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Trying to get pregnant can be one of the most enjoyable, and most stressful times of your life. Every month when her period turns up the woman feels disappointed and vows it will be the last one. But when it keeps turning up, despite having sex at the most fertile times and trying many other things “guaranteed to result in conception” it’s time to start not asking when but why? She always thinks she is to blame but when all her tests come back fine it’s time to look at dad, why can’t he get her getting pregnant? It could be a simple fix, such as erectile dysfunction treatment or something a bit more complicated.
Low Sperm Count
Also known as oligospermia, a man with a low sperm count has less sperm than he should have in the semen he ejaculates. If you have less than 15m sperm per ml of semen you are classed as having a low sperm count. The lower the amount of sperm present the lower the odds are of you fertilizing a female egg. Despite this, many men with a lower sperm count can make a woman pregnant, and there are various techniques and treatments to help you achieve this.
Poor Sperm Motility
Pregnancy occurs when the fastest swimming sperm reaches the egg and fertilizes it. But what happens if your sperm are less Christian Coleman and more snail on crutches? There are two different types of sperm motility, which is the name given to the way a sperm swims.
Progressive Motility – when sperm swim mainly in a straight line or a large circle
Non-progressive Motility – sperm aren’t swimming in straight lines or go round in tight circles
For sperm to penetrate the mucus in order to fertilize an egg they need minimum progressive motility of 25 micrometres per second. Poor sperm motility, also known as asthenozoospermia, is diagnosed when less than 32% of sperm present can move at sufficient speed.
A normal sperm has an oval head and a long tail. Deformed, or abnormal, sperm may have defects in their head or tail or both. Typical malformations include misshapen heads and double or crooked tails. All defects can potentially affect the sperm’s ability to both reach and penetrate an egg. However, it is pretty common to have a large amount of abnormal sperm in amongst the good ones and further tests will establish how many you have.
Too Thick Semen
Imagine trying to swim through treacle. That is what it’s like for the poor sperm who live in a sea of semen that is just too thick. If a man notices a change in the ejaculate, such as increased thickness or change of colour, a visit to the doctor is a priority. It could be something simple such as a change in testosterone levels, or something more serious such as an undiagnosed STI.
Azoospermia is the technical term for no sperm being present in the semen. This is the worst possible news you can hear if you have been trying to get pregnant. All is not lost however as there are various reasons for this. Around 4/10 men with no sperm will have a blockage stopping the sperm getting out of the testicles into the penis. Birth defects or undiagnosed infections can cause such blockages and whether it can be cleared or not depends on several factors which your MD will discuss with you.
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