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Oligospermia refers to reduced number of sperm in the ejaculate. When the sperm count is below 15 million sperm per ml of semen, sperm count is considered low. Low sperm count is a known cause of difficulty in conceiving.

What causes oligospermia?

Various factors, including medical, environmental, health and lifestyle factors etc. can be responsible for oligospermia.

·        Certain health problems and medical treatments can cause low sperm count e.g., varicocele, ejaculation problems, tumors, hormone imbalance, chemotherapy etc.

·        Environmental factors like industrial chemicals, exposure to radiation can also affect sperm production.

·        Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, depression and excessive alcohol intake can cause low sperm count.

What are the symptoms of oligospermia?

Generally, a person with oligospermia may not have any signs and symptoms. Certain symptoms can however be associated with low sperm count:

·        Problems with male sexual function including difficulties with erection or ejaculation.

·        Painful swelling or lump in the testicle area

·        Reduced or absent facial or body hair

How does oligospermia affect fertility?

Low sperm count leads to difficulty in fertilising the eggs and therefore reduce chances of conceiving both naturally as well as by some of the assisted conception treatments.

How to diagnose oligospermia?

Semen analysis can diagnose oligospermia. Several other tests including medical history, physical examination, blood levels of hormones and genetic tests may give more information on cause of oligospermia.

How to treat oligospermia?

Identifying and treating the underlying cause, including lifestyle modification may help. The couple may also need help of assisted reproduction technique such as Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to achieve a successful pregnancy. ICSI involves doing IVF and injecting a sperm into each egg to help fertilisation.

The Takeaway

Low sperm count in semen can lead to reduced chances of achieving pregnancy, both naturally and with some of the assisted conception treatments. One may need a special technique called Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in addition to IVF to restore chances of fertilisation, and pregnancy.

At ART Fertility clinics, our experienced doctors can guide you on the best course of action if low sperm count is diagnosed. Our labs are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to help you in case you need assisted conception treatment such as ICSI.

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