Low Sperm Count

Men with a low sperm count can find hope through treatment at our Manhattan fertility clinic

When a man comes to our Manhattan fertility clinic to find out why he is having fertility problems, our Manhattan fertility doctor, Joel Batzofin, MD, includes a semen analysis as part of the fertility evaluation.

One of the measurements this test provides us is a sperm count, which measures the quantity of sperm in your semen. An average sperm count ranges from 20 to 150 million sperm/milliliter. If you have fewer sperm than this, it is considered a low sperm count, also known as oligospermia. If your semen does not contain any sperm at all, this condition is called azoospermia.

Causes of low sperm count

There are several factors that cause a low sperm count, including physical problems, medical issues and treatments, environmental factors and lifestyle issues.

If our Manhattan fertility doctor finds a physical problem, he may refer you to a urologist for treatment. Physical problems which can cause a low sperm count include:

  • Varicocele — Occurs when veins in the scrotum are swollen and enlarged.
  • Retrograde ejaculation — In some cases, semen does not exit through the penis, but enters the bladder instead.
  • Undescended testicle(s) — A testicle(s) that does not drop into the scrotum during fetal development, but instead remains in the abdomen, can interfere with sperm health.
  • Tubule defects — A blockage at any point in the tubes that carry the sperm may be caused by traumatic injuries, surgery, abnormalities in development or past infections. Azoospermia may indicate an obstruction.

A low sperm count can also be caused by medical issues such as infection or tumors. A man may also have a hormone imbalance or a chromosomal defect from a condition such as cystic fibrosis or Klinefelter’s syndrome. Celiac disease is another cause of low sperm count. In some cases, a male or female may produce anti-sperm antibodies that destroy sperm.

Medical treatments such as radiation or x-rays may cause a low sperm count. Likewise, certain medications can decrease sperm production, including: long-term anabolic steroid use, testosterone replacement therapy, chemotherapy drugs, certain antibiotics and antifungal medications, as well as some ulcer medications.

If a man has had prior surgeries, such as a vasectomy, surgery on the scrotum or testicles, prostate surgery or an inguinal hernia repair, the surgery may have created a blockage, which can often be surgically repaired.

Men who are exposed to certain environmental toxins, industrial chemicals and heavy metals may also have a low sperm count.

Lifestyle changes can help reverse a low sperm count

Our Manhattan fertility doctor will discuss various lifestyle issues that may cause your low sperm count, and how you may be able to raise your sperm count by changing your behaviors. Lifestyle factors include: smoking, drug use, alcohol use, stress and being overweight.

Having a low sperm count does not mean that you cannot father a child

We understand that learning you have a low sperm count can be an upsetting diagnosis, but our Manhattan fertility clinic staff will work closely with you to provide compassionate counseling and treatment that will help you create the family you desire. Contact us for an appointment today.