Having low sperm count! Am worried?
Across the globe, infertility affects 13% of couples with one third attributed to male factor infertility.
There are a few ways male infertility presents. A man may not be able to have an erection or ejaculate. Without ejaculating no sperm reaches the egg and fertilization can’t occur. Another reason for male infertility is inadequate sperm where the man can’t produce healthy and viable sperm.
Men produce sperm every day in their testicles, and it takes about 2 months for that sperm to mature. Men diagnosed with a low sperm count, Oligospermia, produce fewer than 15 million sperm per ml. Don’t confuse a low sperm count with the total absence of sperm, a condition known as Azoospermia.
Different factors impact sperm production. Smoking, alcohol use, recreational drugs, medications, stress, toxins and even too much time in a hot-tub can all cause a dip in the number of sperm you produce. In addition to medication and lifestyle factors, there are medical causes for this type of male factor infertility.
Most men are unaware they have a low sperm count until they and their partner are unable to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. A man may have inherited a chromosomal abnormality, suffer from a hormone imbalance, a blockage or a testicular vein dilation issue. Some low sperm count signs to look for:
- Pain or swelling of the testicles
- A decrease in facial or body hair (hormonal imbalance or chromosome disorder)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sex drive
Depending on the cause for this form of male factor infertility, treatment can be:
- Hormonal Treatment: In some patients, low levels of the hormones that stimulate sperm production cause a low sperm count. Treatment is like treating female hormone imbalance. Specific injectable hormones may increase sperm count enough so conception occurs naturally.
- Antibiotics: In a small number of cases an infection interferes with sperm production. If there is no permanent damage, then the antibiotic treatment can help.
- Surgical Treatment: If the cause of your low sperm count is a blockage, your physician may recommend procedures used to retrieve sperm called Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration, or MESA, or testicular sperm extraction (TESE). These procedures involve inserting a small needle directly into testicle (under anaesthesia) and obtaining sperm for IVF with ICSI.
- IVF with ICSI: IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is by far one of the most successful treatments for low sperm count. ICSI helps when the male has a low sperm count. The procedure takes the strongest and healthiest sperm and insects a single sperm directly into the egg for fertilization.
If you and your partner are actively trying to conceive without success, it’s time to find out what’s wrong. Contact Miracle IVF for more information on male factor infertility and the treatments that help.