What Is A Normal Sperm Count?

If you're trying to conceive, you know how important sperm count is. In addition to movement (motility) and shape, the number of sperm is important for male fertility, but what is a normal amount to have?

According to the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, around 10% of American couples experience infertility, which is defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of trying. Approximately 40-50% of these cases are due to male infertility, which can be due to one or more factors of low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm shape.

If you're experiencing infertility, a doctor may recommend a semen analysis, which tests a man's semen for sperm count, motility, and shape (via WebMD). A semen sample is provided, before which they'll ask that you don't have sex or masturbate for 2-5 days, as well as limit your alcohol intake. Some drugs and medications can affect the test as well, such as marijuana, testosterone supplements, steroids, and opiates. The lab will process the sample and also give you results such as semen volume, chemical makeup, and fructose level.

What should a sperm count be?

Normal sperm counts range from 15 million to 200 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of semen, according to Healthline. This also averages about 39 to 928 million sperm per ejaculate, as a typical ejaculate volume is 1.5 to 7.6 mL. A sperm count less than 15 million per mL is considered low, also known as oligospermia, while a count over 200 million is considered high or above average. A healthy sperm count will increase your likelihood of conceiving.

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, there is a correlation between body mass index (BMI) and low sperm count. The study found that men who are overweight, or have a high BMI, are more likely to have a low sperm count than men who have a normal weight. In particular, men who were considered obese were more likely to have a low sperm count and much more likely to not produce any sperm at all. Men with low sperm counts more frequently have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (via Healthline).

In addition to sperm count, healthy sperm is characterized by 60% to 80% of sperm actively moving and 70% to 90% normally shaped (via University of Rochester Medical Center).