What is Oligozoospermia?

Oligozoospermia is diagnosed when the concentration of sperm in semen is less than 15million/ml. As in Azoospermia, the semen analysis should be repeated twice. There are many reasons for Oligozoospermia. Endocrinopathies are a predominant reason for a reducing sperm count. Prolactinomas are notorious for reducing sperm counts.

Genetic factors like Y chromosome microdeletions occur in 6% of men with low sperm counts. An abnormal karyotype is seen in about 2% of these men. Varicoceles have always been a point of semantics for ages. However, there is a lot of irrefutable evidence to prove that varicoceles do affect semen parameters.

Classification of Oligozoospermia

Depending on the quantity of sperm present in a man’s sperm, Oligozoospermia is classified into 3 types:

  1. Mild – When the sperm count is between 5 to 14 million / millimeter of semen
  2. Moderate – When the sperm count is between 1 to 5 million / mm of semen
  3. Severe – When the sperm count is less than 1 million / mm of semen.

What is Cryptozoospermia?

Cryptozoospermia is a special case of Oligozoospermia when the sperm count is less than 100,000 in one millimeter of semen.


What are the possible reasons for Oligozoospermia?

  1. Sperm travels from testes to the urethra. When there is a partial obstruction of the ducts, oligozoospermia condition can be experienced.
  2. Varicocele
  3. Problems in Epididymis (the place where the development of sperms happen)
  4. Trauma or inflammation of testicles (for any reason, injury or infection etc)
  5. Due to side effects of medication or negative effects of drugs, alcohol, tobacco products etc.
  6. Lifestyle related – activities that increase the temperature of the testicles (clothing, saunas etc).

If left untreated or unrecognized, Oligozoospermia can turn into cryptozoospermia (very low concentration of sperms in semen as mentioned above) or into azoospermia, a condition where the sperms are completely absent.

If such a decline in sperm concentration is noticed, it is advised to go for cryopreservation of the gametes which can later be used for IVF.

Video on How to improve Sperm count & Motility