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Oligospermia is a medical condition describing a person with a low sperm count. Sperms are male gametes. A normal sperm count is more than 15 million sperm per ml of semen. When a person’s sperm count is less than 15 million per ml of semen, the condition is known as oligospermia.

Oligospermia, often known as low sperm count, is also known as oligozoospermia. Both of these names refer to the same condition. Severe Oligospermia is another name for a significantly low sperm count, which is defined as having less than 5 million sperm in one ml of semen.

Chances of Getting Pregnant with Severe Oligospermia

Why does severe Oligospermia occur?

A low sperm count may result from a variety of factors, including:

  • Celiac disease
  • Chromosomal abnormalities, like Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Drugs and Alcohols
  • Ejaculation issues, such as retrograde ejaculation
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Immune system flaws that allow your body to damage sperm
  • Industrial chemicals, heavy metals, or radiation exposure
  • Infections of the male reproductive organs 
  • Obesity
  • Previous operations or injuries
  • Some medications
  • Stress
  • Tumors
  • Use of Tobacco
  • Varicoceles (swollen testicular veins)


How Oligospermia affects male fertility

Despite reduced sperm counts, some men with Oligospermia are nevertheless able to conceive. but for most of the couples it could be a little more challenging. It may require more effort than for couples who aren’t having trouble conceiving.

Some of the most prevalent causes of Oligospermia put a man at risk for additional reproductive problems. Problems with sperm motility fall under this category.

The amount of “active” sperm in a man’s sperm is measured by sperm motility. Sperm may readily swim towards an egg during normal activity and fertilize it.

However, the sperm may not travel fast enough to reach an egg if they have abnormal motility. It’s also possible that the sperm may migrate irregularly, preventing them from reaching the egg.

Read More – Can You Get Pregnant With Azoospermia?

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How is Oligospermia diagnosed?

A medical history will be taken, and your healthcare professional will perform a physical examination. They may also request further testing, such as:

  • Analysis of sperm and sperm function tests
  • Endocrine system tests to determine hormone levels
  • Imaging tests of your reproductive organs, like transrectal and scrotal ultrasounds.
  • Testing for genetic abnormalities 
  • Urinalysis for the detection of retrograde ejaculation (sperm moving backward inside you)

Chances of Getting Pregnant with Severe Oligospermia

IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is the best treatment option for severe oligozoospermia because it ensures that the sperm penetrates the egg cell and fertilization occurs. In addition, ICSI allows doctors to pick only a few sperm under the microscope, making sperm count less important.

The Different Ways to Conceive with Low Sperm Count

Following are different ways to conceive with a Low Sperm Count:

– Low Sperm Count and IUI

For couples with a low sperm count, intrauterine insemination is one of the choices. It is usually recommended in situations of Mild/Moderate Oligospermia since this therapy needs a particular quantity of sperms to assist in the fertilization process, which is not achievable in cases of severe Oligospermia.

It’s a straightforward, cost-effective procedure that normally yields positive results if the woman has no infertility concerns.

– Low Sperm Count and IVF

It’s a sort of assisted reproductive technology in which sperm and eggs are combined in a petri dish and fertilized. After fertilization, the fertilized eggs are placed as embryos into the woman’s uterus.

If spontaneous pregnancy and IUI have failed in certain mild to moderate Oligospermia situations, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the therapy of choice.

– Low Sperm Count and ICSI-IVF

When treating Oligospermia is difficult, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) may be an option. It is a method of assisted reproduction used in combination with IVF.

ICSI involves injecting a single high-quality sperm from the male partner directly into the cytoplasm of a woman’s egg in a lab. Many instances of low sperm count, such as severe Oligospermia, cryptozoospermia, and azoospermia, may benefit from this method.

– ICSI-IVF and surgical sperm extraction

Sperm retrievals are commonly performed in men whose sperm count is low or whose sperm quality is poor, such as in cases of severe Oligospermia and even cryptozoospermia, where 0 to rare sperms are found, and also in cases where men are unable to produce an ejaculate, where sperms can sometimes be directly extracted from the testes or epididymis by sperm aspiration (TESA, Micro-TESE). The retrieved sperm may then be utilized in combination with IVF for ICSI.


Low sperm counts reduce your chances of spontaneously conceiving with your spouse, however it does not rule it out completely. Despite having less sperm, many men with Oligospermia can fertilize their partner’s egg.

Inquire with your doctor about any approaches or strategies that might help you boost your chances of becoming pregnant.


1. Is severe Oligospermia curable?

Even if a man has been diagnosed with Oligospermia, he might still have genetic children. They can conceive spontaneously or use IUI if they have mild Oligospermia. Pregnancy might be obtained using IVF or IVF/ICSI in mild and severe instances.

2. How many sperms are needed for pregnancy?

A woman’s egg may be fertilized with only one active sperm. When a guy with a normal sperm count ejaculates, he produces about 100 million sperm on average. Many sperm must travel from the vaginal canal to the fallopian tube to meet the waiting egg, and this is a difficult voyage that only a few sperm can do it.

3. Can a weak sperm fertilize an egg?

Active sperm may fertilize an egg because they are stronger and swim faster than other sperm. For fertilization, the fittest sperm is required. Weak sperm are unable to fertilize an egg; if they do, the pregnancy will end in an early miscarriage owing to chromosomal abnormalities.

4. What percentage of Severe Oligospermia is treatable?

 Severe Oligospermia may be cured with stem cell therapy, and individuals who have been unable to have children owing to a low sperm count will be able to do so after their sperm quality and quantity have improved. Patients eligible for therapy have a success rate of 95 percent or higher.

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About Author

Dr. Gunjan Gupta Fertility and IVF Specialist in Delhi

Dr. Gunjan Gupta

Gynecologist and IVF specialist
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Dr. Gunjan Gupta is a Gynaecologist with a specialization in IVF, Infertility & Laparoscopy specialist doctor and has close to 2 decades of experience in : Treating Infertility, Performing Gynae Laparoscopy (Keyhole Surgeries) Handing high-risk Pregnancies. She is a Member of Royal College of Obs and Gynae (MRCOG) of UK and has been trained in Laparoscopy at EUDGES (France).

To book an appointment, call: +91-9990044555

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