LIVE

A low sperm count makes conception difficult, but fertilization may be possible with even the worst semen analysis.

By Ann Douglas
May 02, 2019
Advertisement
colorful sperm balloons
Credit: Olliulli/Shutterstock

Men need more than one sperm—lots, lots more than one—to fertilize an egg after intercourse. In a typical ejaculate (about a teaspoon), 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 there’s 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 doesn’t 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.

Sperm count isn’t the only measure of reproductive success. Male fertility also depends in part on sperm morphology (shape) and sperm motility (movement). While couples always want to know which of these three sperm measures matters most—count, morphology or motility—giving a single factor star billing doesn’t make any sense at all. Says Schrader, “It’s like asking what part of your car is most important. Maybe you think it would be the engine, but just try to get somewhere without the tires. And what about the steering wheel?”

The good news is that assisted reproductive technologies—and especially intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which a single sperm is injected into an egg—can 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.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
April 23, 2021
Anonymous
January 17, 2021
We now have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. At the age of 33, I got married for the first time and was ready to start a family. After Seven years of trying to conceive with no luck, I had meetings with my Doctor who did an ultrasound to check my ovarian reserve. He found that my reserve was very, very low. My Doctor made suggestion that I meet with marvelspelltemple@gmail.com to discuss Infertility spell. At the age of 40, I started Infertility Spell procedure with marvelspelltemple@gmail.com whatsapp number +2348071660388 In a week time, I did my Infertility spell to help me conceive and developed into a full-term pregnancy. Our baby girl is so beautiful and healthy – I couldn’t have asked for more! And we could not have done it without Dr. Muna help
Anonymous
April 23, 2021
Anonymous
April 23, 2021