Oligospermia Symptoms, Treatment & Effects On Male Fertility


If your partner and you have been trying to conceive for a while, it’s best to get yourselves checked by a fertility specialist. Symptoms of infertility may be disguised and are not easy to identify. The only evident symptom in most cases is the inability to get pregnant. 

Contrary to the popular misconception, the female partner’s chances of being infertile are almost equal to that of the male partner. Therefore, both partners need to get their respective fertility checkups done to arrive at the underlying cause for infertility. 

One of the predominant factors that lead to infertility in males is oligospermia. In the article, we will be highlighting everything you must know about oligospermia and how it can affect your fertility health. 

What is Oligospermia?

Oligospermia is a condition where the male semen has a low sperm count. A healthy sperm count is necessary for successful fertilization and conception. However, pregnancy is not impossible despite having a low sperm count. 

As per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) reference values, your sperm count is said to be normal if there are at least 15 million sperms per milliliter (ml) or more of your semen. If your sperm count is less than that then you have oligospermia. 

Your degree of oligospermia depends on the number of sperms present in every milliliter of your semen. The types of oligospermia are:

  • Mild Oligospermia
    When your sperm count is between 10 to 15 million sperms in every milliliter of semen, you are suffering from mild oligospermia.
  • Moderate Oligospermia
    When your sperm count is between 5 to 10 million sperms in every milliliter of semen, you are suffering from moderate oligospermia.
  • Severe Oligospermia
    When your sperm count is between 0.5 to 5 million sperms in every milliliter of semen, you are suffering from severe oligospermia. 

Causes Of Oligospermia

The sperm count of any normal and healthy male can keep fluctuating. However, sometimes some underlying health conditions leave a negative impact on the sperm count leading to infertility. 

  1. Hormonal Imbalances
    Your hypothalamus and pituitary glands are responsible for producing reproductive hormones that aid in the production of sperms. When these glands falter in the optimal production of hormones, your sperm count takes a hit.
  2. Retrograde Ejaculation
    Retrograde ejaculation is a disorder where the semen reverses back into the bladder rather than coming out through the penis. When this happens, your sperm count can get affected, leading to infertility.
  3. Anti-sperm Antibodies
    Sometimes your body produces antibodies that may identify your sperms are foreign invaders by mistake and kill them. This automatically leads to a decline in your sperm count. There are advanced tests available to test for these antibodies and your doctor may recommend them if required.
  4. Trauma/ Injury
    If you have undergone any kind of injuries or surgeries around your pelvic region like hernia repair, vasectomy, etc., it could interfere with the flow of your semen and your sperm count as well.
  5. Obstruction
    Any obstructions in the tubes that transport your sperms to the penis can block the way for semen to pass through. And therefore, reduce the sperm count in the ejaculated semen. In such cases, a procedure known as PESA/ TESA is done to extract sperms directly from the testis.
  6. Undescended Testicles
    Many times, men are born with a condition called undescended testicles, where the testicles do not descend to become a part of the scrotum. In such cases, it is almost impossible for the male to conceive.

How Oligospermia Affects Male Infertility

Oligospermia or a low sperm count can lead to infertility or difficulty in conceiving. However, men with oligospermia can impregnate a woman.

In many cases, men who are suffering from a low sperm count can conceive easily. While for some others it might take a few tries until they can successfully impregnate the female partner.

Oligospermia can also lead to infertility in men, wherein they cannot conceive despite having tried for more than a year. Due to several underlying factors and health conditions, the sperm count is not enough to fertilize the egg successfully.

Sometimes, oligospermia also affects sperm motility, which is the ability of the active sperms to swim through and fertilize the egg. When you are suffering from abnormal sperm motility, it means that your sperms are not able to move enough to fertilize the egg. 

Several treatment options are available to help overcome oligospermia, including medication, surgery, lifestyle changes, etc. Depending on the severity of your oligospermia,  assisted reproductive techniques like IUI or IVF are the more popular choices for couples who are suffering from this condition. 

Intrauterine insemination is a procedure wherein the sperms that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly in your uterus around the time your ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. This increases the chances of conception but may not be the ideal solution for patients with severe oligospermia. 

In IVF, your fertility doctor will carefully pick out the good sperms from your semen sample and insert them in the female egg in an IVF laboratory. If the fertilization is successful, the healthy embryos that are formed are placed inside the female’s womb for implantation. And this is how conception takes place for men who are infertile because of oligospermia.

In order to seek a proper diagnosis, treatment, and care for fertility-related issues like oligospermia, reach out to a trusted and reliable IVF center like Archish IVF. Our modern equipment and technology help our experienced team of fertility specialists and doctors conduct the most accurate diagnosis and IVF treatment for you.

The probability of success of any IVF treatment depends on the anatomy of the couple as well as on the skill of the IVF specialist and doctor. Book your first free consultation with Archish IVF to see what one of the finest IVF centers in Bangalore and India can do to help you and your partner embark on the beautiful journey of parenthood. 

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