Sperm Count and Motility

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Sperm Count and Motility

Definition of Low Sperm Count

Definition: Low sperm count is when the male has less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

Diagnosis: A sperm analysis where the semen sample is collected and analyzed by your healthcare provider.

What are they looking for?

  • Amount of sperm within semen.
  • Abnormalities in movement and shape of sperm.


  • Surgery
  • Diet and lifestyle changes.
  • Treatment of infections, if applicable.
  • Hormone treatments and medications.

Definition of Motility Issues

Definition: When a low percentage of sperm per milliliter of semen is moving in a forward direction (progressive direction). Less than 35% is considered low.

Diagnosis: You can find out if you have sperm motility issues by having a sperm analysis done by your healthcare provider. A sample of your semen will be examined and they will look at the motility as well as the count and shape (morphology) of the sperm.

What are they looking for?

  • Motility (movement of sperm)
  • Count and shape of sperm.


  • Clomid – (clomiphene) medication can be used.
  • Varicocele surgery- if the male has a Varicocele
  • Various combinations of vitamin and minerals

Potential Causes

  • Varicocele
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Defects to male reproductive system (blockages, tube damages, etc.)
  • Infections (including STD’s)
  • Nutrition and lifestyle (alcohol, tobacco, stress, weight, drug use, etc.)
  • Occupational and environmental hazards (chemicals, radiation, heat, etc.)


  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Surgery, if applicable
  • Treatment of infections, if applicable
  • Hormone treatments and medications
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Testing for Male Factor Infertility

The most common, and probably the first test you will be required to have is the semen analysis. In order to have an analysis on your semen, you will be required to provide a semen sample to your healthcare provider.

What your HCP will learn from your semen analysis:

  • The total number of sperm in the sample – sperm count
  • What percentage of your sperm is moving – sperm motility
  • Are there any sperm shape abnormalities, or are they the right shape? sperm morphology
  • and finally, how much semen is in the sample – semen volume

Additional tests done during the semen analysis can include:

  • pH measure
  • Liquefaction
  • Fructose
  • Cultures (STD testing)

Speak with your healthcare provider on preparation expected so you will get more accurate results. It is wise to refrain from sexual intercourse for 2-3 days prior to the test. Be sure to speak to your HCP with any questions and if you are uncomfortable with any of the process.

Normal levels

Semen volume: 2-5 mL per ejaculation

Sperm count: 15M+ per milliliter of semen

Sperm motility: Greater than 50%