Most Men Never Know Whether they Have a Normal Sperm Count

The World Health Organization established a system of classifying male sperm counts and now we have a new standard that states that the total motile sperm count (TMSC) was the best measure of fertility; and the totals needed number in the many millions!

You would need to have an actual test, and don’t confuse this with hormone level testing, which is related to total sperm counts.

The new way is to look at this how many good sperm do you need to become a baby daddy, and give your baby the healthiest pregnancy. Thus, it’s not really a specific number, it’s of course a range of how many of these healthiest sperm would a man need, and you need more than 15 million to become fertile, but counts much higher than that are frequently found.

Not only does the WHO count total numbers, but they categorize you into one of a variety of fairly intimidating categories such as oligozoospermia (semen ejaculated with low number of sperm), astenozoospermia (semen with no sperm), teratozoospermia (semen with many abnormal forms of sperm) or combinations of these and azoospermia. Knowing if you have one of these conditions can have health implications.

This classification is based on values of an important study done many years ago, during more fertile times, when they studied a group of 1953 men with proven fertility.

Although this classification can give you insight as to how likely you are to become a dad, it’s actual predictive value is not very good as men’s counts vary so much from day to day; so your day to day health will affect how healthy a dad you are. About ever 90 days you make all new sperm. Causes of abnormal sperm counts are many. We suggest couple come in for a discussion first whenever pregnancy planning begins, and find out if you need to get that sperm count.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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