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Is there a 'cure' for low sperm count?

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by star100, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. star100

    star100 New commenter


    Have just found out my husband has a low sperm count (very low, about 2 million). We have been trying for a baby for over a year now and undoubtedly this explains our lack of success. I know there a range of lifestyle factors which can affect sperm count and although he is not a t total exercise freak his count I think is too low to explain away by what is a fairly normal lifestyle. After hearing his low sperm count we went to a private fertility centre who told us that to have a baby we will need to have ivf with icsi. I was just wondering if any body has any experience of actually treating low sperm count itself rather than just going straight for fertility treatment? Or maybe there are no real treatments for low sperm counts. Any ideas gratefully appreciated
  2. As far as I'm aware there's no cure for low sperm count, but there are things your OH can do to take care of the swimmers he has. No tight underwater, no hot baths, don't sit with a laptop on his lap, if his job involves sitting for long periods (especially those that drive for s living) to get up and walk around at intervals. Also, zinc supplements are meant to be good for improving sperm quality. HTH.
  3. Hello there, thought I'd share our experience. We decided to see the doc when we couldn't get pregnant after 6 months. We had concerns as my DH had undescended testicles as a child which were operated on but when we googled it said that it could reduce sperm counts dramatically.
    Our first SA came back as 2.2 million [​IMG] and the GP was quite frank and said this was not something that he could just wear loose undies and solve. After doing our own reading about it, DH started taking the men's version of Pregnacare which had the high level of zinc etc and we had another SA which came back as 6 million. This was still considered extremely low so we were referred for ICSI immediately as the GP felt there was very little chance of conceiving naturally.
    Anything below 20 million is considered 'low' so we were still miles off and a good sperm count was something like 100 million. We did the maths and worked out that if 'normal' people had a 25% chance of getting pregnant in any one cycle (so in theory within 4 months) and we had a sperm count of 2% of 'normal' then it would take us something like 8 years to get pregnant if we went on those probabilities alone.
    When we started seeing the fertility clinic they ran another SA just to check there were going to be enough sperm to successfully collect on the day for ICSI and this one came back as 3 million (DH had continued to take the vitamins so it shows it wasn't really working to increase numbers, it was a fluke when it went up to 6 million).
    We had ICSI 8 months after the initial SA and happily I am now 22 weeks pregnant from our first go. [​IMG] The ICSI process wasn't too bad - I found the emotional challenge a lot harder than the physical but it was well worth all the ups and downs to get our BFP.
    Hope this helps x
  4. star100

    star100 New commenter

    Thanks that's really helpful. Glad to hear you got pregnant
  5. I hope you have as much luck as we did - I remember crying when we first heard about how low the sperm count was, it felt like our baby plans were completely scuppered, but it's definitely not the end of the road by any means. We were lucky enough to qualify for NHS funding - have you looked into what your PCT offer? x
  6. star100

    star100 New commenter

    When we heard we went for a private consultation at a fertility clinic who basically said you need to have ivf with icsi. I was upset as all seemed unfair etc etc but in many ways was relieved to have a reason for why we hadn't got pregnant. My husband however is keen to find out if there is anything that can be done medically to raise his sperm count. However from everything I have read there is not. We can afford ivf privately but of course would prefer to do it on the Nhs. The guy at the clinic suggested we paid for one round privately as we would be able to start that quickly and then IF we needed another round get that on Nhs. How long did you have to wait after referral?
  7. Hi Star,
    Just wanted to add our experience....OH was found to have low count, funny shapes and slow swimmers so we thought we would be scuppered too...and because he has kids from a previous marriage we wouldnt qualify for IVF on the NHS. All my fertility was normal. We did all of the things already suggested...vitamins, laptop, hot baths etc. We'd been trying for about 14/15 months and had accepted it was going to be a long time and to try and relax into again and we got pregnant...now happily 22 weeks. We do feel VERY lucky and (TMI warning) getting into it and enjoying sex again was a big influence we think, and certainly the deeper the penetration and gravity on your side (doggy style) we think definitely helped....plus we genuinely enjoyed it!
    Fingers crossed for you and keep ejoying it ;-) JenCC
  8. Not had experience of this but I remember my cousin saying about a friend whose husband had a low count and he reduced his aspartame intake - its found in a lot of sugar free squashes diet fizzy drinks. It might be worth a try good luckxxxxxx
  9. star100

    star100 New commenter

    Thanks. Jen, out of interest how low was your partners count ?
  10. purpleapple

    purpleapple New commenter

    I'll share our experience. My husband has a very sperm count too less than 2 million. He gave up smoking (a huge cause of low sperm count), unfortuantely he couldn't change his job as a chef. So I had him on zinc and vitamin C tablets, which are supposed to help. I wish I could say that we magically manage to reproduce using these measures, but no. Needed help, I had IUI, with a ridiculously low sperm count from hubby (I blame a heavy heavy weekend in dublin exactly 3 months before), but it worked and it was free on the NHS (They were fantastic....I can't imagine how private could be any better). Actually a bit embarassing as I wasn't expecting it to work first time and had yet to start my new job. Turned up to the new job 3 months pregnant. Expecting any day now :)
    Good luck :)
    ps The figures for the sperm count have come back to me 1-2 million, so very very low, both initially and at the time of conception.
  11. Hi Star,
    To be honest I can't remember the numbers.....and he threw the test results away :-( sorry xx
  12. star100

    star100 New commenter

    Thanks again for your resposnes. Purple apple, I found your response really interesting. When we went to the fertility clinic IUI was not even given as an option which I must say I was surprised by, I am young(ish) and there is nothing wrong with my reproductive health. Cannot help but wonder that as we had self referred i.e. wholly private that is why they went straight in with IVF with ICSI. I know I sound cynicil or however you spell it but it is so hard when the doctors have all the info. Yes and Jen there is a part of me that thinks we should just keey trying, but then i Just think ahhh what if we don't get pregnant and I have left it all too long. Never wanted a crystal ball so much in my life!
    Thanks again x
  13. We were referred on Valentine's Day (how romantic!), had our first appointment at fertility clinic in April and started treatment in August. It depends a lot on your PCT waiting times - we were lucky, ours sticks with the NICE guidelines of not leaving anyone waiting more than 18 weeks from referral.
    Regarding IUI - we were never offered this as it was felt it wouldn't work, but it sounds like it has for others. Just thought I'd mention that so you didn't feel the private clinic were suggesting ICSI first for financial reasons [​IMG]
    I felt the same as you (relieved in some ways!) once I'd gotten over the initial sadness at the bad news - at least we knew and hadn't waited for years before finding out. At least now you can move forward in whichever way you feel is best for you and your OH. It certainly took the pressure off each month TTC, checking for OV dates, DTD even when we really weren't in the mood - we went back to 'normal' and DTD when we wanted to when we knew it was fairly futile to try any harder than that!
  14. purpleapple

    purpleapple New commenter

    In my area the NHS offers 4 rounds of IUI then 2 rounds of IVF. The nurse said that there is a 1 in10 chance of conceiving with IUI and 1 in 4 with IVF. Maybe that's why IUI is not offered in private clinics. I guess going through the hormone injections for 6 months with no result would be horrible. But IUI has to be much cheaper and less invasive (basically they centrifuge the sperm to get the good boys and then inject it into you like the the turkey baster method). If there is nothing up with you, I can't see why IUI wouldn't work as well as IVF. I'm already thinking ahead to the next baby and thinking about if someone offers just centrifuging sperm as a service - or is that too simple? Have to do more research. But I do think that alot of fertility treatment could be made a lot cheaper and simpler.
  15. Sorry, me again! [​IMG]Just had a thought about this - when we got our NHS funding, I remembered it said somewhere that if you have had private treatment then they wouldn't fund IVF for you. This is the statement from my PCT (Worcestershire):
    "Couples who have received 3 or more cycles (whether fresh or frozen) previously for fertility problems, regardless of whether the treatment was funded by the NHS or privately funded, will not be eligible for NHS funding."
    Thought I should mention this as it's obviously very expensive and you wouldn't want to miss out on your NHS go on a technicality. I think it's something like £4000+ for ICSI.
    Good luck xx
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  16. Hi there,

    Just wanted to say this isn't the end of your baby dreams! My DH had a low count diagnosis and it seemed so unfair- he has never smoked, hardly drinks (and never to excess) and was fit and healthy. He made a few changes- cutting out excess sugar, choosing organic food and drink whenever possible, took fertility vitamins and went to acupuncture weekly. The next test saw an increase of 16 million! Good Luck!
  17. impis

    impis New commenter

    I remember being in hospital, 34 years ago, undergoing investigation for fertility problems. I met a lady in there, who was going to have a D&C. She was mother to 10 kids. She told me that she and her husband had tried to have children, but had had difficulties. What worked for her, she said, was to 'change the stud'. LOL! I was so shocked! [All her children were from her 2nd marriage, you see].
    34 years ago there was no ivf to cure a low sperm count.
    Back then, you either collected lots of samples and put them all together, to make a good sample, with was inseminated into the woman, [and hoped for the best]
    you used donor sperm.

    I eventually got pregnant, with the help of the fertility clinic.

  18. After about 3 years ttc my husband and I finally went to the doctors to be told that he had a very low count of 2m. We were told that our only chance was IVF and where we live it is no longer available on the nhs ( it would have been if we lived 5 minutes down the road though!
    Anyway, we decided to try IVF with icsi privately and started to save up, in the meantime I bought pregnacare his and her conception just in case!
    Last September when we'd eventually saved enough we made an appointment at a private clinic. They did another SA and we were amazed to find that his sperm count had gone up to 45m! The only thing he'd taken was the pregnacare vitamins. The professor suggested we keep trying now we new that the sperm was ok and in January I found out I'm pregnant!
  19. impis

    impis New commenter

    Wow, Congratulations Kate!!
    Nothing like a happy ending to raise everyone's mood!!


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