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The Ultimate Guide to Sperm Volume

We know that sperm count, sperm motility and morphology are essential when it comes to fertility – but what about sperm volume? The amount of semen you produce can be impacted by lifestyle factors as well as underlying medical conditions. Want to know more? Let’s turn up your knowledge when it comes to male fertility!

 

What is normal sperm volume?

The volume of your sperm (or technically what we’re measuring here is your semen volume) is essentially the amount of semen you produce when you ejaculate.

This can vary from guy to guy, but on average we would like to see a measurement of between 1.5ml and 5ml. If it’s less than 1.5ml that could be cause for concern when it comes to your fertility. To give you a visual, a teaspoon holds around 5ml of liquid, so if you were producing less than 1.5ml, it would be less than a third of a teaspoon!

When analysing your sperm, clinics (and our at-home fertility test) will use the volume you produce to help calculate your total sperm count. They do this by multiplying your sperm concentration (the amount of sperm cells they can see in 1 ml of semen) by your volume.

You ideally want to see a total sperm count of 39 million per ejaculate, and obviously the lower the volume, the harder it is to reach this healthy benchmark.

 

What causes low sperm quantity?

There are a variety of factors that can influence your semen volume. As with most areas of sperm health, some issues can be fixed by addressing lifestyle choices, whilst others may be connected to more complex medical conditions.

Dehydration

Like other bodily fluids, your semen production can be impacted by how much water you drink. Just like your pee becomes more concentrated if you are dehydrated, your semen can become thicker and more sticky if you aren’t drinking enough water. This not only can impact the volume of your sperm, but can also make it harder for the sperm cells in your semen to swim.

Blockages

The ejaculatory ducts allow the flow of sperm from the testes through the reproductive system and eventually out through the urethra. Blockages or obstructions in your ejaculatory ducts can lead to low semen volume or even semen that has little or no sperm cells in it. These blockages may have been there from birth or could be caused by scarring from prior surgery or infection. The best way to discover if you have a blockage is to have an ultrasound,

Prostate Issues

The prostate gland is responsible for around 20-30% of the fluid we see in our semen. Therefore having an issue with your prostate can impact the volume of your sperm. In some cases, this could be down to a blockage or an infection, but it’s important to know that in some cases low semen volume can be a sign of prostate cancer.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation is a condition where some or all of your semen ends up in your bladder when you orgasm, rather than coming out of your penis. This obviously can cause issues with volume of sperm produced and for some men, it will mean they ejaculate no semen at all.

Lifestyle Factors

There are a few lifestyle factors that can impact volume – and they are the usual suspects when it comes to harming your sperm health! Some small studies have identified that smoking can affect sperm volume, as can binge drinking, poor sleep quality and obesity.

 

How can I improve my sperm volume?

If you are concerned about your sperm volume, we would always recommend first trying to address any obvious lifestyle factors that may be impacting it. You can start by…

If you make all these changes and still aren’t seeing an improvement in the amount of sperm you’re producing, it’s probably a good idea to speak to your doctor. They will be able to advise on the next steps and investigations.

Even if your sperm volume is being caused by an underlying medical condition, there is a good chance it can be rectified. Minor surgery can tackle issues including blocked ejaculatory ducts, retrograde ejaculation and prostate issues can also be addressed with surgery or medication.

 

Can I get pregnant with a poor sperm volume?

It is definitely possible to still get pregnant with a low sperm volume, although depending on your sperm concentration, it could be harder for you. It all comes down to the calculation we mentioned earlier. Remember, we want to see around 39 million sperm cells per ejaculate. If you are only producing 1 ml of semen, but in that millimetre, there are 40 million sperm cells, you technically have a better chance of conceiving than someone who produces 3 ml of semen, but only has 2 million sperm cells per millilitre. If you are struggling with both sperm count and volume, this is where problems can arise.

It’s also important to remember that whilst sperm cells are the stars of the show when it comes to conception, your semen still plays a vital role in the protection and travel of those cells, so even if your sperm count is high, it can be helpful to still try to improve your sperm volume.

 

How can I test sperm quantity?

The good news is that, unlike other sperm parameters, volume is actually pretty easy to test for – it can technically be done just by looking at how much semen you produce when you ejaculate. But rather than masturbating onto a teaspoon (that doesn’t sound like good kitchen hygiene practice…) you can use our easy and fast at-home fertility test. Not only does the kit come with a specially designed cup that accurately indicates your sperm volume, but it also tests for sperm motility and count to give you a Total Motile Sperm Count, which is one of the best indicators of male fertility according to the World Health Organisation.

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