Improving Semen Parameters

by | November 15th, 2011

You’re having difficulty conceiving, now what? Your wife has completed a fertility evaluation, but what about you?  Your sperm plays a vital role in the conception process, so you need to have an idea of how well they are performing.

A semen analysis gives your physician information about your sperm counts (concentration), morphology (the size and shape of the sperm), and volume based on the specimen provided. Every couple having trouble conceiving should have a full work up that includes a semen analysis to further evaluate the male partner.

Steps You Can Take for Improved Sperm Counts

When you are trying to conceive, the sperm count from a semen analysis should measure 80 million or greater.  If your numbers are lower than this, your physician can make recommendations to improve your counts and increase fertility potential.

Your doctor may first begin with OTC medications and supplements that can improve the fertility potential, such as vitamin E, selenium, L carnitine, acetyl-L carnitine, folic acid, and zinc sulfate.

In some cases, your physician may prescribe medications to adjust the hormonal profile and semen parameters in the hopes of increasing the sperm count.  These medications are not recommended for every patient and are prescribed after evaluation of the male hormones like FSH, LH, Testosterone, and Prolactin, to name a few.  Examples of the medications are Clomid, Arimidex, and HCG.

Infection or inflammation in the genitourinary systems can also contribute to low sperm counts and is indicated when white blood cells (WBC) are found in the sperm specimen upon analysis.  Increased WBC counts are often treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or in rare cases, with antioxidant therapy and sperm harvesting.  Most of the time, we can successfully treat WBC in the sperm specimen with medications.

Issues with the male anatomy can also contribute to a low sperm count.  Varicoceles, blockage of the ejaculatory ducts, and retrograde ejaculation can impact sperm levels.

Try to remember that low sperm counts can often be successfully treated.  If you are having difficulty conceiving, have a thorough evaluation to determine if a low sperm count is a contributing factor. Infertility can affect male partners as well as female partners.  With treatment for low sperm counts, most couples are able to achieve a pregnancy.

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