A low sperm count can make it harder to conceive naturally. It’s the cause of infertility in one in five of couples who are struggling to conceive.
In many cases, the cause can be overcome and sperm count can be increased. For example, giving up smoking can increase your sperm count. If the cause can’t be addressed, then fertility treatment may be recommended to give you the best chance of pregnancy with your partner.
If you and your partner haven’t been able to get pregnant over the past year through regular sex (every two to three days), then you should make an appointment with your GP – ideally together. Fertility problems can affect men and women and sometimes it’s both.
If you’re a man concerned about your fertility, you should see your GP. They’ll discuss your medical, sexual and social history, such as:
A semen analysis is the initial fertility test for a suspected low sperm count. As well as your sperm count, it will also check:
You may also need to provide a urine sample to test for chlamydia – a common sexually transmitted disease that can affect fertility.
The cause of your low sperm count isn’t always obvious. It can be due to:
Lifestyle factors can also play a big part in reducing male fertility such as:
There are many options available to you to help you and your partner conceive.
Your doctor will advise you to keep trying to conceive with your partner naturally. Over eight in 10 couples will conceive naturally in the first year of regular, unprotected sex, rising to nine in 10 in the second year.
Help increase your chances by:
Surgery can also help, for example to remove any blockages that are preventing sperm release.
If a low sperm count can’t be resolved, then you may want to consider fertility treatment. This can include:
If you have no semen at all which cannot be resolved, then you may wish to consider a semen donor.