Low Sperm Count Is Not The End
Men with oligospermia can feel like there is no solution. However, there are several options to help with starting or growing a family. Even before medical intervention like IUI or IVF, lifestyle changes and medication can help. Take the time to make these changes, then keep trying. If these steps fail, speak with a fertility doctor to start treatment today.
See A Doctor To Explore Medical Options
Even with the previous tips, conceiving can fail. At this point, another visit to a reproductive specialist can help with the next steps. In some cases, medical or surgical options can make a difference. For instance, men with low hormone levels can benefit from off-label hormone medication. Others with conditions like varicocele may need surgical intervention. After treatment, the chances of pregnancy increase significantly in a few months.
Get Enough Exercise And Sleep
Several studies have suggested that weight loss and exercise among people with overweight or obesity can lead to an improved or increased sperm count. However, the science linking a healthy body mass index to a healthy sperm count is still weak.
One 2017 study examined the benefits of performing a 16 week aerobic exercise program of at least three 50-minute sessions per week. The participants reached 5065% of their peak heart rate.
In the study, regular exercise increased sperm count and motility in 45 men with obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
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Low Sperm Count What Is It
Low sperm count means that the number of sperm in a mans semen is below the threshold of what is considered normal. Sperm motility and sperm morphology may also be affected.
Sperm count is determined through a test called a semen analysis. It is usually the first test your doctor will request . Semen refers to the fluid that is released from the penis when a man ejaculates. It is made up of fluids from several glands and sperm. Surprisingly, sperm make up only 5% of the total semen volume!
A semen analysis evaluates the quality and quantity of both the sperm and the semen. A basic semen analysis can be ordered by your family doctor and this is usually carried out through your local pathology laboratory. If further investigation is required, a more in depth analysis can be carried out at a fertility clinic.
Can You Increase Your Sperm Count
Unlike female eggs, which are released once a month during ovulation, sperm is constantly being produced. This is good news for couples trying to conceive every 70 days, you have a new set of matured sperm, giving you the chance to improve your sperm health and count every few months. Which brings us to…
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Avoid Certain Prescription Medications
Some prescription medications can potentially decrease healthy sperm production. Once the male stops taking the medication, however, their sperm count should return to normal or increase.
Medications that may temporarily reduce the production and development of sperm include:
- anabolic steroids, which may continue to affect sperm count for up to 1 year after stopping the medication
- exogenous or supplementary testosterone
Males should seek consultation with a healthcare provider if they believe that a medication they are currently taking may be reducing their sperm count or affecting their fertility.
Pregnant Despite Low Sperm Count And Quality
Im very happy to share that after 1 year of TTC and dealing with male infertility we are 5 weeks, 4 days pregnant.
I want to share our story in case it helps others in similar situations…
My husband and I started trying to conceive right away . We got a positive pregnancy test in April 2017, and were so very excited. We actually got 4 positive tests over the course of 4 days since I kept testing because I couldnt believe it. Unfortunately, I miscarried 5 days later right at 5 weeks. We were devastated but it did give us hope that we were ABLE to get pregnant since we were nervous because my husband had an undescended testicle that wasnt found and corrected until he was 10.
He has always wondered if that would affect his fertility. After the MC, he wanted to get a sperm analysis to see what he was working with and for what I thought would be peace of mind because I knew the results would come back fine, since we were able to get pregnant once.
So..he did the SA and to our shock, his numbers came back, well, not good His count, motility, and morphology were all below normal in her eyes.
His numbers were:
This whole time Im like, hello! We got a positive after just 5 months TTC so F these SA results and lets just keep trying and be positive.
I want to also add that his dr also prescribed my husband Clomid and he started taking a One A Day Vitamin, Zinc, and Vit C every day, he stopped smoking, cut back on drinking and coffee, too.
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Our Second Miracle Baby
We thought our first baby was a miracle baby and we were only but hopeful for a second. Here is our story:
After years of trying to have a baby without success we sought some advice and did some tests. We were told by a fertility expert that our chances of conceiving naturally were slim to none and we were put at the front of the queue for fertility treatment. Despite being a healthy young male with no underlying conditions, my husband was diagnosed with very low sperm count coupled with very low motility. Knowing our odds, we pretty much gave up hope and resigned ourselves to the fact that it would be impossible for us to conceive naturally or so we thought. Just literally days before we were to start fertility treatment I found myself pregnant!
We found ourselves in the same situation again when trying for our second child we were hopeful but didnt think our chances were great. After a year of trying , we made another appointment with the fertility clinic thinking this was our only chance of conceiving again.
I guess the lesson that we learnt and what we would hope others couples would take on board is not to wait. Youve got nothing to lose and so much to gain from seeking advice from a natural fertility coach. Take that leap of faith and entrust your situation with a professional, like we did. We learned so much and the information we now know is what we will have for life.
Names withheld to protect privacy
Possible Physical And Medical Causes
If you find your count is lower than the normal threshold for fertile men, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor or fertility specialist as soon as possible. A medical professional can determine whether or not there are physical or medical factors contributing to the problem such as genetic disorders, diabetes, past cancer treatments, sexually-transmitted diseases, etc., and recommend appropriate treatment.
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If A Semen Analysis Reveals A Low Sperm Count We Will Perform Additional Testing To Ascertain The Cause
Some cases may warrant a referral to a urologist who specializes in male fertility, and we work with the best ones in Central Texas. It may encourage you to know that through our collaborative approach, TFC can successfully treat nearly all cases of male factor infertility. Some cases can be treated with minor lifestyle changes, while others may require medication, surgery or laboratory assistance in the form of either intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization . Regardless, there is an excellent prognosis for nearly all men who pursue treatment.
Why My Wife Is Not Getting Pregnant
There are many possible reasons, including ovulation irregularities, structural problems in the reproductive system, low sperm count, or an underlying medical problem. While infertility can have symptoms like irregular periods or severe menstrual cramps, the truth is that most causes of infertility are silent.
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Natural Ways Of Improving Fertility With A Low Sperm Count
You can try to enhance your fertility by not having too much sex or by not having too little sex. It turns out that too much sex can deplete the storage of sperm so that the sperm count will be even lower if you have sex too much. Having sex about every 2 to 3 days is about the right frequency of intercourse to have the maximum number of sperm in the ejaculate when trying to have a baby.
Of course, you need to time your sex to be in the window of time when the woman is the most fertile. Women with regular 28-day cycles will ovulate on about the 14th day of the cycle and you should plan to have sex every other day from about the 9th to the 15th day of the menstrual cycle for the maximum chances of conceiving a child.
Another natural way of improving fertility is to make sure that the testicles are at the right temperature. There is a reason why the testicles are outside the body. Its because sperm are more effectively made at a lower body temperature than the normal core body temperature. Men with low sperm counts should avoid wearing underwear that is too tight and should instead wear boxer shorts that allow the temperature of the sperm to be lower.
Men should also avoid exposure to saunas and hot tubs that can raise the testicular temperature, effectively decreasing the sperm count. An occasional sauna or hut tub exposure is probably okay but regular use by men with low sperm counts can greatly affect fertility.
What Is Low Sperm Count And What Does It Mean For Fertility
Low sperm count means semen contains fewer sperm than normal, and so the chances of conception are lower during intercourse. However, male factor infertility is not solely a result of a low number of sperm there may also be issues with morphology and/or a blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm.
Whats more, despite being a contributor in 50% of infertility problems male infertility is often overlooked or overshadowed by conversations surrounding female infertility. A shocking truth considering male sperm counts have dropped by as much as 50% in the last 40 years.
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Can Increasing Sperm Volume Help Conception
Having a healthy sperm count is important for conception. There are a few things males can do to produce healthy sperm and boost sperm count, including maintaining a good weight and eating a healthy diet, practicing safe sex to prevent STIs, keeping stress levels low, and exercising regularly. Avoiding alcohol, smoking, toxins , lubricants during sex, certain medications , and keeping the penis cool also helps improve fertility.
What To Expect From Your Doctor
Some questions your doctor may ask you include:
- At what age did you start puberty?
- Have you had a vasectomy or a vasectomy reversal?
- Do you use illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine or anabolic steroids?
- Have you been exposed to toxins such as chemicals, pesticides, radiation or lead, especially on a regular basis?
- Are you currently taking any medications, including dietary supplements?
- Do you have a history of undescended testicles?
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Treat Underlying Medical Conditions
Medical conditions and infections can also affect fertility. For example, untreated diabetes can lead to infertility by causing retrograde ejaculation. As many as one-third of people with diabetes do not know that they have it. If you have been diagnosed with retrograde ejaculation, ask your doctor about having your blood sugar tested.
An untreated infection of the reproductive system or urinary tract can also cause infertility in men. For example, sexually transmitted infections can lead to reduced sperm motility. Repeated infections can cause scarring, which can block the passage of semen.
Some sexually transmitted infections have no symptoms other than infertility. This is why it’s important to be tested regularly.
Other medical conditions that can lead to infertility are:
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Thyroid disease
Like diabetes, these conditions can sometimes be missed and go undiagnosed, especially if a person has few or no symptoms. It’s a good idea to schedule a check-up with your doctor if you are ready to start trying to conceive.
Medical Ways Of Treating A Low Sperm Count
If all of the natural ways of improving the sperm count have been tried and the couple still cant conceive a child, the doctor can step in and use medical ways of improving fertility. One method is intrauterine insemination or IUI. This involves getting a sampling of the semen, washing the sperm, and then inserting the sperm cells directly into the uterus through a catheter inserted through the cervix.
Another medical way to improve fertility in situations of low sperm count include in vitro fertilization or IVF. In this procedure, the sperm and eggs come together in a petri dish. When the eggs become fertilized, they are implanted as embryos inside the womans uterus, so that the eggs are already fertilized by the time they reach the uterine environment.
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Avoid Excessive Alcohol And Drug Use
The number of controlled studies to have explored the link between sperm health and drugs is limited. This is because testing illicit substances can lead to ethical problems.
However, has linked the worldwide use of drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine to decreased sperm production. Some evidence is conflicting, so further research is necessary to confirm this link.
Does Iui Actually Work
Getting pregnant with IUI is possible, even with a low sperm count. But the lower the count, the lower the success rate. Research shows IUI done with at least 9 million motile sperm had a 17% success rate. However, once the sperm count dropped below 9 million, so did the success rates. Clinics will do everything possible to improve chances, such as sperm washing. But even with a high sperm count and prepped sperm, IUI success rates vary.
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Low Sperm Count Signs And Symptoms
There are several signs which may point towards a low sperm count, though these are more often than not symptoms of an underlying condition or medical issue, which also happens to be causing a low sperm count. These signs include:
- Having a low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain, swelling, or lumps in the testicle area of the body
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, especially lumps in your testicles, please consult with your doctor or another medical professional as soon as possible. It may be in the best interests of your health to ensure the problem is seen to and taken care of, as the problem has the potential to be more severe than is obvious. By getting any issue checked out right away, you will either be getting the problem sorted out more quickly, or giving yourself the peace of mind you deserve.
Here at GENNET City Fertility, we are more than willing to provide testicular ultrasounds which may uncover the cause of your fertility problems. So, if you do have a lump which is causing you to worry, we can book you in for a consultation with a discreet and understanding expert who will carry out the procedure and talk you through the results.
How To Deal With A Low Sperm Count
A low sperm count makes conception difficult, but fertilization may be possible with even the worst semen analysis.
Men need more than one spermlots, lots more than oneto fertilize an egg after intercourse. In a typical ejaculate , 250 million sperm are released. But of those 250 million, only hundreds make it as far as the fallopian tubes. Functioning as a kind of synchronized sports team, most of the sperm release an enzyme that helps clear the pathway to the egg so that one sperm can penetrate it.
While theres no magic number when it comes to sperm counts, 20 million or more sperm per milliliter of ejaculate is the benchmark that most physicians consider normal. But a sperm count below that number doesnt have to be devastating. It may just mean that the time to conception will be longer, explains Steven M. Schrader, Ph.D., lead of the reproductive health assessment team of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
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The good news is that assisted reproductive technologiesand especially intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which a single sperm is injected into an eggcan give sperm a boost when a sperm analysis has identified a problem in one of the three key areas. Today, fertilization may be possible with even the worst semen analysis results.
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Low Sperm Count Affects Pregnancy
Thanks to high school biology, everyone knows that one sperm is necessary to fertilize an egg during conception. For that one sperm to reach the egg, millions and millions of sperm must make the journey. Unfortunately, low sperm count can significantly reduce the chances of pregnancy. In severe cases, an abnormally low sperm count can mean infertility. Yet, there are some ways to still get pregnant despite the diagnosis.
How Much Sperm Does It Take To Get Pregnant With Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is when sperm is placed inside the uterus. During in vitro fertilization, eggs and sperm are combined outside of the females body in a lab and then the fertilized egg is returned to the womb. This can be an option for couples where the male has a slightly lower sperm count or motility and youve been trying to get pregnant for at least one year.
Artificial insemination requires a minimum 6.7 million sperm per insemination to be successful. But sperm amount matters less for AI than for natural insemination. Instead, sperm motility and shape play a greater role.
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