Couples who have been trying to conceive without success, tend to start the diagnosis process with a female fertility evaluation. While important, it’s also crucial to examine the male partner since sperm plays a vital role in the conception process. In reality, a simple semen analysis with provide the physician with important information about sperm counts (concentration), morphology (the size and shape of the sperm), and volume based on the specimen provided. It is recommended that every couple having trouble conceiving should have a full work up that includes a semen analysis to further evaluate the male partner.
Improving sperm counts
When trying to conceive, the sperm count from a semen analysis should measure 80 million or greater. If numbers are lower than this, the physician can make recommendations to improve sperm counts and increase the potential for a successful pregnancy. The provider may recommended over-the-counter medications or supplements that may improve fertility. Supplements may include Vitamin E, Selenium, L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Folic Acid, and Zinc Sulfate. In terms of improving fertility, these supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a physician.
In some cases, the 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, among others. Medications may include Clomid, Arimidex, and HCG.
Infection or inflammation in the genitourinary systems can also contribute to low sperm counts. These conditions may be indicated when white blood cells (WBC) are found in the sperm specimen. Increased WBC counts are often treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or in rare cases, with antioxidant therapy and sperm harvesting. Issues with the male anatomy, varicoceles, blockage of the ejaculatory ducts, and retrograde ejaculation can also contribute to a low sperm count.
In most cases, low sperm counts can often be treated successfully, however, treatment will not necessarily guarantee conception. At Urology Austin, we diagnose and treat male infertility. If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving and would like a male fertility evaluation, contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment at the office nearest you.