Causes of low sperm count
- Problems with sperm production – such problems can be genetic (for example Klinefelter’s syndrome) or based on a hormonal disorder
- Testicular injury and disease – injuries that affect the testicles may affect sperm production and cause low sperm count
- Malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies – deficiency of some nutrients (for example Zinc, Selenium, vitamin C, etc.) may also lead to low sperm coun
- Smoking – smoking cigarettes may impair male fertility since it is known to reduce sperm count and sperm lifespan
- Drugs – the use of cocaine and heavy marijuana is known to reduce sperm count by 50%
- Excessive alcohol consumption – alcohol is toxic to sperm and may reduce sperm count and quality
- Prescribed medications – many prescription medications are known to reduce sperm count and decrease fertility
- Environmental toxins, radiation and heavy metals – a number of environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins or chemicals, can reduce sperm count either by affecting testicular function directly or by affecting the hormone system
- Obesity – many studies find association between low sperm count and obesity in men
- Stress and excessive physical or mental exertion – these can cause some hormonal changes in the body that can affect sperm count and fertility
Not all sperm cells are capable of fertilizing
However, not all of them will be normally shaped. Some may have two heads or two tails or may have some other important constituent missing, which makes it incapable of reaching or fertilizing an egg.
That’s not all, some of these sperms will be dead so they are no good for fertilization purposes. There will be other sperms that will not be motile. Motility refers to the swimming capacity or the ability of the sperm to move in a forward and straight direction towards the egg. If it is not quick enough, it may die before it reaches the egg.
The survival time of sperm in a woman’s body also plays a role
You also need to consider the amount of time the sperm can survive in a woman’s reproductive system. Typically, sperm can survive around one to four days in a woman’s body. The survival time depends on various factors such as the health of sperm and the environment inside the female reproductive system.
When all these factors are combined, it actually reduces the amount of sperm capable of causing conception to around 50 percent. But even this provides good chances of getting the woman pregnant.
Sperm count, motility, and morphology
Low sperm count is one of the factors that are considered to reduce your chances of conceiving. So are motility and shape of the sperm cells. However, whether a sperm cell is able to fertilize an egg is purely a gamble. This is why even men with low sperm count are able to get a woman pregnant without any efforts whereas others with normal sperm count often end up trying for one whole year to conceive.
Of course, there are many other factors that may be playing a role here such as timing of sex and the woman’s age.