Sperm Count: Myths & Misconceptions
A man's sperm count, the concentration of sperm in his semen, is important for fertility, but its significance goes beyond that. An abundance of these gametes is typically indicative of good overall health, while sperm problems can alert men to other health issues.
You may think you know everything you need to know about sperm count and why it's important, but do you really? Five common myths often shape people's view of the topic. We're going to dispel them.
Myth: Sperm count and sperm quality are the same thing.
Reality: False. While the two are closely related, sperm count and quality are not the same. The difference is that a man's sperm count measures the concentration of sperm in his semen, while quality determines the overall health of his sperm, which includes criteria such as motility (movement) and age of sperm. It's good for both the count and the quality to be high.
Myth: Men who suffer premature ejaculation have a low sperm count.
Reality: This isn't always the case, but it can be if a man's low testosterone is causing his premature ejaculations, because low-T plays a part in a low sperm count. Premature ejaculation is often a psychological disorder, not just an issue of genital sensitivity, so sperm count can't automatically be made the villain. Also, it's important to be aware that men differ drastically from each other in sexual performance timing, which means judging sperm quality by the amount of time it takes for a man to ejaculate isn't necessarily accurate.
Myth: Sperm count doesn't matter.
Reality: Sperm count really does matter, and not just if a couple is trying to conceive. It is a good indicator of a man's testosterone levels, sexual health and fertility. Sperm count generally lowers with age, which is normal, but a sperm count that is far below average after accounting for age can be a cause for concern. Consulting a urologist about sperm counts can reveal helpful insights into male sexual health and wellness, and may help preemptively discover diseases such as prostatitis or prostate cancer.
Myth: Having too much sex can lower my sperm count.
Reality: Sex generally doesn't lower a guy's sperm count. Men who are trying to get a partner pregnant or who are donating sperm samples for intrauterine insemination can plan the timing of their ejaculation to optimize the concentration of sperm in their semen, but regular sex isn't detrimental to a man's overall sperm count.
Myth: A higher sperm count always means better chances of conception.
Reality: Surprisingly, a higher sperm count isn't always the best scenario. It's possible to reach a point where too many sperm can actually prevent an egg from being successfully fertilized. Why? If multiple sperm cells meet up with an egg, due to too many sperm reaching the fallopian tube, they might cancel one another out and thereby short-circuit the fertilization process. So, yes, higher volumes of sperm can indeed be harmful, sometimes.