Sperm count is necessary thing to access man’s male fertility. Finding out the fertility in men is the second most important in order to know when trying to get pregnant. Sperm count measures the quality, number and the amount and some other parameters of semen which a man produces. If man want to find out he is fertile or not then he can find only through semen analysis.
It has been found that nearly 40% of couples have some problem to have children and this is due to man’s sperm. The first fertility test that should be done is the sperm count when you evaluate your fertility. Sperm analysis is completed through masturbation and this guarantees the person getting tested an orgasm.
According to World Health Organization, there are some major parameters which sperm count checks and they are:
- Volume (over 2 cc is normal)
- Sperm morphology (percentage of sperm which have normal shape)
- Sperm count (over 20 million per cc or 40 million total is normal)
- Sperm motility (percentage of sperm which can move forward normally)
Sperm count is to check if there are enough sperms. If there is less than 20 million sperm per ml, then it is considered to be a low sperm and less than 10 million will very low. This technical term for low sperm count is known as oligospermia. Those men who don’t have sperm at all, they are said to be azoospermic. By knowing this person may be in shock because the semen in these patients looks normal but the problem has been found only on microscopic examination.
About normal sperm motility:
The work of motility is to check whether the sperms are moving well or not. The quality of sperm is more significant than the count. There are two types of sperm- first which swim and second which don’t swim. Those sperm which move forward fast has the ability to swim up to the egg and the others are of only little use.
Hence motility is graded from a to d which is according to the World Health Organization and they are as follows:
Grade a (fast progressive) – Those sperms which swim forward fast and in a straight line such as guided missiles.
Grade b (slow progressive) – Those sperm which swim forward but they are not in a line. They move either in crooked or in curved line and also in slowly way.
Grade c (non-progressive) – Those sperms which move their tails but they don’t move forward such as local motility.
Grade d (immotile) – Those sperm that does not move at all
The sperms of grade c and grade d are measured as poor. If the motility is poor, then it is considered as the testis is producing bad quality sperm and thus not functioning properly and this may also not be able to fertilise the egg.
This is the reason for worry because motility is only 20% instead of 50%. There are many men who ask their doctor that they just want to have a single sperm count so that they can fertilise their wife’s egg. The problem is due to the sperm in infertile men with a low sperm count does not function properly and they cannot fertilise egg. Here the fact is that only 20% of the sperm are motile and rests 80% are immotile and if large amount of sperm does not swim, then there will be only one worry that the rest 20% may not function properly.
About normal sperm morphology:
The sperms are called morphology whether their shape are in normal or not. If the sperm is good, then it should have a regular oval head with a connecting mid-piece and a long straight tail. If there are many abnormal shaped sperm (which is called teratozoospermia when many of sperm have abnormalities like pin heads, large heads, round heads, absent tails or double heads) means that the sperm are not functioning normally and will be unable to fertilise the egg. In many labs, Kruger “strict” criteria are used so that they can test the sperm normality. Those sperm which are perfect is measured as normal and normal sample should have at least 15% normal forms. It means up to 85% abnormal forms is measured to be acceptable.
Sperm clumping or agglutination:
In microscope, it is seen that sperms stick together to one another in bunches. Due to this, it impairs sperm motility and prevents the sperms from swimming up to cervix towards egg.
All together, one always looks for the total number of “good” sperm in the sample which should have progressively motile sperm and have a normal shaped sperm. This gives the progressively motile sperm count that is simple index of the fertility potential of the sperm.
What does the presence of pus cells in the semen signify?
There are few white blood cells in the semen which is normal and many pus cells suggests that the presence of seminal infection. However, there are many labs which cannot differentiate between sperm precursor cells (those which are found in semen) and pus cells. It means that men are over-treated with antibiotics for a sperm infection that does not really exist.
There are some labs which us computer to do the semen analysis. It is called CASA or computer assisted semen analysis. The result may appear more reliable but still there are many controversies about its real result.
What does normal semen analysis report mean?
Normal sperm report is only reassuring which cannot be repeated. If the semen analysis is normal, there are most doctors who will not even need to examine the man. Remember that just because the sperm count and motility are in the normal range which does not mean that the man is “fertile”. If the sperm display normal motility, it does not mean that they capable of working and fertilizing the egg.
Reasons for bad semen analysis report:
- Incorrect semen collection technique when the sample is not collected properly.
- The time interval is very short since the previous ejaculation
- The time is too long between providing sample and it’s testing in the laboratory.
- Systemic illness in last 3 months
When the sperm test is abnormal, then it will need to be repeated several times over a period of 3-6 months so to confirm whether the abnormality is persistent or not.