Infertility in Men due to Oligospermia (low sperm count)

Oligospermia – What is it?

When a man ejaculates, the number of sperms should be more than 1.5 crores per millilitre (15 million/ml). If the count falls below this number, the condition is called ‘Oligospermia’ or ‘Oligozoospermia’.  Oligospermia is categorized into 3 types:

  1. Mild Oligospermia – when the sperm count is in between 10 million to 15 million per ml.
  2. Moderate Oligospermia – when the sperm count is between 5 million to 10 million per ml.
  3. Severe Oligospermia – when the sperm count is less than 5 million per ml.

The lower the sperm count, the lesser the chances of fertilization and becoming a father. If a man is able to get his female partner pregnant, doesn’t necessarily mean that he has a healthy sperm count. Men with lower sperm counts will absolutely have no problem impregnating their female partners. But, men who are not able to make her female partner conceive may see a good sexologist for help.


What causes Oligospermia?

Like many cases, it is still not clear why some men suffer with Oligospermia condition. However, there are certain risk factors which can result in lower sperm count.

  1. Varicocele – Enlarged veins in a man’s scrotum. These enlarged veins obstruct normal blood flow to the testicles.  This can impact the production of sperms resulting in Oligospermia.
  2. Infections passed on through sex or other reasons can also cause reduction in sperm count.
  3. Ejaculatory Dysfunction – Retrograde Ejaculation is one such ejaculatory dysfunction where the semen instead of coming out of the penis gets into the bladder. This can also lead to infertility in men.
  4. Injury to reproductive organs, Cancerous and benign tumors, scarring caused by previous surgeries can also affect sperm count in men.
  5. Deficiency of Vitamin D and other important vitamins and minerals can also be a reason for reduced sperm count.
  6. Certain health conditions and medications used to treat those problems can affect sperm count and may cause erection problems.
  7. Imbalance of hormones, exposure to chemicals (for those working in chemical labs or in heavy metal smelting plants).
  8. Overheating of testicles – The reason that testicles are located outside the body is to regulate their temperature and keep them cooler than the normal body temperature. Tight inner wear and working in high temperatures can raise the temperature of testicles and affect sperm production.
  9. Drug abuse, excessive alcohol and smoking can affect sperm production.
  10. Being overweight or obese can affect the sperm count. Men who are obese or overweight can have hormone imbalance that can result in lower sperm production.

Oligospermia & Infertility in Men

As said, it is not necessary that men with sperm count less than 15 million per ml will not be able to impregnate women. Some men even with mild to moderate Oligospermia will be able to impregnate their partner. However, those who are not able to impregnate their partners even after continued attempts should see a sexologist or an audiologist.

Men with good sperm count but still unable to impregnate a woman may be suffering from other problems such as asthenozoospermia or sperm motility issues. In some cases, the morphology (shape) of their sperms may not be good.  In such cases, seeing a specialist should be your first option than trying home remedies without knowing the exact cause of your problem.

Home remedies for men suffering from Oligospermia

  1. Giving gap between ejaculations – At times when your partner is not ovulating, refrain from having sex. Give your body time to produce more sperms.
  2. Track ovulation of your partner – You need to keep track when your partner is ovulating. This happens typically during the middle of her menstrual cycle. (14th day for women who menstruate once in 28 days). Having sex during that window (from 11th to 16th days) can increase the chances of getting her pregnant.
  3. Do not use lubricants – Some lubricants can have spermicidal chemicals that can kill the sperms.
  4. Exposure to sun light – We cannot stress enough on how important it is to expose yourself to sunlight every day. There are countless benefits that sunlight can give a human body and being fertile is just one of them.
  5. Adding nuts and zinc to your diet – Zinc is a very important mineral that is required for the production of healthy sperm and semen. Click the link to read about Zinc and other foods that can help in boosting testosterone levels. 
  6. Maintaining healthy weight – Working out regularly and maintaining healthy weight also boosts fertility in men.

Medical Treatment for Oligospermia

Treatment depends on the root cause of the problem identified by your sexologist.

  1. Varicocele – A surgery will be required to repair the enlarged veins. This allows blood to flow to the testicles.
  2. Medicines – Medicines may be prescribed to treat any infections, inflammation etc. They don’t actually help in increasing the sperm count but help in fixing problems that are affecting the production of sperms.
  3. Hormone Therapy – If your sexologist figures that the issue is due to lack of hormones, you may be put on Hormone replacement therapy.


If none of these treatments seem to work, then, you may have to go for artificial insemination or assisted reproduction.


If you have been trying to conceive with no success for a period of 6 months, you must not delay seeing a good sexologist near you. Metromale Clinic & Fertility Center hosts chennai’s leading sexologists for men and women who are highly trained and been treating hundreds of patients successfully.


  1. First of all, thanks for the very useful info.
    I have some questions, too.
    1) Since you say “Giving gap between ejaculations,” how many days do you think is best?
    2) Does masturbating too much also cause low sperm count?
    3) Does tobacco cause oligospermia as well?

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