ivfA low sperm count, also called oligozoospermia, is where a man has fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

Having a low sperm count can make it more difficult to conceive naturally, although successful pregnancies can still occur.

Problems with sperm, including a low sperm count and problems with sperm quality, are quite common. They’re a factor in around one in three couples who are struggling to get pregnant.

Causes of a low sperm count

In many cases, it’s not obvious what causes a low sperm count.

Sometimes problems with sperm count and quality are associated with:

1. A hormone imbalance, such as hypogonadism (reduced hormone production)
2. A genetic problem such as Klinefelter syndrome
3. Having had undescended testicles as a baby
4. A structural problem – for example, the tubes that carry sperm being damaged and blocked by illness or injury, or being absent from birth
5. A genital infection such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland)
6. Varicoceles (enlarged veins in the testicles)
7. Previous surgery to the testicles or hernia repairs
8. The testicles becoming overheated
9. Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and using drugs such as marijuana or cocaine
10.Certain medications, including testosterone replacement therapy, long-term anabolic steroid use, cancer medications (chemotherapy), some antibiotics and some antidepressants.

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