Infertility may occur in couples where the sperm count of the male partner is too low. With millions of
sperms reaching the mature egg after sexual intercourse, the possibility of fertilization is enhanced
when the sperm count remains optimum.

Unfortunately, males who do not have too many sperms may
fail to succeed in fertilizing their partner despite leading a normal life. This condition is known as
oligospermia medically and requires careful control and management along with treatment that may
also include a change of lifestyle.

However, most men can take heart from the fact that having a low sperm count does not mean he is infertile. There have been many instances of men being able to
become fathers in spite of being diagnosed with oligospermia.

Associated Symptoms:

It is not possible to understand the condition by looking at a patient. There are no obvious signs evident
and even seeing the semen ejaculated from the body does not give any indication of the sperm count
unless it is tested specifically.

However, fertility doctors and specialists treating male reproductive system consider less than 15 million sperms in a semen sample of 1 mililiter to be low.

Men with inherited conditions such as faulty chromosomes, hormone imbalance, and a swollen testicular vein may affect sperm count adversely giving rise to a host of symptoms including:-

1) Decrease in sexual desire
2) Erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve an erection)
3) Abnormal distribution of hair in the body
4) Absence of facial hair

Reasons to visit a doctor

It is necessary to visit a doctor when a couple fail to conceive even after trying for one year. However, men experiencing any of the following problems are advised to visit a medical facility or fertility clinic ASAP.

 Trouble with sexual intercourse that may include low desire for sexual activity, erectile
dysfunction and/or premature ejaculation
 Abnormal swelling near the testes. It might be painful to touch with the patient feeling discomfort during urination and sexual activity
 A family history of infertility, prostate or testicular health conditions
 History of undergoing prostate, penile or scrotal surgery

Oligospermia causes

The process of sperm production is a complex one that involves several organs of the male reproductive
system as well as parts of the brain that includes pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

Any kind of structural or functional abnormality involving a single part of this system can end up reducing the number of sperms. While the count may be evaluated via diagnostic tests, the underlying cause may not always be discovered.

Doctors find the following health issues to result in low sperm count usually:-

1) Varicocele- An abnormal swelling of veins around the testicular area results in this condition. It may not be associated with pain or too much discomfort initially but can hamper the production of sperms considerably. Varicocele repair can reverse the condition with the sperm count increasing slowly thereafter.
2) Retrograde Ejaculation- The sperm passes in the pposite direction and enters the urinary bladder instead of being ejected out of the penis. This can occur when the man is diagnosed with diabetes or injury to the spine. It is found to occur after surgery of the prostate, urethra and urinary bladder. Consumption of Alpha blocker medication can result in this type of ejaculation as well. A few patients may be treated successfully but the reversal rate is not 100%.

Fertility doctors advise obtaining the required sperms directly from the testicles in order to ensure fertilization.

1) Infections- Epididymitis, orchitis and a number of sexually transmitted infections can hamper the production and normal passage of sperms resulting in oligospermia. Medication can treat the infection but there might be permanent damage caused to the testes and scrotum.
However, an adequate amount of sperms can be retrieved for assisted reproduction techniques.
2) Tumors- Males diagnosed with tumors of the reproductive system due to cancerous and non
cancerous growth may find their reproductive powers hampered due to less amount of sperms.
Treatment procedures for eliminating the tumor may cause infertility too.
3) Hormonal Imbalance- Sperm production is affected adversely when there is an alteration in hormone secretion too. The issue may be directly related to hormone secretion by testes, pituitary and adrenal glands. Low or increased thyroid gland activity may affect sperm count as
4) Antibodies- This is an immunological disorder where the body forms antibodies to attack sperms.
5) Undescended Testes- This is a birth defect wherein the testes fail to descend into the scrotal sac after birth. Male infertility and non-production of sperms may be caused by the wrong positioning of the testes.
6) Medications- A number of medical drugs used to treat hormonal imbalances or treat cancer can reduce sperm production and affect fertility in the long run.
7) Exposure- People working in chemical industries may have the number of sperms reduced sharply due to exposure to a number of chemicals such as toluene, xylene and benzene. People working with paints and pesticides are likely to have a reduced sperm count too. Exposure to
heavy metals is also considered to be a foremost cause of oligospermia and infertility

Types of Treatment

It is essential to increase the sperm count for men who yearn to become a father. Both urologists and fertility doctors can treat patients for oligospermia by using any of the following methods that are chosen according to the underlying problem…

1) Surgery- A number of surgical procedures are used to repair varicolcele and clear obstructed vas deferens. Vasectomies may be reversed as well to keep the normal passage of sperms open.
Sperm retrieval techniques are used to obtain healthy sperms directly from the testicles and
epididymis when there is very little quantity in the semen.
2) Medications- Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat the underlying infections in order to increase sperm count. Hormonal injections may also be advised for infertility caused by abnormal secretion from endocrine glands.
3) Assisted reproductive technology (ART)- One of the most successful ways of ensuring fertilization and pregnancy is to try ART. It may include “ICSI or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection” along with IVF for enhancing the success rate.

Book an appointment at KIC, Bengaluru if you are frustrated at the delay in conceiving a child with your
partner. Get treated by the top fertility doctors across India and solve your problems in spite of being
diagnosed with oligospermia.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I'm Seetharam having a good knowledge and experience in infertility field.

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