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Male Infertility: Natural Ways to Increase Low Sperm Count and Motility


Man infertility

Infertility or failure to have a pregnancy was always thought to be a female thing. Do you know that male factor infertility is as common as female factor infertility? So continuing with our infertility series, now we will concentrate on men. Millions of men across the globe suffer from infertility. 

Who can forget that funny hilarious wiki donor movie? At least it started normalizing the discussion around this topic. 

So if you have been trying unprotected for last one year and still not managed to achieve pregnancy, it is important to go to the doctor and get yourself as a couple investigated. The first basic test which is required for the husband or for the partner is a basic semen analysis. It's very very important to know the right technique for the collection of the semen sample. 

How to Collect Semen For Analysis

1. The semen has to be collected after three to five days of abstinence from the intercourse or the masturbation. 

2. The semen sample is collected either in a special container given by the laboratory or it is collected in a condom which is free from any lubricants or any spermicidal agents. 

3. Remember that you must collect the entire semen sample. 

4. It should not spill over. 

5. After that the semen sample must be kept at the ambient temperature which means that it should not turn very cold. 

6. In case you are collecting the sample at home, make sure that the sample reaches the testing laboratory at least 30 to 60 minutes after the collection of the sample. 

7. Avoid taking alcohol, caffeine, drugs like cocaine and marijuana at least five days before the semen analysis. 

Nowadays there are home semen analysis kits also available but the laboratory testing is always better than the home analysis. So now let's understand the normal semen parameters. 

Interpretation of Seminal Fluid Analysis


It should be gray or opalescent. Red means that there is blood, yellow means there could be infection. 

pH level

The pH of the semen should be 7.2 to 7.8. In case the semen is acidic, it can affect the sperm health. 

Semen volume

The amount of semen in a single sample should be more than 1.5 ml. 

Time of liquefaction

This means how much time does the semen takes to convert from a sticky substance to a liquid. Now this is required for the sperms to move fast to reach the egg. Normally it should be 15 to 30 minutes. 

The sperm concentration 

This means number of sperms per ml of the semen. Normal is anything more than 15 million sperms per ml or more than 39 million sperms per ejaculate. When there are absolutely zero sperms in the semen sample, this is known as azoospermia. 


This means that how do sperms look like if there are any defects in the appearance of the sperm. So according to WHO, anything which is more than 4% normal sperms that is normal.

Sperm motility

By and large more than 40% sperms should move well. 

White blood cells count

Now this is a sign of infection or inflammation and obviously there should be no white blood cells in the semen sample. 

What To Do If Your Semen Analysis is Not Good to Increase Your Sperm Count

So what to do if your semen report is not good? Number one, do not panic, the most important cause of a bad semen report is incomplete or the improper collection of the semen sample. So in such cases most of the doctors would advise maybe two or three samples to be collected at a difference of seven days over a period of almost three months. 

Remember low count or low motility does not mean no pregnancy. It just means that probably you would need more time and probably some medical help to achieve pregnancy. 

So what is to be done if your semen count is bad, what's the treatment for that?

Most important, give it time, whatever medications or lifestyle changes you do, they would take minimum of two to three months to reflect any changes. This much of time is needed for the sperm production and its transit along the entire track. 

So be patient and give some time. Obviously no smoking, reduce the alcohol consumption, no substances abuse like cocaine or marijuana. Maintain optimum weight, exercise moderately. 

Remember excessive exercise is bad for the sperms. So avoid anything which can increase the heat in the genital area. Ever thought about it, why the testes are placed outside the body?

The sperms are delicate creatures which are temperature sensitive and hence the nature has put the testes outside the body as even the heat can affect the sperms. So make sure that you wear comfortable innerwear. Avoid keeping the laptops in your lap for a very very long time. 

Stress is bad for the sperms. So make sure that you are working on that too. Diet also plays an important role when it comes to the sperms health. So make sure that you have at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables.

Remember they are rich in antioxidants and they can counteract the damage done by free radicals which could be there in the pollution, industrial chemicals and so on. And in case you're trying for pregnancy, make sure that you have sex every day around the time of ovulation. 

Avoid using any lubricants or if you require use a sperm friendly lube. 

Medical Treatment of Low Sperm Count

So obviously we need to be identifying the cause first and treat that. 

So in case you have a thyroid or diabetes that needs to be treated. In case you have a genital infection that needs to be treated. In case there's a block. Nowadays we have surgeries to reverse that block too. In case you are on certain drugs which are harming the sperm count, obviously they need to be stopped. A lot of people take a lot of antioxidants or supplements or maybe even the testosterone tablets.

So there is very limited evidence as to how much they can work. But in case you decide to take them, always take a prescription from your doctor. In case nothing works, nowadays we have amazing ART techniques which is artificial reproduction technology. 

There is IUI which is intrauterine insemination. Then we have IVF which is the in vitro fertilization. In our subsequent posts in our infertility series we'll be talking in detail about IUI and IVF also. So stay tuned for that.


The good news is that even if there are less number of sperms swimming around, pregnancy is still a possibility. It just means that you probably might take a little longer and you might need a little more help from the medical side to achieve pregnancy. 

Research actually says that unless and until the sperm count is absolutely zero, the pregnancy is very much a possibility. Nowadays we have amazing techniques to extract even that single one sperm to fertilize that egg. So it's important that you do not lose hope and find the right doctor to help you in your infertility journey. 


2. P May-Panloup et al, Genetic male infertility and medically assisted reproduction
Gynecologie, Obstetrique et Fertilite
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