How to Get Pregnant with Low Sperm Count

Sometimes, couples face a decrease in fertility because the man has a low sperm count.  In fact, about a third of the time, infertility is purely a male factor and about a third of the time, the sperm count is a part of a total picture of low fertility in any given couple.
getting pregnant low sperm count

What constitutes a low sperm count?

Detecting a low sperm count can be relatively easy to do.  You simply need to provide a fresh specimen of semen (obtained through masturbation).  The semen is looked at under the microscope to see whether or not there are enough sperm in the sample.

A normal sperm count has a wide range.  It is believed that a normal sperm count is somewhere between 40 million and 300 million sperm per ml of semen.  Those semen samples that have less than 20 million sperm per ml are said to have a low sperm count.

Counts between 20 million and 40 million sperm per ml probably have a harder time with fertilizing an egg successfully but are borderline as to actually being considered to be a low sperm count.  It doesn’t mean that the man is infertile but that it may take longer to fertilize the egg and a longer time before achieving a pregnancy.

Diagnosing a Low Sperm Count

sperm test
When the man gives a specimen of his semen and it is determined that the sperm count is less than 20 million sperm per ml semen, this can be disheartening.  It can negatively impact is self-esteem and can decrease libido because the man doesn’t feel as though he can do his part in the conception of a pregnancy.

If you have been diagnosed with a low sperm count, you need to discuss this openly with your sexual partner so that together you can find ways of overcoming this fertility problem, whether you do this by having sex more often during peak fertility times or decide to engage in some fertility treatments, such as intrauterine sperm insemination.

Natural Ways of Improving Fertility with a Low Sperm Count

You can try to enhance your fertility by not having too much sex or by not having too little sex. It turns out that too much sex can deplete the storage of sperm so that the sperm count will be even lower if you have sex too much.  Having sex about every 2 to 3 days is about the right frequency of intercourse to have the maximum number of sperm in the ejaculate when trying to have a baby.

Of course, you need to time your sex to be in the window of time when the woman is the most fertile.  Women with regular 28-day cycles will ovulate on about the 14th day of the cycle and you should plan to have sex every other day from about the 9th to the 15th day of the menstrual cycle for the maximum chances of conceiving a child.

Another natural way of improving fertility is to make sure that the testicles are at the right temperature.  There is a reason why the testicles are outside the body.  It’s because sperm are more effectively made at a lower body temperature than the normal core body temperature.  Men with low sperm counts should avoid wearing underwear that is too tight and should instead wear boxer shorts that allow the temperature of the sperm to be lower.

Men should also avoid exposure to saunas and hot tubs that can raise the testicular temperature, effectively decreasing the sperm count.  An occasional sauna or hut tub exposure is probably okay but regular use by men with low sperm counts can greatly affect fertility.

A man with a low sperm count should eat a healthy diet and should drink plenty of water.  You need these things in order to have a decent sperm count.  In a sperm-enhancing diet, you should be eating foods that have high-quality fat and plenty of protein to make sperm cells.  The diet should be as low in junk food and sugar as possible.

Exercise can also enhance male fertility.  The exercise should be no more than moderate, as excessive or extreme exercise can negatively impact the semen production.  Wearing tight clothing during exercise will increase the temperature of the testicles and will drive down the sperm count.

Sperm counts can also be affected by the man’s intake of alcohol, cigarettes, and street drugs.  You should stay away from all of these things in order to have sperm that are not only healthy but are of a sufficient quantity in the semen.

There are some herbal remedies out there that are believed to enhance fertility in men who have low sperm counts.  Much of the research proving this to be the case is lacking, however, but most of these supplements won’t hurt you and some of them might just be beneficial in helping you to conceive a child.

Medical Ways of Treating a Low Sperm Count

If all of the natural ways of improving the sperm count have been tried and the couple still can’t conceive a child, the doctor can step in and use medical ways of improving fertility.  One method is intrauterine insemination or IUI.  This involves getting a sampling of the semen, washing the sperm, and then inserting the sperm cells directly into the uterus through a catheter inserted through the cervix.

Another medical way to improve fertility in situations of low sperm count include in vitro fertilization or IVF.  In this procedure, the sperm and eggs come together in a petri dish.  When the eggs become fertilized, they are implanted as embryos inside the woman’s uterus, so that the eggs are already fertilized by the time they reach the uterine environment.

The Bottom Line

The basic fact of the matter is that, even though it just takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, it takes millions of sperm to increase the odds of having that one sperm to get to the right place in order to create an embryo.  Of the 200 million per ml or so of sperm that are in the ejaculate, only a few hundred sperm actually make it too the fallopian tubes.  A healthy sperm cell will release an enzyme that helps the swimming process so the sperm can better reach and penetrate the egg.

Men who have sperm counts of less than 20 million per ml are not considered completely infertile.  In most cases, it simply means that it will take longer, and may take some more finesse and planning in order for the couple to conceive a healthy child.  If natural ways of sperm enhancement fail, there are at least two effective medical ways of enhancing fertility that can greatly increase the chances that a normal pregnancy can be achieved.


  1. Chances Of Getting Pregnant With Low Sperm Count. Accessed 6/6/16.
  2. Misconception: A low sperm count is no big deal. Accessed 6/6/16.
  3. Chances of getting pregnant with a low sperm count. Accessed 6/6/16.


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