How Little is Too Little?
When it comes to conception, it truly takes “two to tango”. Yet many couples only focus on the woman’s fertility when trying to get pregnant, when the man’s is nearly as important. Among those facing fertility problems, as many as 40% of cases involve male infertility. When a couple struggles to conceive, both partners should consult a fertility specialist. For the man, this will often result in a semen analysis, commonly referred to as a sperm count.
Sperm Count & Motility
When analyzing semen, doctors look for two key factors: sperm count and sperm motility.
Sperm count is perhaps the best known contributor to male fertility. Common averages for sperm count range from 20 to 300 million per milliliter of semen with lower numbers still considered normal if motility and morphology are fine.
Just as important as sperm count is the percentage of the sperm that are swimming properly. Good motility means at least 50%-60% of sperm are alive and swimming well. If the sperm aren’t swimming, they will never make their way to the egg, which is, after all, where it all begins.
Other factors such as semen volume and the size and shape of the sperm (also called its “morphology”) are also reported and help doctors assess issues with sperm count and motility.
A Long, Difficult Journey
Considering that a healthy man will emit at least 40 million sperm in an average ejaculation, it is amazing that the process of conception pares down to a single sperm meeting a single egg. Even with that many sperm released at once, it’s far from guaranteed that any of them will get the job done.
Following intercourse, the sperm has to travel a distance nearly 1000 times its own length, against the current and in a difficult chemical environment. Once a sperm makes contact, it must fuse with the egg and penetrate the outer membrane. Not every sperm is successful, either, though a failed sperm makes the job easier if another finds its way.
In a best case scenario, one lucky sperm reaches the egg, fuses with it, and forms a zygote. Unfortunately, 1 in 6 couples deal with infertility, and can only dream of that best case scenario. If you are one of the many couples looking to increase your chance of getting pregnant, consult a fertility specialist about semen analysis and other options you might consider.
While many of these options require treatment, another to consider is home insemination with The Stork OTC. This drug-free choice collects the sperm and places it right at the cervix, shortening the journey and giving the sperm a better chance of reaching their target. Learn more about cervical cap insemination.
Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a male infertility issue. Sperm count and motility are important indicators of your chances of getting pregnant, and the only way to know how you rate is to get tested.