What is Normal Sperm Count?
Around half of the infertility problems encountered by couples are caused by male infertility. The most common form of male infertility is a low sperm count.
“Normal” sperm count, as defined by the World Health Organization, is characterized by:
- The concentration of spermatozoa should be at least 20 million per ml.
- The total volume of semen should be at least 2ml.
- The total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate should be at least 40 million.
- At least 75 per cent of the spermatozoa should be alive (it is normal for up to 25 per cent to be dead).
- At least 30 per cent of the spermatozoa should be of normal shape and form.
- At least 25 per cent of the spermatozoa should be swimming with rapid forward movement.
- At least 50 per cent of the spermatozoa should be swimming forward, even if only sluggishly.
These numbers amount to averages; Having a sperm count below these numbers does not guarantee that a man will be unable to father a child; likewise, having a sperm count higher than these numbers does not guarantee that a man will be able to father a child.
There are a variety of factors that can cause low sperm count, including stress, genetic causes, nutritional deficiencies, the use of prescription or illicit drugs, obesity, varicoceles, infections, and smoking.
Newer reproductive techniques, such as artificial insemination, may help couples in which the man has a low sperm count to become pregnant. Changes in diet and nutrition, as well as vitamins and natural supplements, may help sperm count as well.