Abnormal sperm analysis

What to Do if You Get an Abnormal Semen Analysis

If you did a semen analysis and the results were abnormal, it means that one or more factors didn’t meet the medical standards for healthy sperm or semen. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to conceive a child. The first step will be more testing to learn more. To find out what can cause an abnormal semen analysis and what to do next, keep reading. Spoiler alert: there are lots of ways to improve the health of your sperm naturally along with medical treatments for male fertility. 

What causes an abnormal semen analysis?

There are many potential reasons a semen analysis can show abnormal results. Certain lifestyle choices, medical conditions, and genetics can all cause abnormal sperm production or blockages that don’t allow semen through. 

Here are the various causes: 

  • Infections (such as STIs)
  • Testicular trauma
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Previous vasectomy or abdominal/pelvic surgery
  • Undescended testicle(s)
  • Medical conditions such as tumors and genetic illnesses like sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Medications
  • Radiation to treat cancer
  • Varicose (enlarged) veins on the scrotum 
  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Taking steroids or using other illegal drugs
  • Obesity
  • Heat
  • Age (especially after age 50)

If you were recently ill or didn’t refrain from ejaculating a few days before your test, your results may have been affected. 

What’s the next step after an abnormal semen analysis?

Your doctor will likely do a second semen analysis first to confirm if the results are truly  abnormal. Keep in mind that sperm count and semen quality can change over time. Plus, your testicles are constantly producing more sperm – unlike women who are born with all of the eggs they’ll ever have

If another test shows abnormal results, you may be referred to a male fertility specialist (called a urologist) for further testing. These tests can show if enough of your sperm are alive, if antibodies are preventing sperm motility, or if you have an infection or inflammation. You can also be tested for hormone imbalances and side effects of medications. 

In case your results show that you have a low sperm count, your doctor may test your genes for anything causing abnormal sperm production. Your doctor may examine your chromosomes and look if you have blockages preventing you from releasing sperm during ejaculation. 

Can you still get a woman pregnant with abnormal sperm?

An abnormal semen analysis doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t conceive a baby. It’s still possible to get a woman pregnant with abnormal sperm, but it may take longer or be more difficult to do so naturally. 

Furthermore, a semen analysis isn’t the only test for male fertility. Other tests mentioned previously are often necessary to confirm if there’s really male factor infertility at play and to find the potential cause. 

How to make healthy sperm

Changing your lifestyle can have a big impact on your overall and reproductive health and help you produce more healthy sperm. Here’s how to boost male fertility naturally:

  • Get to a healthy weight: Research shows that a higher body mass index (BMI) is connected to low sperm count and decreased sperm motility (movement). BMI and female fertility are also closely linked. 
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Studies show that a diet full of fruits and veggies, seafood, and lean protein can improve sperm health. Avoid a lot of red and processed meat, fried and junk food, and excess soy. Learn more in our article: How to Improve Sperm Health Through Your Diet. 
  • Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity. 
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can harm sperm quality and reduce semen volume. 
  • Don’t smoke or use drugs: Smoking cigarettes can lower sperm counts and impair sperm motility. Anabolic steroids, marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine can also harm sperm health. 
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Heavy drinking can interfere with testosterone and sperm production and cause abnormalities.
  • Limit caffeine: Drinking caffeinated sodas and energy drinks can harm male fertility, studies show.  
  • Stay cool: The testicals should have a cooler temperature than the rest of the body to optimize sperm production. Limit time in hot tubs and saunas and don’t work with your laptop on your lap.
  • Manage stress: High stress levels can cause sperm abnormalities and hormone imbalances. If you feel stressed, try out different ways to help you unwind.
  • Avoid environmental toxins: Pesticides, lead, BPA, organic fumes, solvents and other toxins can be harmful to sperm. If your work involves contact with toxins, be sure to wear protective clothing.

Lifestyle changes are often recommended in combination with medical treatment to improve chances of getting a female partner pregnant. 

Treatment options for abnormal semen analysis

Before starting any treatment in a fertility clinic, ensure your partner tests her fertility too first. LEVY Health offers quick, comprehensive fertility diagnostics and personalized plans to help women and couples achieve their reproductive goals and save time and money on the road to parenthood.

There are several medical treatments available to improve male infertility. The route you go will depend on the cause of your abnormal semen analysis. 

  • Medication: Drugs can correct hormonal imbalances, infections, problems with ejaculation or erection, and help boost a low sperm count. 
  • Surgery: Operations are available to fix enlarged veins in the scrotum (varicocelectomy or varicocele embolization), clear blockages (transurethral ejaculatory duct resection) and retrieve sperm directly from the testicles if there are blockages preventing their release during ejaculation (TESE). 
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): If you have a low sperm count or low sperm motility, sperm can be transferred into your partner’s uterus with a small plastic syringe. 
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): This is an extra step during in vitro fertilization (IVF) where an embryologist selects a single sperm and injects it directly into an egg to fertilize it. The fertilized egg then gets transferred into the uterus. 

If testing shows that you have a genetic disorder that could be passed on or these treatments are unsuccessful, you could consider using donor sperm with IUI. There’s also the option to do preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) with IVF and ICSI to test the embryo for hereditary diseases before it gets placed into the womb. 


It’s definitely upsetting to learn that your semen analysis showed abnormal results. Just try to remember that there are many ways to improve your fertility naturally and produce more healthy sperm. In case you need medical treatment, several options are available to boost your chances of getting your partner pregnant so you can start your family.

You might also like...

Female hormones: What you need to know about reproductive hormones, the menstrual cycle, and fertility

When you’re struggling with fertility, one of the first places to look is your hormones. Certain vital reproductive hormones are in charge...

Silvia Hecher
January 17, 2024

Fertility blood test: Why does it need to be cycle days 2-5?

When you test your fertility with LEVY, you will always check your basic reproductive hormone levels (including FSH, LH, TSH, Prolactin, Estradiol,...

September 8, 2022

Forms of amenorrhea and fertility

Not getting your period is a condition called amenorrhea. It’s important for fertility because not having a menstrual cycle with monthly ovulation...

January 18, 2022

Fertility Foods for Women to Help You Get Pregnant Faster

How you nourish your body is key not only when you have a baby in your belly, but also to help prepare...

March 22, 2022

10 Reasons IVF can fail and What to Do Next

Why IVF fail: Although in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can help many people who weren’t able to conceive naturally have a child, there’s unfortunately...

March 2, 2023

Iron: The secret ingredient for fertility?

Getting your daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals is key to getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. So, how does...

November 30, 2022

6 Interesting Facts About Ovaries You Might Not Know

Women have two ovaries which are located on either side of the uterus. They’re around 3-5 cm long – about the size...

April 20, 2022

What your AMH levels can tell you about fertility

FSH, LH, estrogen, progesterone… If you’re struggling to have a baby, you’re probably becoming an expert on all things hormones. AMH is...

August 25, 2022

What to expect when testing your fertility with LEVY

If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while, it’s totally normal to feel frustrated. Why hasn’t it happened for you yet,...

February 3, 2022


Ja, ich möchte mich kostenfrei für den LEVY Fertility Code anmelden und den LEVY Newsletter abonnieren. Ich erhalte auf mich abgestimmte Informationen und weitere Details zum LEVY Fertility Code an die angegebene E-Mail-Adresse.

[contact-form-7 id="371" title="Contact form 1"]