When a man and woman are on their journey of trying for a baby, they become students of all things related to fertility and conception. One important component of that education is understanding sperm count and sperm motility. When a man has a semen analysis to determine the health of his sperm, you might hear many terms, such as sperm count, sperm morphology (the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape), sperm motility and even ejaculate white blood cell count.
Why should you care about the levels for these measurements? What do some of these numbers mean? And which is more important, sperm count or sperm motility, or both?
Understanding Sperm Count
The simplest measurable part of a man’s reproductive health is sperm count, or the number of sperm in his ejaculate, most often expressed as the number of sperm found per milliliter (ml) of semen with each ejaculation. A sperm count anywhere in the range from 15 million to 150 million per m is considered normal, as long as the total ejaculate sperm count is over 22 million sperm. Because count is a function of sperm numbers per volume of semen fluid, some men will have lower counts per ml, but a normal TOTAL count in the ejaculate (because they have high semen volume). Sperm count should always be viewed as both the count per ml, and the total count for the ejaculate.
Many factors – from a simple virus to environmental factors (e.g. very hot weather) to a hormone imbalance from chemical exposure or even infrequent sex – can cause a low sperm count. Sperm count can be increased through increasing frequency of ejaculation and intercourse, taking antioxidant vitamins, weight loss, and other lifestyle changes. But don’t place all your bets on dad’s sperm count. The number of sperm produced is not the only crucial factor in a man being able to father children.
With Sperm, the Movement Matters
A man might have a normal or high sperm count, but if his sperm motility (i.e. ability to swim) is low it may hinder your ability to conceive. Motility is, simply put, the way sperm move. Sperm with healthy motility move progressively forward, not sluggishly and not traveling in circles.
Specialists have four motility grades they give to sperm, from an A for the straightest, fastest swimmers, to a D for sperm that fail to move at all. When a sample shows that fewer than 32% of sperm don’t swim forward progressively, the motility of that sample is considered low.
While low motility can be caused by genetic or physical issues that cannot be remedied, numerous studies have shown with strong evidence that sperm motility can be improved by changes in a man’s diet and lifestyle changes (weight loss, smoking cessation, less bike riding, antioxidant vitamins, not using car seat heaters and many others). One of the best things a man can do to improve sperm motility is to have frequent intercourse, as this leads to increased testosterone production and more rapid sperm production.
Also, it is important to not add additional roadblocks for sperm. Pre-Seed Fertility-Friendlypersonal lubricant is isotonic and pH balanced to mimic a woman’s fertile fluids so sperm can swim freely. Clinical studies show that Pre-Seed is safe for use when trying to conceive, while leading lubricants like KY Jelly, Astroglide, baby oil, or petroleum jelly can slow down or even damage sperm. Even saliva can be harmful to sperm. Many fertility clinics use Pre-Seed because they know they are using a lubricant that will protect sperm.
The Vital Connection Between Sperm Count and Sperm Motility
It is important for a couple to understand that neither a man’s sperm count or his sperm motility can be analyzed in isolation. The values for “normal” sperm counts and motility were developed by the World Health Organization after studying semen from 4,000 fertile men. Although a high count or a high level of motility can offset a lower corresponding sperm measurement, anytime either count or motility are below guidelines, a man should repeat his semen analysis. You want to make sure that the test was correct before assuming a sperm problem. To help produce the best sample possible, Pre-Seed has been shown in clinical studies to be safe to use as lubrication during sperm collection.
Your doctor will help you analyze the results of your sperm analysis. But be sure to educate yourself as well on becoming healthier to develop a strategy for increasing sperm count or improving motility if the numbers are low.
It Only Takes One
It is vital to have a firm understanding of sperm count and motility as you navigate the often-confusing TTC waters. But it is also important to understand this: even a man with a low sperm count and low motility can help conceive a baby. Even if his odds are reduced, it only takes one strong swimmer to unite with an egg. And with Pre-Seed sperm-friendly lubricant, you will not limit or harm sperm. Also, more stimulating and enjoyable intercourse for the man allows him to produce the best quality sperm with regards to count and motility he can make. Pre-Seed helps baby-making feel fabulous which optimizes sperm production.