Reduced sperm counts

One of the most common reasons for a couples inability to conceive is the reduction of procreativity in the male. The most important examination for the man is the semen analysis (analysis of a semen sample). If the man undertakes this analysis as soon as possible in the beginning of the treatment, this could often spare his wife some unneeded and stressful tests and treatments.

The sperm maturation proceeds in the testicles at around 35°C. The whole developmental cycle takes three months. If the temperature in the testicles is too high, the production stops or the sperms are destroyed. Even a low temperature has inhibitory effects, although the sperms are not destroyed.

The sperm maturation in man starts with puberty and continues until advanced age. During this time, the sperm quality can strongly vary. Therefore, it is necessary to do at least two sperm analyses (semen analysis) within three months, in order to estimate the semen quality. Infections and fever, as well as prolonged sunbathing, sauna and solarium have negative effects on sperm maturation.

The man provides a semen sample after a period of abstinence of 3-5 days. After liquefaction, the sample volume, count of sperms per milliliter, fraction of cells that move rapidly or slowly forwards and the fraction of normally formed sperms can be measured.


The results are compared with reference values provided by the World Health Organization within 60 minutes. Following factors are taken into account for the analysis:

Important: The semen analysis can strongly vary, and one analysis is therefore not significant.

The image shows how the amount of sperm cells per milliliter in a man can vary over several weeks.

Here you can see microscopy images of sperm cells...

Reduced sperm counts2.jpg

Usually the results are summarized in one word: (definitions of the World Health Organization)

  • Normo-zoo-spermia normal ejaculate
  • Oligo-zoo-spermia too few sperm cells
  • Astheno-zoo-spermia too small moving cell fraction
  • Terato-zoo-spermia too small regularly formed cell fraction
  • OAT syndrome grade I-III combination of all three disorders
  • Krypto-zoo-spermia seminal fluid, few sperm cells present
  • A-zoo-spermia seminal fluid, no sperm cells present
  • A-spermia no seminal fluid

If the results are normal (normozoospermia), no control is necessary. In case of a disorder, a control is made after 6-12 weeks. The control can be made already after 2-6 weeks if the results show kryptozoospermia or azoospermia.

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