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Pregnancy and sperm count

Are you worried about how sperm count affects getting pregnant? Well, you are not alone! Here is your answer.


Dear Ashtyn,

My husband recently found out that he has a low sperm count. I am worried that we won’t be able to conceive. What options do we have? We both want children and are willing to do whatever we can to become parents. Thanks!



Hello Stella! Thanks so much for emailing. It is so rare that I get to answer a question about pregnancy that the opportunity to do so is nice.

First, let me say that while your husband might have a low sperm count, unless he has additional problems, he may still be able to help you conceive a child. The first bit of advice is to keep up what you are doing. Try to have sex during those times when you believe you are most fertile, but also whenever the mood strikes you. Some of the best conception stories come from the time when the woman didn’t plan to have sex or wasn’t in that overly “fertile” time of the month. Remember that each woman is different and her time to conceive will differ based on many different factors.

If you have been trying to have a baby for more than a year, you may want to consider other options, though you should keep trying on your own until you are certain you want to go in another fertility direction. Approximately 10% of men with low sperm counts will help to conceive a child within the first year or two in which the couple has been trying to have a child.

If you have been trying without success, there are other options. First, you need to make sure that you are healthy as well. If you are, you can choose a few different routes. The first one is going to a sperm bank or finding a sperm donor for artificial insemination. With a sperm bank, you have the anonymity factor. This person does not know you. You can pick out sperm based on looks, intelligence levels, body types, family history, race, religion, ethnicity, and so on. Some people go the friend/relative route. If your husband has a brother who is willing to donate sperm, then your husband will still be genetically related to your child. While this may seem unconventional, it is always an option. Some couples just seem more comfortable going with a friend or family member instead of a stranger and that is okay.

Another option is fertility treatments and IVF. You are better off going with a sperm donor merely because IVF is more expensive, has more risks, and you are more likely to get multiple births (twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, etc.) from IVF. Doctors are more likely to offer IVF to a woman with a fertility problem as opposed to the man having a low sperm count. You should really talk to a fertility doctor about this option.

You could consider having a friend, family member — or even a surrogate — to carry your child. Again, this is typically done when a woman is having fertility problems though some people might be willing to do this for you, for the right price. This opens up the question, “Where are you going to get the sperm?”

Finally, you should consider adoption. There are many children around the world who are in need of good homes. The United States, in particular, has many programs that work with places in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Central America. There are also domestic adoption agencies. I don’t know if you are in the United States, but this can be quite an expensive option that requires months (sometimes years) of dedication. Of course, the end result is always worth it. If you have the money, I highly recommend you consider adoption as an option.

I hope this information helps you out, and good luck with whatever you decide!

For much more information on fertility, conception, pregnancy and babies, visit our sister site, Pregnancy & Baby!

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