If you've recently been presented with the disappointing news that you have low sperm count, you may be simultaneously relieved to finally have a quantifiable reason behind your struggle to conceive and anxious about the choices that now await you. Boosting your sperm count can be an involved and sometimes invasive process, and this may be your first experience with a body that seems at times to betray you. What are your best options when it comes to increasing your sperm count and successfully conceiving a child? Read on to learn more about how you can improve your sperm count, as well as what you can do to up your odds of conception even with a low sperm count.
How can you improve your sperm count and quality?
In many cases, low sperm count can be caused (or exacerbated) by certain lifestyle factors that are fairly easily corrected. Sperm are very sensitive to heat, so avoiding hot baths, extra-long workouts in restrictive gear, and tight underwear can all help prevent the testes from becoming overheated and killing sperm. After a few months of these changes, you may find that your sperm count has improved enough for you and your partner to try to conceive without any further intervention.
In other situations, your low sperm count may be due to a physical issue -- most commonly a varicocele (or varicose vein in the testes) that overheats sperm and prevents it from fully maturing, or a blockage in the vas deferens, which carry sperm from the testes to the urethra. Your doctor may be able to diagnose you with a varicocele by performing a physical examination, whereas a blockage in the vas deferens may require a CT or other imaging scan. Both issues can be resolved through fairly minor surgical procedures that shouldn't leave you with any long-term side effects. If your doctor can't find any physical reason for your low sperm count, he or she may prescribe hormonal medications designed to boost sperm production to see whether this solves your issue.
Can you conceive even with a low sperm count?
If your efforts (or medical interventions) to improve your sperm count aren't successful, there are still some options that can allow you and your partner to conceive.
One method is intrauterine insertion, or IUI. This will require your partner to take some hormonal medications to regulate her menstrual cycle and require you to make a number of sperm deposits at the fertility clinic. Your sperm will be concentrated to improve the odds of conception, and then inserted into your partner when she releases an egg from her Fallopian tubes. Because the sperm is more concentrated and the timing is more exact, this process can improve the odds of conception.
Another method, in vitro fertilization (IVF) requires fertility doctors to create embryos by taking your sperm and fertilizing an egg retrieved from your partner. The embryo is then implanted in your partner's uterus and given a few days to attach itself to the uterine wall. In many cases, the implantation of a healthy embryo is enough to lead to a successful pregnancy -- and because it only takes a single sperm to produce this embryo, your low sperm count is less of an issue.
For more information about your options, contact a company like Advanced Urology Associates.
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