Sperm count refers to a measurement typically taken by a health care provider or a fertility specialist. The sperm count measures the number of viable sperm that are contained in a certain volume of a man’s semen. Sperm count is only one of the measurements taken in a semen analysis, but sperm count is the most common causes of male fertility problems.
The World Health Organization has put together statistics that indicate a normal sperm count. First, The concentration of spermatozoa should be at least 20 million per ml. The total volume of semen should be at least 2ml. The total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate should be at least 40 million. Of the spermatozoa found in the semen, at least 75 per cent of the spermatozoa should be alive (it is normal for up to 25 per cent to be dead). In addition, while it doesn’t technically refer to sperm count, there are other important measurements indicated by the WHO. At least 30 per cent of the spermatozoa should be of normal shape and form, at least 25 per cent of the spermatozoa should be swimming with rapid forward movement, and at least 50 per cent of the spermatozoa should be swimming forward, even if only sluggishly.
A normal sperm count can often run much higher than these minimums, however. For example, some studies suggest that a normal sperm count, far from the minimum of 20 million sperm per ml of semen, is more likely to be a number between 40 million sperm per ml of semen and 300 million sperm per ml of semen.
A low sperm count can come from any number of factors. It can be as simple as an infection or a nutritional deficiency, or it can be more complex such as occurs with varicoceles or with a genetic cause. The good news is that there are usually treatments of some sort available for a man who does not have a normal sperm count, although they may be expensive and aggressive treatments, such as IVF and ICSI.
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