Low sperm count? Here’s what you can do.
Low sperm count? Here’s what you can do.
Normally for a couple to conceive there are a number of factors involved. To put it in simpler terms a healthy sperm must travel to a mature egg and fertile it. If a male has low sperm count, the semen you ejaculate during an orgasm contains fewer sperm than normal, at such times the odds of pregnancy decrease significantly.
The average number of sperm present in one sample of semen is called a sperm count. When your sperm count is under 15 million per ml it is termed to be low, which in turn may cause fertility issues. According to the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, experts consider a healthful sperm count to be 15 million per ml, or at least 39 million per ejaculate.
Factors that influence testosterone levels have the most significant impact on sperm number and quality. Inherited genetic disorders, infections, and tumours can also impact sperm count. To assess the same fertility doctors, conduct routine semen analyses and consider it to be an important factor for fertility.
Low sperm count means your sperm are less likely to fertilize your partner’s egg, resulting in pregnancy. However, this does not mean you cannot father a child, there are many possible treatments for men considering parenthood.
The first step to treating, is finding out what is likely causing it.
Your lifestyle choices play a major role in your overall health and help support the hormones that control sperm production, which may aid the healthy development of sperm and improve sperm count.
As having a low sperm count may be resulting from health or lifestyle choices, it’s recommended that men trying to increase sperm count and health follow these guidelines:
- Maintain your BMI with a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use
- Abstain from stress
- Get enough vitamin D
- Eat more antioxidant-rich foods
- Get enough exercise and sleep
- Consult a doctor about medications that can impact sperm count
Impact of food intake on improving sperm count
The best way to increase sperm count naturally may be to increase the consumption of foods high in sperm-friendly nutrients, such as vitamin C, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fats.
For many, taking supplements is a safe way to reach their daily requirement for most vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But the body does not always easily absorb them. Healthcare experts suggest that eating foods that provide good amounts of specific compounds and chemicals allows the body to use them more resourcefully.
The following dietary patterns could lead to a low sperm count.
- eating high quantities of red and processed meat
- not eating enough polyunsaturated fatty acid
- having a high intake of energy
- consuming low levels of antioxidants
- consuming high levels of saturated fats
- eating limited amounts of fruits and vegetables
Keep in mind that no specific food is the key to increasing sperm count through the diet. Instead, considering the diet as a whole is the best way to improve fertility.
The cause of infertility in the male decides what kind of specific treatment would be needed. Unfortunately, the success rates in most treatments of men with severely depressed sperm counts or motility are low, except for IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). Some of the treatments available include the following:
- Hormonal treatment: If a male patient has low levels of the pituitary hormones that stimulate sperm production, a hormonal treatment is considered, this involves the use of injectable hormones due to which we may be able to increase sperm count so that patients can conceive naturally.
- Antibiotic treatment: Some infections interfere with sperm production or sperm health which can cause scarring, that blocks the passage of sperm. Some can result in permanent damage, however sperm can usually still be retrieved.
If this is the cause of low sperm count, then antibiotic treatment can eliminate the infection and increase sperm production.
- IVF with ICSI: IVF has a high rate of success, but by combining IVF with ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, the success rate is increased even further for men with low sperm count.
ICSI involves collecting a sperm sample and cleansing it to isolate the strongest, healthiest sperm. Then a single sperm is collected and injected directly into the egg for fertilization. IVF with ICSI is often the best treatment option for men with low sperm count.
If low sperm count and motility aren’t addressed for some men by the above steps, surgery and Artificial Donor sperm insemination are your other options which are usually rare but when low sperm count treatments are ineffective these could be viable, and your fertility doctor will work with you to successfully conceive and start a family