Optimizing Fertility Potential in Men with Normal Semen Parameters
What is NORMAL SEMEN ANALYSIS TESTING?
In couples who are having trouble conceiving, about half of the men will have a completely normal semen analysis. What is the definition of "normal" semen analysis results? This is a controversial question. For example, by the latest WHO guidelines, a "normal" sperm density is defined as ≥ 15 million sperm/cc. However, by the WHO's criteria of "normal", if you have a sperm count of exactly 15 million sperm/cc (and thus a "normal" sperm density), you would actually be in the bottom 5% of men who were able to achieve a pregnancy naturally within a year of trying. In addition, of the men in the WHO study who were unable to achieve a pregnancy naturally within a year, 85% of them had a higher sperm density than 15 million/cc.
Clearly, the current definitions of "normal" semen parameters are not optimal. I currently use the following criteria for "normal" when evaluating semen parameters:
1) Total Motile Sperm Count of ≥ 75 million sperm (Note: "Total Motile Sperm Count" is different than "Sperm Density")
2) Sperm Motility Grade ≥ 2
3) Sperm Morphology (Strict Criteria) ≥ 4%
For more detailed information on evaluating semen analysis results, see the "Interpreting Semen Analysis Testing" section of this website which can be accessed by clicking the link below.
If your semen parameters do not fall within the above criteria, then you may want to visit the Abnormal Male Fertility Testing section for information on more aggressive steps that you can take to improve your fertility potential (click on the link below).
Normal Semen Analysis Testing
If your semen analysis parameters do fall within the normal ranges listed above, is there really any benefit from doing any basic interventions from the male side? The answer: Yes.
The semen analysis test remains the single best predictor of a man's fertility potential that the field of medicine currently has available. However, we know that the semen analysis only gives us a rough indication of a man's true fertility capabilities, and misses many subtle factors that may be present on the biochemical and genetic level. It is not uncommon for couples with completely normal semen analysis testing and normal female fertility testing who end up needing interventions such as IVF/ICSI to achieve a pregnancy. Clearly our current testing capabilities are not able to detect all fertility problems, and plenty of men with "normal" semen parameters are actually sub-fertile.
Until technology gets us to the point where fertility testing is much more accurate in detecting all men with decreases in their fertility potential, we feel that all male partners in couples who are having trouble conceiving can potentially benefit from some basic self-guided interventions to help optimize the quality of his sperm. The Sperm Boot Camp takes men through a review of the steps that men can take to maximize the quality of their sperm through non-invasive lifestyle-related changes. These changes can both increase the effectiveness of his sperm in establishing a healthy pregnancy, as well as improve his overall general health.
Click the link below to get started with the Sperm Boot Camp