Male factor infertility accounts for approximately 20% of infertile couples and a contributing factor in 20-40% of couples trying to conceive.
A semen analysis is collected when a couple has been trying to conceive to rule out any male factors. The main areas considered are sperm count (overall sperm in the ejaculate), motility (how far the sperm can swim) and morphology (percentage of normal shaped sperm without head, mid piece or tail defects).
Acupuncture can help increase sperm count, motility and quality. Spermatogenesis (the production of sperm) takes 60 to 90 days. Acupuncture treatments are recommend at a frequency of twice per week for 5 weeks.
In a study published in Fertility and Sterility measured 28 men with low sperm count, poor motility and poor morphology received acupuncture twice per week over the course of 5 weeks. Statistical evaluation of the data showed significant increase in normal sperm morphology and total motility in the acupuncture group versus the men that did not receive acupuncture in the control group. With the conclusion, in conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, noninvasive method that can improve sperm quality.
Sperm quality also increased in males with subfertility related to low sperm count after acupuncture treatments. Sixteen sub fertile patients where analyzed 1 month before and after acupuncture treatment at a treatment frequency of twice per week for 5 weeks. Significant improvement of total functional sperm, percentage of viability and total motility was found. Suggesting patients with reduced sperm activity may benefit from acupuncture treatment.
1) Fritz, M & Speroff, L. (2011). Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
2) Jian Pei, Erwin Strehler, Ulrich Noss, Markus Abt, Paola Piomboni, Baccio Baccetti, Karl Sterzik. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 84, Issue 1, p141–147 Published in issue: July 2005 Retrieved from http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(05)00591-1/pdf
3) Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson W, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B. Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality. Arch Androl 1997;39:155-61.