Definition - What does Oligospermia mean?

Oligospermia is a male infertility condition. Men with oligospermia have an abnormally small number of viable sperm. An irregular sperm count decreases the odds of a man being able to contribute to conception.

Oligospermia is also known as oligozoospermia or a low sperm count.

FertilitySmarts explains Oligospermia

Oligospermia is diagnosed through a semen analysis, which measures a semen sample to identify sperm count, motility (movement), and morphology (shape). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), standards for low sperm count are as follows:

  • Mild Oligospermia - 10 million to 20 million sperm/mL
  • Moderate Oligospermia - 5 million to 10 million sperm/mL
  • Severe Oligospermia - 0 to 5 million sperm/mL

Oligospermia may be caused by a variety of health conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Chromosome disorders
  • Testicular injury
  • Radiation, chemotherapy, or other cancer treatments
  • Illnesses
  • Varicocele (enlargement of the veins in the penis)
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Smoking or excessive alcohol intake
  • Untreated STDs, including chlamydia or gonorrhea

While some causes of oligospermia may be permanent, others may be reversible through medical treatment, medication, or lifestyle changes.

In situations where the sperm count cannot be improved, donor sperm may be used. Donor sperm, alongside assisted reproductive technologies such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), could provide a successful conception.

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