Acupuncture and Male Infertility is an important aspect of treating conception difficulties that is rarely publicized. In fact, according to statistics from the National Infertility Association (an organization also known as RESOLVE), between 35 percent and 40 percent of infertility problems among couples are actually caused by male conditions. As I mentioned in a previous article – Acupuncture for Infertility, I treat and look at both prospective parents to ensure the best possible health of the child.
Conception represents the fundamental philosophy behind Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a perfect example of the differences and the union of male and female, of Yang and Yin. The dynamics of conception are the perfect mirror for the interrelation of Yin and Yang. As explained in the other articles of this site, Yin and Yang must be in balance for a harmony of health and no where is this more important than in regards to fertility, and in Acupuncture and Male Infertility
So is Traditional Chinese Medicine effective in regards to Acupuncture and Male Infertility?
According to a number of studies and independent trials, yes, it is. For instance a 2005 study conducted by Shanghai University in China found that Acupuncture for Male Infertility significantly helped. Of the men who participated, those who had acupuncture had an increased percentage of sperm in their semen; their sperm structure and morphology was also healthier than their counterparts who did not undergo acupuncture infertility treatment.
Another trial published on Acupuncture and Male Infertility treatments, Fertility and Sterility July 2005;84(1):141-7. had equally impressive results. The study involved 28 men who were diagnosed with idiopathic infertility and received acupuncture twice a week over a period of 5 weeks. A control group of 12 men were given no treatment.
Semen samples were collected twice in all groups, one prior to and one after the course of acupuncture and male infertility treatment. Compared to the control group, motility levels increased significantly in semen samples in the men receiving acupuncture and male infertility treatments. While median motility levels increased from 32% to 37% in the control group, they increased from 44.5% to 50% in the acupuncture group.
The number and percentage of healthy sperm also increased dramatically in the acupuncture patients. At baseline, only 0.06% the sperm among men in the Acupuncture and Male Infertility treatment group was considered "healthy," while the median number of healthy sperm calculated in ejaculate was 0.04 x 10 6 (40,000).
After 10 sessions of treatments, the median percentage of healthy sperm had increased more than four-fold, to 0.26%, while the median number of healthy sperm per sample had reached 0.2 x 10 6 (200,000).
In addition, significant changes in sperm structure and quality were seen in the samples from the acupuncture group. Prior to treatment, only 22.5% of the sperm samples in the acupuncture patients contained normal-shaped acrosomes. After Acupuncture and Male Infertility treatment, the median percentage of normal acrosome shapes showed a "statistically significant improvement" to 38.5%.
Finally, the percentage of sperm with a normal axoneme pattern increased significantly among men receiving acupuncture for male infertility. (The axoneme is a microscopic structure that contains a series of tubules arranged in a distinct pattern, this is believed to aid in sperm motility.) Before the start of the study, the correct axoneme pattern was present in 52% of sperm in the control group, but only 46.1% in the acupuncture group.
After 5 weeks of therapy, the median percentage increased to 52.2% in acupuncture patients, but actually decreased to 38.2% in the control group.
These studies made clear that Acupuncture for Male Infertility is a viable and effective means of increasing overall sperm health and thus increasing fertility levels and the chances of conception.
Finally, let me leave you with a story from one of my own patients...
An Increase of 85% in sperm motility that stuns the Doctors:
Sarah and Brian (names changed) had been trying for a baby for 15 months. “We had expected things to happen really quickly”, says Sarah. “I am 31, and Brian is 32. We are both really healthy, so we didn’t expect to have a problem. You just don’t think it will happen to you.
“We went to see our GP: he referred us to a specialist in the Rotunda Hospital. He decided to check my blood to see if I was ovulating and to do a semen analysis on my husband”.
“My bloods came back fine. My scan was fine too. Then Brian went in for his semen analysis, and last October we went in for the results. The consultant said that his sperm’s motility was only 10%. It has to be 40% to be called normal.
“He said we needed IVF. He referred us to the HARI clinic (special note the Meridian Acupuncture has a close relationship with the HARI and we can prescribe a series of semen analysis tests etc to confirm our diagnosis). We were devastated. I didn’t know anyone who had gone for IVF, and we were worried about the expense as well.
“The whole thing worried us. It was ‘oh my god!’ And the worst thing was is that there is no guarantee that it will work. “We rang the HARI for an appointment. They said they couldn’t see us until February. That seemed so far away. So we rang the SIMS clinic and they gave us an earlier appointment.
“I looked up Brian’s condition on the internet and it said acupuncture could help (read my article on Male Infertility here). And meanwhile we improved our diets, I took a zinc supplement.
“We went to see Paul O’Brien. He was lovely. He talked us through the whole process. He said he would treat me as well. I hate needles, but it was fine. It didn’t hurt at all. I went away feeling like I was brand new.
“Finally our appointment at the SIMS clinic came. They said that before they started the IVF they would do another semen analysis. They rang that same night to say that Brian’s semen was normal the motility was 50%. We no longer needed IVF.
“We’re going to have IUI where they give me medicine to ovulate and insert a catheter into the uterus to improve our chances of pregnancy. It can just speed things up. But they were amazed at the improvement. They could hardly believe it.
“We still go to Paul every week. We are delighted with him. And hopefully we shall have some good news soon".
- As Featured in the Evening Hearld, words by Sue Leonard.
UPDATE After a continuation of treatment Brian’s semen was retested and came in at an astonishing 95%. Representing an 85% increase! An incredible imporvement.
If you are trying to conceive, have a history of low or poor sperm health, or want to ensure the best possible health for both you and your child, then perhaps you should consider Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding Acupuncture and Male Infertility or wish to start a course of treatment then please feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discus any specific concerns or questions you may have.