What Should Be The Minimum Sperm Count To Get Pregnant?

Pregnancy is successful implantation of the fetus in the uterine wall due to successful fertilization of the ovum by sperm. Typically, millions of sperms are ejaculated at a time during a sexual intercourse. Out of them, only one sperm fertilizes the ovum. The sperms release an enzyme that helps them to float to the ovum. Only strong sperms can reach the ovum out of millions of sperms. The sperm count is considered normal if is equal or greater than 20 million per milliliter of a single ejaculate.

What Should Be The Minimum Sperm Count To Get Pregnant?

What Should Be The Minimum Sperm Count To Get Pregnant?

Pregnancy depends on the fertilization of a female egg by a male sperm. Millions of sperms are ejaculated during a sexual intercourse. Still, only a lucky sperm can meet the egg and fertilize it. Sperm can survive 48-72 hours after ejaculation.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, minimum of 9 million per millimeter of sperms should be present in semen for pregnancy. It is possible that men with lower sperm count can still conceive a child, but this process might take a long time. Sperm count lower than 15-20 million per milliliter has little chances of natural conception. The sperm count lower than 10 million per milliliter require assistance in reproduction. IUI and cervical cap conception are recommended for males with sperm count 1-3 million per millimeter. For sperm count below 1 million per mL, IVF (in – vitro fertilization) with the help of ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) is needed to isolate single sperm in order to fertilize and implant in females to grow into a healthy baby.

Sperms are short lived. They are produced in the testicle. Sperms develop from a germ cell to become fully mature sperm that can fertilize an egg successfully. For maturation, sperm requires proper nutrition and temperature. Sperms remain in long tube named epididymis after production and they are ejected out only during ejaculation. Their lifespan in epididymis is only one week after which they die.

During a sexual intercourse, sperms are ejaculated into the vagina. Here, they are in constant danger. An acidic discharge is constantly secreted in the vagina to protect it from potential infections. During intercourse, a sperm friendly fluid is secreted in the females to help the sperm swim towards the egg. Many sperms die in the cervix and cannot reach their destination. In the uterus, white blood cells consider sperms as invaders and attack them. Strong sperms struggle, survive and swim to the fallopian tubes avoiding the white blood cells. Out of millions of sperm, only a few can reach fallopian tube where they meet the egg to fertilize. Therefore, sperms must be able to survive until they meet the egg and fertilize it.

The sperms that are healthy and strong can meet the egg successfully to fertilize. Sperms that can swim better can also reach the fallopian tube. Even if a man has low sperm count but his sperms are healthy and can swim better has good chances of conception. It should be noted that there should be no fertility issues in females too for successful conception.

Sperm count is the concentration of sperm present in a given sample of semen. It varies from person to person. It ranges from 0 to 300 million per millimeter. According to the World Health Organization guidelines, the healthy sperm count is 20 million sperm per milliliter in semen of volume 2 ml. A large numbers of sperms in the semen are required to ensure that sperms can travel to fallopian tubes, fertilize the female egg and result in pregnancy.


To get pregnant, a healthy female egg must be fertilized by a healthy sperm. Sperm has to travel through the vagina, cervix and fallopian tube to meet the matured egg. For this reason, the sperm count should be healthy. 9 million per millimeter of semen is the minimum sperm count essential to get pregnant.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 16, 2024

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