Mild sperm issues are tricky for women over 35, here’s why:
If you are trying for a while to get pregnant, chances are you’ve heard of sperm issues to contribute to infertility in couples to 40%. So, the importance of testing sperm can’t be overestimated. Basically, you have two options:
Testing sperm in the clinic
If you are over 35 and TTC for over six months, it is best to make a visit to a doctor together. You still have a privilege of feeling innocently relaxed, and can take this tour as a short and funny visit to another planet. Nothing special will happen there anyway: you will be asked silly questions and realize that many more couples sit in the waiting room for the same reason. Your partner may even get to watch some soft porn to help him leave a sperm sample, and then you will go home. How complicated is that?
When it comes to checking sperm, there really is no need to agonize and have exhausting long discussions over the issue.
This is what a quick (and cheap) laboratory test will let you know:
- sperm count (total and number per milliliter)
- vitality (how many are alive)
- motility (there are subcategories to this)
- several other fine details
Results will most likely be summarized in a few sentences on the laboratory sheet; if not, you will need to ask one of the qualified people in the clinic to help you understand it.
It is important that you don’t jump to conclusions and don’t interpret numbers yourself!
Just like eggs, sperm live in their own funny world which is quite different from ours, and certain numbers or behaviors don’t make sense for us.
If the results of the semen check are good, this can relieve a lot of tension. If not, it will save you time by letting you know that there may be some waiting on the horizon.
What about sperm values that are somewhere in between? Not entirely negative, but not optimal to make you pregnant, either?
Such situations are called “mild sperm issues” and are actually very common nowadays.
In itself, it is not a big problem, but for women over 35 or otherwise impatient, it can be a serious issue and for that reason I want to say a few words about it.
First, if your partner has a mild sperm issue, you will need the help of a specialist to find out more about what it means in your particular case. There will probably be some waiting, or some luck involved to get you pregnant, both of which you can’t control, which can create tension. Generally, it is possible for men with mild sperm issues to father children, and vice versa. This alone is not the deciding factor on the fertility of men. The only true measure of sperm’s fertility is its ability to cause pregnancy.
There is a whole lot of magic and mystery related to the moment of conception and that is good. If we knew more, maybe we would destroy its divinity.
For women who don’t have much time to get pregnant, mild sperm issues can be tricky to deal with. The reason is that they partners can make them pregnant, but there is more waiting, timing and luck involved. This happens at the same time that your eggs are disappearing, declining in quality, and at some point you may see your own fertility fade away. Depending on how long you have been trying already, this may have a negative impact on your relationship.
Therefore a mild sperm issue will affect women of different ages differently – your eggs are always a limiting factor and you need to fit your possibilities around them. So love them, feed them, and care for them.
Testing sperm at home
Even if I recommend that you and your partner go and visit a specialist, I do see some advantages of home sperm tests. Home tests are especially good for women who only need a rough estimate of the sperm count, a go-light for their partner’s sperm so to say, or for women who are not in a long-term relationship and might feel uncomfortable talking to their partner about having his sperm tested at this early stage.
Testing sperm in a home-test is as easy as testing for pregnancy or ovulation. I can well imagine that soon it will cost less then $30-40, and that new generations of women will become comfortable with using it.
To check the sperm count, a drop of semen needs to be mixed in a solution, and then a few drops of this mixture placed onto a test strip.
Easy, right? I think this kind of test makes a perfect exercise in a biology course.
In just a few minutes, the result window displays whether the sperm count is on the acceptable level. The sperm count is considered low when below 20 million per milliliter. Everything above that is well suited for baby making. In theory at least.
Here is a short summary of what you should know if you decide to do a sperm check at home.
Home-run sperm tests just give an estimate of the sperm count, but not the actual fertility of a man. Even tests done in the clinic need to be repeated at least once, and best thing to do is put a 2-3 months spacing inbetween. The reason for this is that sperm values often oscillate and only repeated testing can uncover any mild underlying infertility issues.
The good news is, whatever the numbers are, there is no need to be anxious. Even if your partner has serious sperm issues, as long as there are live sperm in the ejaculate, this will most likely suffice to fertilize all the eggs you have left. Likely you and your partner will need medical help in this, but your chances to become parents are generally good. It is eggs which are the single most limiting factor, which is why I focus so much on them on this website. Summarized, even when sperm issues account for up to one half of all fertility issues, they are easier ones to be circumvented.