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GLOSSARY

Sperm concentration

Sperm concentration, also known as sperm density, is defined as the number of sperm per milliliter of semen. Sperm concentration is one of the most important factors affecting male fertility; normal sperm concentration is over range from 15 million sperm per mL. A semen analysis can be used to measure sperm concentration.

What is sperm concentration?

Sperm concentration, or sperm density, is the number of sperm per milliliter of semen. Sperm concentration is an important influence on fertility.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), normal sperm concentration ranges from 15–259 million sperm per milliliter.

Measuring sperm concentration

To test your sperm concentration, you should get a sperm analysis. This test will measure your sperm concentration along with other important parameters, like count, motility, and morphology

You can choose to get an analysis done at most clinics, where you will be asked to provide a semen sample in a cup. You can also get an analysis done from home with a sperm analysis kit, where you provide a sample from the privacy of your home and ship the sample in a lab.

To calculate sperm concentration, a counting chamber is used to count the number of sperm within a small sample area. The hemocytometer is the most commonly used counting chamber. 

Sperm concentration and male fertility

Male-factor infertility is caused by deficiencies in semen quality, which can include low sperm concentration. Oligospermia refers to low sperm concentration, while azoospermia refers to having no sperm in a semen sample. Low sperm concentration can make conceiving a baby naturally more difficult.

One of the best ways to try to improve sperm concentration and overall sperm quality is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Making changes like quitting smoking, switching to a healthier diet, engaging in regular exercise, and decreasing alcohol consumption can all potentially help increase sperm concentration.

Fertility treatments such as IUI and IVF can help people conceive despite low sperm concentration. A procedure known as ICSI, in which a sperm is injected directly into an egg, may help with even severe male-factor infertility.

Sperm concentration vs. sperm count

Although sperm concentration sounds similar to sperm count, there is a difference. Sperm concentration is the number of sperm in one milliliter of semen. Sperm count is the total number of sperm in a sample (one ejaculate), which can be calculated by multiplying sperm concentration by semen volume.

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