Sperm Count

Definition - What does Sperm Count mean?

Sperm count refers to the number of active, living sperm in a man’s semen. Sperm count is measured during a semen analysis, which is typically performed on men undergoing fertility testing. An analysis of sperm count can provide insight into a man’s chances of contributing to a successful pregnancy.

FertilitySmarts explains Sperm Count

In order to determine whether or not a man’s sperm is contributing to a couple’s infertility, a semen analysis is performed. A semen analysis measures three things: sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm shape.

A typical ejaculation contains as many as 20 to 300 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Sperm counts below 10 million are considered problematic, and may interfere with conception. Sperm counts between 10 and 20 million may also make conception challenging; however if motility and morphology are normal, the odds of conception rise. Men with significantly low sperm count may be diagnosed with oligospermia.

A low sperm count may be caused by:

  • Age
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Damage to the pituitary gland
  • Testicular disease
  • Cancer treatments

It is possible for some men to increase their sperm count through:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Maintaining a low weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • Limiting stress
  • Refraining from smoking, drinking, and drug use
  • Eliminating household toxins
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