Am I Shooting Blanks? Fertility Questions for Men

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It is so easy to cast blame on the woman when there is no conception. People often assume that because a man is able to deposit semen during ejaculation automatically means he has healthy viable sperms. Some even think semen and sperm are one and the same. It is possible for the man to be shooting blanks.

Lets talk about this today.



Definition From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spermatozoa, in this case human, are a primary component in normal semen, and the agents of fertilization of the female ova
Semen, also known as seminal fluid, is an organic fluid that may contain spermatozoa. It is secreted by the gonads (sexual glands) and other sexual organs of male or hermaphroditic animals and can fertilize female ova. In humans, seminal fluid contains several components besides spermatozoa: proteolytic and other enzymes as well as fructose are elements of seminal fluid which promote the survival of spermatozoa, and provide a medium through which they can move or “swim”.
Semen is produced and originates from the seminal vesicle, which is located in the pelvis. The process that results in the discharge of semen is called ejaculation.

Notice the word MAY in red. Which means not all semen ejaculate contain sperms. Some contain few sperms. some abnormal sperms with two heads, or two tails or funny shapes. some are fast swimmers, some are very slow, some don’t swim.

What could be the issue with sperm?

Shooting Blanks


When a man has less than 20million sperm in a single ejaculate, he is said to have low count or OLIGOSPERMIA. but then, you might say 20million seems a huge figure! but in a single ejaculate, semen should contain about 100 million. so 2omillion is a low figure

When a man does not have any sperm at all in an ejaculate, and repeated tests have been conducted to confirm this, it is known as AZOOSPERMIA.

These could have been caused by certain conditions. Some can be treated, some cannot. Some have procedures that can help make fertilization happen despite the diagnosis.


Motility is about movement. Some swim fast and progressively in a forward direction like guided missiles. Some move slowly or in coiled pattern or up and down but still move forward. Some only wag their tails and don’t move forward at all. Immotile sperms do not move at all. The last 3 are indicative of poor quality and may not be able to fertilize an egg at all. When motility is below 50% Drs begin to worry.

A man with as low as 2 million motile sperms will thus ask the question why he is unable to get his wife pregnant since it is only one sperm that is required to fertilize an egg. Simply, this means that if the man has 10 million count, and 2 million motile, 8 million are immotile and the motile ones may be of very poor quality.

This is the appearance and shape of the sperms. See pictures above for normal and abnormal appearances.

It is obvious from this write up that there is more to an ejaculation than meets the eye. You may have the colour and smell of semen, but still no sperm at all, or bad quality sperm or very low count.

How do you know the quality and quantity of sperms? A simple Semen analysis test after 3 days abstinence is required.


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Ty Lolu-Ogunmade

My name is ‘Toyin Lolu-Ogunmade and I am an infertility survivor, a trained Fertility counsellor and run a Family Building Consultancy. I work with couples who are trying to conceive. Part of my giving back includes scheduled Support group meetings where people get to share experiences and learn new things in the area of conception. Having challenges with conception? You can reach me on

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