional to low sperm count. So, if you are already noticing a low sperm count, avoid indulging in hot tubs and saunas to prevent further damage.
- Manage stress: Stress is a key contributor to low sperm count and poor sperm health. Even studies indicate that stress directly peaks the cortisol levels in the body, which inhibits testosterone production, leading to poor sperm count.
Besides these generic lifestyle changes, allied medical treatments can be prescribed depending on the test results. Surgical intervention might be advised if the patient has blockages in the reproductive tract. Similarly,
The health and quality of sperm count are affected by several triggers. Several factors can lead to male infertility, from underlying diseases to poor lifestyle choices. Getting an early diagnosis and proper treatment can alleviate the complications and ensure a healthy pregnancy in the future.
If you have been diagnosed with issues with your sperm health, get in touch with a urologist or a fertility specialist to arrange treatment options.
1- What is Considered a Normal and Healthy Sperm Count? | Mayo Clinic
2- How to Improve Low Sperm Count? | NCBI
This content has been reviewed by Srujana Mohanty who is working in scientific & medical writing and editing since 2018. She is also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing.