When it comes to male infertility, low sperm count is often a significant factor. Most of the time, this condition is diagnosed through semen analysis. If your fertility expert believes that this is the cause of your infertility, remember that you do have options -- and that you are not alone. One study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 7.5% of all sexually experienced men under the age of 45 saw a fertility doctor during their lifetime, which equals about 3.3 to 4.7 million men.
If you or your husband are among these men, this guide will help you understand more about your low sperm count and what can be done to treat it.
What causes low sperm count?
There are many causes of low sperm count, many of which occur due to health conditions and other medical treatments. The following are some of the most common:
- Varicocele: This condition occurs when the veins that drain the testicle swell, leading to poor sperm quality.
- Hormones: The reproductive relies on hormonal balance to function properly. A disruption in normal hormonal patterns can hinder sperm production.
- Medications: Chemotherapy, long-term antibiotics, and other medications may harm sperm count and lead to infertility.
- Tubule Blocks: If one of the tubes of the male reproductive system is damaged, this can lead to low sperm count. This can happen due to injury, surgery, or disease.
- Environmental Causes: Radiation, overheating, and certain chemicals can harm sperm count.
What are common treatments for low sperm count?
Infertility treatments for low sperm count will vary depending on the severity and cause of your case. For varicoceles and similar causes, your specialist may recommend surgery. In other cases, medication or hormone replacement might be more appropriate. Your specialist may also determine whether you have an infection and treat that as well.
Assistive reproduction services may also be necessary. In vitro fertilization may be able to use the sperm you do have to conceive. Your doctor will talk through all of your options with you, as a combination of these may be the most effective.
Whether you begin in vitro fertilization or continue to treat your low sperm count in other ways, it's important to speak with your specialist about how you can help your body heal. Follow their instructions closely and remember to take care of yourself during this time.