Oligospermy in Japan: how does this condition affect male fertility?

When talking about male infertility, the most common causes are usually taken into account. However, some alterations are often associated with other diseases and underlying conditions that can lead to the development of further complications, which, if detected early, are feasible to correct or lead to more effective alternative solutions.

Oligospermy is a common and significant condition that can hinder male fertility by reducing the quantity of sperm in the semen. According to data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), a man is diagnosed with oligospermy when his sperm concentration is below 15 million spermatozoa per milliliter.

Oligospermy can be caused by various diseases, such as hormonal disorders, testicular problems or infections. In many cases, Oligospermy is associated with other conditions, such as those described below:

Cryptorchidism: a condition associated with oligospermy

Cryptorchidism is a condition characterized by the failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum before birth. This condition can lead to fertility challenges since the undescended testicles are exposed to higher temperatures, which can adversely affect sperm production.

Cryptorchidism is most common in a single testicle (80%) and the left testicle is the most affected. Bilateral cryptorchidism is less common. To prevent fertility difficulties, boys with cryptorchidism need to have surgery to descend the testicles before the age of 2 years.


Testicular varicocele is a condition characterized by the enlargement of veins that supply blood to the testicles. This dilation can lead to an increase in testicular temperature, which can adversely affect sperm production. While it is more commonly observed in one testicle, it can also affect both. When varicocele affects both testicles, it is more likely to contribute to infertility.

It can also cause oligoasthenoteratozoospermia, which is a condition in which the spermatozoa are of low quality, both in number and in motility and morphology.

Adequate treatment can lead to notable improvement in cases of oligoasthenoteratozoospermia associated with testicular varicocele. Surgery is generally considered the most effective treatment, particularly in severe instances.

Hypogonadism and oligospermy: links in reproductive health

Male hypogonadism is a condition in which the testicles do not produce enough sex hormones, such as testosterone. This affects sperm production and can cause infertility as well.

Male hypogonadism can be divided into two main types:

  • In cases of primary hypogonadism, the testes experience dysfunction caused by internal problems. Klinefelter’s syndrome, one of the most prevalent genetic disorders within this category, can lead to reduced testosterone levels, decreased muscle mass, inadequate development of facial and body hair, and diminished sperm production.
  • In cases of secondary hypogonadism, the issue lies in the hypothalamus or pituitary glands, which are responsible for producing the hormones that stimulate the testes to produce sperm.

The treatment of hypogonadism is determined by the specific type of the condition. Hormonal therapy can be utilized in certain cases to restore testicular function and stimulate increased sperm production, ultimately improving the outlook for fertility.


Testicular hydrocele is a condition that causes fluid to accumulate around one or both testicles. It can be congenital or acquired, and is more common in men over 40 years of age.

Hydrocele is not a direct cause of infertility, but may be associated in 10% of cases, in which it can cause a partial obstruction of the vas deferens, which can reduce the number of sperm in the semen.


Oligoteratozoospermia refers to a condition where the concentration of spermatozoa in the semen is low, and the shape of the spermatozoa is abnormal. This term combines two observations from a spermogram: “oligo,” indicating a low sperm concentration (less than 15 million per milliliter), and “terato,” representing a low percentage of sperm with normal morphology (less than 4%). The presence of abnormal sperm morphology can hinder fertilization and potentially affect the development of embryos.

In cases of severe oligoteratozoospermia, men who wish to have children often undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). During this procedure, sperm with normal morphology are carefully chosen under microscopic guidance and directly injected into the egg. By employing this method, the chances of obtaining a viable embryo are significantly increased.

Are you from Japan? Get an accurate diagnosis for better results

While receiving any of these diagnoses may initially dishearten men in their pursuit of starting a family, it is crucial to acknowledge the positive aspect of identifying these conditions early for timely treatment. This recognition can serve as a pivotal moment in improving fertility and overall well-being.

It is recommended to maintain regular general check-ups to not only enhance the likelihood of starting a family but also to prevent the occurrence of these diagnoses, which can have irreversible consequences. These conditions have the potential to impact the health and well-being of individuals.

If you wish to start a family and experience difficulties in conceiving or know someone who may be suffering from infertility or any complication associated with the symptoms described above, it is vital to contact clinics specialized in Oligospermy, male fertility and assisted gestation, such as Babynova Clinic by Novafem, to receive advice on these issues and be treated as soon as possible.

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