Along with initial fertility tests, your fertility specialist will want to evaluate your male partner’s medical history and reproductive health, typically starting with a semen analysis. Now let’s look at what this means when you are trying to conceive.
Firstly, a male fertility workup is the recommended first step in your fertility journey. This step includes a semen analysis, which can be done at a fertility clinic, it can determine sperm count and other important sperm parameters like concentration (count), morphology (shape) and motility (movement). At a fertility clinic, you get access to a team of medical professionals, a comprehensive fertility assessment report, a personalized treatment plan, and more.
What is a ‘Normal’ Sperm Count?
Sperm count is a vital ingredient to conception. A normal count ranges from 15 million sperm to more than 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen – crazy, right? Well, get this anything less than 15 million sperm per mL is considered a low sperm count. In other words, anything less than 39 million sperm per ejaculation is considered low. Low sperm count means that the fluid (semen) ejaculated during an orgasm contains fewer sperm than normal. A low sperm count is also called oligospermia, and the absence of sperm is called azoospermia, these could be observed with other sexual health symptoms such as the inability to get and maintain an erection and difficulty producing ejaculation.
The Importance of Sperm Count
The more healthy and mobile sperm per ejaculation, the better your odds are of conception. Male factor infertility, due to low sperm count, motility, or morphology is a common cause for couples struggling to conceive. In fact, as much as up to 50 percent of infertility cases include male factor infertility.
Sperm issues can also be caused by age if the male partner is over 40, being overweight, excessive alcohol use, exposure to radiation, certain medications, environmental toxins, and frequent exposure to high temperatures (e.g., car seats). The cause could also be a varicocele, an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum, which can sometimes be corrected with a relatively simple surgery called a varicocelectomy.
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for over a year, or you are over 35 years old and have been trying to conceive for more than 6 months, reach out to your healthcare provider, or self-refer to see a fertility specialist and get tested. If you or your partner are concerned about the semen analysis results, know that since the lifecycle of sperm is only 2.5-3 months, improved lifestyle changes (quitting smoking, exercising more often, and eating a healthy diet) may improve semen quality in a relatively short period of time.
Even if you are not trying to get pregnant, a semen analysis can still be beneficial to a male’s overall health, as a low sperm count may be indicative of a larger, overall health condition. For instance, low sperm count may be linked to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Getting tested will help in uncovering issues and then you will know for certain what your current fertility health status is. #mensfertilityhealth
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