What is Low Sperm Count?
If a couple has been trying to conceive a child for a while, they may become worried that the man might have a low sperm count. If this is a concern, he can go to the doctor for a sperm count and motility assessment.
Optimally, a couple will want the results of the assessment to show that the man has sperm count levels that are between 40 and 300 million sperm per milliliter of semen. A semen sample with less than 20 million sperm per milliliter is considered to have a low sperm count.
The Diagnosis of Low Sperm Count
Receiving a diagnosis of low sperm count can be very hard for the man to hear. It can affect his feelings about himself and about his fertility and can make him less likely to want to have sex with his wife. Discussing the issue openly with your partner will help overcome the mental aspect of the diagnosis. While not what you wanted to hear, at least you now know and can take steps to try and improve the situation. Once you recover from the “sucker punch” feeling of the diagnosis, you can refocus and make changes that can improve the situation.
The first thing they can do is avoid having sex too often or too far apart. If a man already has a low sperm count, having sex too often may deplete his sperm stores without giving his testes a chance to make more. Between 48 and 72 hours is an ideal time frame between sexual encounters while trying to conceive.
Next, the man should make sure that his testicles have room to regulate their temperature. Wearing underwear that is too tight, wearing pants that don’t breathe, or spending too much time in hot baths or hot tubs may decrease the testicles’ ability to keep their temperature stable and maintain ideal sperm production.
A balanced, healthy diet and ensuring to stay well hydrated can be also effective in improving sperm count. Your diet should be high in good-quality fat and protein and low in sugar and junk food. Mild to moderate daily exercise can help improve a man’s overall health as well as his hormonal and testicle health. He should, however, avoid heavy or excessive exercise, especially while wearing restrictive clothing.
It is always a good idea for him to avoid alcohol, smoking, and street drugs while trying to conceive, as those can all harm sperm production as well.
In addition to making these lifestyle changes, there are herbal fertility supplements like Fertilaid and Countboost for men that have a very good track record of improving sperm health and sperm count. This is definitely worth a try before heading back to the doctor for more in depth medical treatment to help you get pregnant.
If none of those things helps improve the couple’s ability to conceive, and low sperm count is suspected, the doctor may recommend a more invasive and expensive course of action. The first option is IUI—intra-utero insemination, in which the sperm is sampled, cleaned and inserted into the cervix in order to fertilize the egg. The second option is IVF—in-vitro fertilization. This is when the sperm are harvested and combined with the egg in a petri dish, then implanted into the uterus. Both of these methods have relatively high success rates.
Hopefully, though, a diagnosis of low sperm count doesn’t necessarily mean that the couple will have to resort to these invasive procedures. With an overall improvement in the man’s health, his sperm count may go up, and it only takes one strong, healthy swimmer to fertilize the egg.