According to Andrology Australia one in twenty men is infertile. This means that male infertility is implicated in one in five cases where a couple is having problems conceiving. In assisted reproductions the problem lies with the male 40% of the time. This data supports the need for a continued shift from the incorrect belief that infertility is solely a female problem. Male fertility depends upon healthy sperm. The quality, quantity and motility (swimming ability) of the sperm need to be within certain parameters for conception to take place. Chinese Medicine views male infertility as a weakness or blockage in the reproductive system coupled with lack of balance in other body systems.
The most common cause of male infertility is problems with sperm production, usually a low sperm count. One in 25 males suffers from a low sperm count, a number that could rise based on statistics that show a 45% drop in the average male sperm count over the last 50 years. Sometimes all three sperm factors are poor. Other causes of male infertility include hormonal imbalances, sperm antibodies, blockages that restrict transport of sperm and sexual/ejaculation problems. However, in 40% of cases the cause for male infertility is unknown.
Factors that are known to affect sperm production that should be addressed or avoided:
- Varicocele (swollen veins in scrotum)
- Drugs (recreational and prescribed) and chemicals
- Nutritional deficiencies
Until recently aging was considered a risk factor only for female fertility but research has now identified a relationship between aging and male infertility. Age reduces the sperm’s ability to swim as effectively to the female egg. There is also a greater chance of genetic defects with age.
Often there are no obvious indications that a male is sub-fertile, so it is essential that the male partner undergoes a complete fertility workup when a couple is planning to conceive.
East West Fertility uses Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Nutritional therapies as an adjunct approach to assist a patient trying to conceive and boost their overall wellness.
Jenny works with patients to ensure a comfortable, clean and relaxing environment in which patients can discuss their reproductive health concerns and how East West Fertility’s range of adjunct treatments may assist them to manage their journey to conception and wellness.
Many male patients have come to East West Fertility concerned about:
- low testosterone levels
- low sperm count
- poor sperm motility
- poor volume
- poor liquefaction
- abnormal morphology (shape)
Sperm usually takes about 90 days to mature, so regular Acupuncture is recommended for at least three months to help promote the production of healthy sperm.
Studies by Pei et al in 2005, Siterman et al in 1997 & 2000, and Gerhard et al. in 1992 all demonstrated that acupuncture improves the quality and quantity of sperm. The authors of all studies observed that acupuncture is an effective method to improve sperm parameters. A 2002 study led by Zhang showed the positive effect of acupuncture on assisted reproduction and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
One of the authors of the 2005 study asserted:
‘In conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, non-invasive method that can improve sperm quality’. (Dr Jian Pei, Fertility and Sterility, July 2005, Vol 84, Issue1, pp. 141-7)