Male factor infertility involves either the inability of the sperm to fertilize the egg, an absence of sperm (azoospermia), low sperm count, poor motility, poor morphology, or low volume.
Approximately 40 percent of all infertility cases are attributed to a male factor. Sperm abnormalities are usually the main cause. Many researchers agree that sperm counts have been declining for several years and many factors influence a man’s fertility, such as:
- Sperm count, motility, or morphology
- History of past illnesses, including STD’s, mumps
- Structural or anatomical problems, including seminal duct blockages, varicoceles, trauma, undescended testes
- Use of prescription drugs, including anti-hypertensives, anti-inflammitories, anti-histamines
- Hormonal imbalances, including testosterone, estrogen, prolactin
- Immune factors, such as anti-sperm antibodies which kill sperm before they can reach the egg
- Lifestyle factors, including stress, poor sleep, poor nutrition, nicotine, and use of alcohol or recreational drugs Environmental toxins, including paint, radiation, chemicals
A semen analysis and medical examination are usually performed if male infertility is suspected. We typically recommend a semen analysis for all couples struggling to conceive to rule out male factor infertility.
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Male Factor Infertility
Chinese medicine and acupuncture are excellent options for the treatment of male factor infertility. With the exception of corrective surgery for blocked spermatic ducts, Western medicine appears to have little ability to improve the production, condition, or shape of male sperm. Chinese medicine, however, can help the body to increase sperm production, improve morphology, increase motility, and resolve hormonal imbalances that may be affecting a man’s fertility.
In a study conducted by the College of Acupuncture and Moxabustion at the Shanghai University of TCM in China for sperm abnormalities, patients were treated with electro acupuncture and they found that quantity and quality improved in sperm parameters as well as sex hormones: 33.5% improvement in FSH, 35.3% in LH, 57.1 % in estrogen, and 65.1% in testosterone.
Acupuncture creates more blood flow in the pelvic cavity and strengthens the function of the sex organs to generate more volume, count, and better morphology of the sperm. It will also balance the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis to regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production, which in turn improves sperm quality and quantity. Acupuncture also reduces stress and eliminates toxins in the body.
Chinese herbs increase blood flow and reduce stagnation in the pelvic cavity. High quality herbs are used to improve all sperm parameters and balance the hormones of the body.
Supplements along with nutritional guidelines may also be prescribed. We recommend a minimum of 3-5 months of treatment for male facto infertility since this is usually how long it takes for new sperm production.