The blessing of having a child doesn’t come easily to some. The male or female partner or both may have infertility issues that may hinder their chances of pregnancy. Hence, going in for a fertility consultation becomes highly essential for couples who face difficulty conceiving naturally. Infertility is on the rise in men and there are many reasons that could result in low sperm count. Let us get to know in detail about the causes and treatment for low sperm count.
Low sperm count – Diagnosis:
Semen Analysis helps in knowing the sperm count, quality, and morphology. When the sperm count is less than 16 million/ml, it is said to be abnormal. Other than semen analysis, several other tests like scrotal ultrasound, hormonal tests, genetic testing, etc. are done to identify the exact cause of infertility in men.
What are the reasons for low sperm count?
Infections: Sperm production and quality can be affected due to some infections. Hepatitis B, TB, Mumps, sexually transmitted diseases like Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other infections can lead to infertility in men.
Hormonal issues: The male hormone Testosterone is necessary for sperm production and any imbalance in this hormone can hamper sperm production. Other hormones like FSH, LH, estradiol, and thyroid hormones also play a major role in sperm production. Abnormalities of any of these can result in subfertility.
Varicocele: A palpable Varicocele (swelling of veins in the scrotum) can be one of the causes of infertility in men, but not all varicocele needs treatment. Symptomatic varicocele can lead to a decrease in sperm production, motility, and reduced sperm quality.
Cancer: Cancer of any organ and particularly of the male reproductive tract and its treatment can lead to infertility.
Genetic disorders: Klinefelter Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, and Y Chromosome microdeletion affect sperm development and its transport leading to infertility.
Problems in tubules that carry sperm: Surgery, infections, and many other reasons can cause blockage in tubules that may affect the transport of sperms.
Obesity: Obese men may have low sperm count, lower testosterone levels, and reduced sperm quality.
Smoking and Alcohol consumption: Decreased sperm production is observed in men who smoke and drink alcohol.
Radiation and Industrial chemicals: Exposure to pesticides, lead, and radiation may reduce sperm count.
Other causes for low sperm count include vasectomy, prior surgery, antisperm antibodies, undescended testicles, certain medications, stress, and chronic illness.
Treatments for Male Infertility:
Fertility treatments are very personalized and hence depending on the cause of infertility, the treatments vary. Hormonal treatments, surgeries like TESA, microTESE, IUI, ICSI, and several other options are available for one to attain fatherhood despite infertility. When the above-mentioned treatments fail, donor sperm treatment is also an option.
If a couple is unable to conceive even after a year of trying, both the male and the female partner need to go in for fertility evaluation. Some men are unaware of the many conditions that can affect fertility and postpone their plans to get tested as well. The right diagnosis at the right time can help the couples achieve parenthood.

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