Sperm analysis results.... disappointment, confusion, tears

My OH got the results of his semen analysis today and we have frantically googled to try and understand them.

The worries:

1) Sperm count is 18million, which I think is considered low but doctor not too worried about that.

2) Motility is 10% which is flagged as low and probably quite a problem.

3) Sperm mean forward progression is 1 and this seems to mean that they are moving but failing to progress forward.

4) The leukocytes are 25 which is quite high (reference range is 0-5). This may mean an infection but we asked GP about this and he didn't agree and felt antibiotics won't help.

I'm not sure what to do now. I don't know if we have interpreted the results correctly. Do we do another sample? Do we book a fertility appointment? An initial fertility check is €400..... I'm guessing it is time we both get tested fully.

Any advice appreciated on where to go from here.

Thank you.

29 Replies

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  • Hi, I can't give much advice about the sperm analysis other than to say there are lots of things they can do to improve sperm mobility, has your GP referred you to the hospital now?

    We had the fertility assessment and I would really recommend it if you can. They'll do another sperm sample check and for you they'll do blood tests to check your AMH and I also got an internal scan so they could check my uterus and ovaries. I found that very reassuring and we were able to actually see and count my follicles. Mine was Β£300, so maybe shop around a bit x

  • Thank you. Yes I think we will book the full assessment for us both.

  • Hi KatieMaria. Sorry to hear this, but his sperm is usable in an ICSI cycle. Any man with any under par reading, should have a repeat analysis done 2 months after the last one. I would have thought that your GP would have offered a course of antibiotics, which could hopefully sort out any infection which might lead to a slightly improved result. The amount of sperm should be 20 million or more per millilitre of semen, then you can work out the percentages from there. Hope there will be an improvement, but try not to despair, maybe not how you would prefer to get pregnant, but if it doesn't happen naturally, ICSI will be the way to go. Hope all is sorted for you both. Diane

  • Thanks Diane. Why do you say that ICSI may be the way to go? Is this instead of IVF? I'm sorry I don't really understand this. Thank you

  • ICSI is a type of IVF. Instead of letting the sperm find the egg in a dish like it is in traditional IVF, the embryologist selects a sperm and injects it directly into the egg. They can do this for as many eggs they get from you when they collect your eggs. It means that motility is no longer an issue. My hubby and I had ICSI. Any questions, just shout. xxx

  • Thanks Mrs C. I don't know anybody who has had this before. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions!

  • People still often say they've had ivf rather than icsi because it's almost the same process (except that little bit in the lab) and they know no-one will understand if they say they've had icsi! So you might know someone but not know you know, if you know what I mean! 😊

  • Hi. "Mrs C has explained it well. It's still IVF with the addition of ICSI where a sperm is injected into an egg when it can't get in on its own. Good luck! Diane

  • Hi Katie,

    I think you guys will be okay, is your OH taking sperm supplements to help improve count and motility? If not, it will take at least 3-6 months of regular supplements and then his sperm should be healthier. My OH had a count of 1.2 million and 98% were not moving at all. We had ICSI and the embryos fertilised but I unfortunately miscarried both times, but I think my OH has more of an underlying issue as he was an IVF baby himself, so that might have something to do with it. It however sounds like you will be able to do this naturally, also my OH's first sample was awful compared to his second, so stay positive, have faith and look after yourselves and it will happen!! If it doesnt, you are in the right place for support as we all been through different fertility issues xx

  • Thank you. Im so sorry to hear of your misscarriages.

    I was just looking up supplements to see what he should start taking. Maybe further samples will improve then.

  • It will make a difference, even with my OH it made a significant different in that his count has tripled, it just unfortunately takes more time. I would suggest having supplements for at least 4 months and then do another test xx

  • Thanks is there any supplements in particular we should think about from your OH experience?

  • My OH used the wellman one you can get in Boots, usually 3for2 however some of the other women on here may be able to recommend other ones that aren't high street brands x

  • Mine used Wellman and I took Pregnacare or Biocare Antenatal Forte but they are really pricey! xxx

  • Hi there, my other half took zinc and selenium and those coupled with giving up smoking and cutting down on caffeine gave him a much better count when it came to them getting a sample for icsi. His test results both times were awful so they made him give another one when I'd started treatment a few monhs later, so they could freeze it "just in case" they couldn't get a decent sample on the day of egg collection. As it stands that sample was the one that was so much better than his test samples which I believe are because of these supplements and life style change...he even managed to give a good fresh sample on the day! Icsi worked for us 2nd time...now 12wks pregnant xxx

  • Fantastic, congrats. Wishing you all the best x

  • Hi KatieMaria i think this all sounds like it is possible to improve. My husband has about the same sperm count but improved by quitting smoking, eating healthy and taking the vitamins. I don't remember us having feedback on sperm progression, but motility is generally considered how the sperm moves (its categorised into forward movement, progress, number moving, direction etc) I can't remember the categories but a Google search should find it, or ask your clinic. If he smokes tell him to stop, and cutting down on alcohol helps too. I don't know much about the infection side of it myself, but a friend had the same problem - her husband was prescribed antibiotics and they were pregnant within a few months after trying for years, so I think this is worth enquiring about. I wouldn't bother taking another test until he's been on the vitamins for a couple of months at least. Good luck, am sure it will be absolutely fine xxx

  • Thank you. It is lovely to hear from other people's experience of similar situations.

  • Hi Katie,

    My OH and I have not long finished our second ICSI cycle, the only difference from IVF being how the eggs are fertilised at the very end of the process - so to avoid having the blank looks from family or friends I've tended to tell them we're having IVF instead because that's better known.

    Like yours my OH had low count and motility on his first sample (also morphology), he managed to improve it by taking Wellman conception vitamins, extra vit C and Ubiquinol, cutting down significantly on caffeine and alcohol and exercising more/losing weight. Like others have said though the improvement takes time as it takes at least 3 months for the sperm to get the benefit and be produced for the sample. It's a slow road but it was really great to see an improvement, not just for his second test but also when giving a sample for the two ICSI cycles. Of course with modern science giving us IVF/ICSI we have a helping hand but it's always nice to try and make sure everything is as good as it can be even for that :)

    If you have any specific questions feel free to ping me a message.

    Good luck xx

  • Hello Katie, I've sent you a private message. Hope it helps to understand things anbit more

  • Hi,

    I'm not an expert but your results don't sound awful.

    My husbands first count was 3 million and all issues with shape and movement.

    He changed his lifestyle like giving up smoking, no hot baths etc.

    On our first round of ICSI his count had increased to 15 million!

    And the clinic said they had plenty of good ones to choose from.

    Good luck x

  • Really... we are worried because of different indicators being low or poor results. Part of me is afraid we are interpreting it wrong. It's so difficult when you are told over the phone and receive the result later on a piece of paper. I'm hoping a consultation appointment will help and we will make changes if they may help.

  • With ICSI you just need a single good sperm per egg. It doesn't need to move or do anything. They pick out the best single sperm and implant it in the egg.

    It is all so confusing.

    I know it doesn't help us, but I know someone who's husband doesn't have a single sperm! So it could be a lot worse. If you have some, you'v got a chance. X

  • 😊 ok I like that point!

  • Hey my partners first analysis was 6 million and 5% motility pretty bad. He made a few changes and did a retest 3 months came back 17 million and normal motility. We got pregnant naturally within the next 6 months. Try not to stress to much I know I did when I heard those results I thought that was it for us but it can be improved! Besides anything above 17 million per ml is normal and signed off by NHS. It took us 3 years but we did get there in the end xxx

  • Do some reading yourself as I believe sperm rejuvenates in cycles so you are definately not out of the game. There are so many factors for success and failure while TTC I wonder how some find it so easy and others so hard. Wish you both all the best x

  • I second what the other ladies have said about improving sperm but even if results are still poor after lifestyle change ICSI only needs a few good sperm so don't lose hope. We had low count, motility and morphology issues and it worked for us. Are you UK based? If your results are bad then your GP should be referring you to see a specialist consultant on the NHS, you shouldn't need to pay for a private consultation. There is fundjng criteria to be met if you do go down IVF/ICSI route and this can differ in different areas of the country but you should be able to get all your initial investigations done on NHS. I'd speak to your GP again to find out what next steps are.

  • Thank you. We live in Ireland so no fertility treatments are funded unfortunately.

  • That's a shame. From what you've said it does sound like it would be worth seeing a specialist. What else did your GP say apart from he doesn't think it's an infection? Does he think it can be improved? If you def have to pay for fertility treatment then it's worth seeing if healthier lifestyle etc can improve sperm quality before going down the ICSI route.

    As others have said any improvements take at least 3 months. A sperm lifecycle is 100 days so it takes that long to improve the quality of the sperm that is being used to try and fertilise your eggs (either naturally or via IVF/ICSI). As well as supplements/healthier lifestyle (inc no caffeine, alcohol, smoking) he needs to keep his testicles cool. So no hot baths, loose fitting underwear, don't sit with laptop on knee, no mobile phone in trousers pocket (this was the bit my hubby really struggled with). Good luck!

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