How Many Sperms Should There Be In a Normal Ejaculate?
When there are too few sperm produced in the ejaculate, there will be difficulties fertilising an egg and generating a pregnancy. The body can produce about two or three hundred million sperms every day and although only one will be successful in eventually fertilising the egg, large numbers are required to make the process work. The World Health Organisation has surveyed samples from men all round the world who have not had any problems in starting their families and it has issued guidelines defining normal fertility. This defines normal ejaculate as having at least 15 million sperms per millilitre and at least 39 million in total. It is noteworthy that average sperm counts in the modern world appear to be decreasing by about 1 percent per year or more!
Sub-Normal Sperm Count Terminology
Where a concentration of fewer than the desired 15 million sperms per millilitre is produced in the ejaculate the condition is called oligozoospermia and if fewer than 1 million sperms per millilitre are present we call this criptozoospermia. Where no sperms at all are produced, the condition is called azoospermia.
We recommend that a man abstains from ejaculation for between two and seven days before producing a semen sample for testing or use in fertility treatments. Men should consider this even when trying naturally. More often is not always better as the sperm count can be low.
Whenever fewer than normal numbers of sperms are produced, there can be a number of causes. For example, previous infections such as mumps, chromosomal disorders, or undescended testes can all affect the results.
In cases of azoospermia, ie where sperm count is zero, it is still possible that the body produces them but they just do not appear in the ejaculate. In these cases perfectly usable sperm can often be surgically retrieved.