Low Sperm Count

Low sperm count means that the fluid (semen) you ejaculate during an orgasm contains fewer sperm than normal.

A low sperm count is also called oligospermia (ol-ih-go-SPUR-me-uh). A complete absence of sperm is called azoospermia. Your sperm count is considered lower than normal if you have fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

Having a low sperm count decreases the odds that one of your sperm will fertilize your partner's egg, resulting in pregnancy. Nonetheless, many men who have a low sperm count are still able to father a child.

Symptoms

The main sign of low sperm count is the inability to conceive a child. There might be no other obvious signs or symptoms. In some men, an underlying problem such as an inherited chromosomal abnormality, a hormonal imbalance, dilated testicular veins or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm may cause signs and symptoms.

Low sperm count symptoms might include:

  • Problems with sexual function — for example, low sex drive or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction) Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
  • Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosome or hormone abnormality When to see a doctor
  • See a doctor if you have been unable to conceive a child after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse or sooner if you have any of the following:
  • Erection or ejaculation problems, low sex drive, or other problems with sexual function
  • Pain, discomfort, a lump or swelling in the testicle area
  • A history of testicle, prostate or sexual problems
  • A groin, testicle, penis or scrotum surgery