40% of fertility issues involve male fertility
and yet male involvement in treatment is often minimal.
Below we explore why and explain how men can be more involved and how male fertility acupuncture works…
Male fertility relies on sperm, which take about 70 days to be produced. During the first few weeks the cells are recruited and developed, and then for the last few weeks they are stored and matured in the testes.
The ability of a sperm to fertilise an egg is based on a few factors, many of which can be measured in a laboratory. Western medicine generally focuses on the sperm count (number of sperm), motility (how well they swim) and morphology (how well made they are) in a sample. Chinese medicine has a slightly different view and quality is considered as important as these quantities.
WHO currently describes male infertility as
Volume: under 2-5mls
Concentration: less than 14 million per ml
Motility: less than 40% progressively motile
Form: less than 4% normal appearance
White blood cells: more than 1 million per ml
Oligospermia – few spermatozoa in semen
Hypospermia – low semen volume
Azoospermia – low sperm count
Teratospermia – sperm with abnormal morphology
Asthenozoospermia – low sperm motility
Why is this relevant?
Many cases of male fertility issues are due to anatomical abnormalities such as varicoceles, ductal obstructions or ejaculatory disorders. However, deficient sperm production is also a main cause, and can be especially so in cases of low fertility.
In 1992 a meta-analysis of 61 studies over a 50 year period (1938-1991) involving 150 000 men from 23 countries found an almost 50% decline in male sperm counts (113 mill/ ml to 66 mill/ ml). The conclusion of this study, and many others since, is that male sperm counts and quality are declining.
A more recent study in France found that the sperm concentration of men decreased by nearly one-third between 1989 and 2005 and most (but not all) studies from several European nations with large databases and the ability to track health records have found that over the past 15 years or so, the counts of healthy men ages 18 to 25 have significantly decreased. Reasons for this are thought to be the effects of modern living, including environmental pollution, modern lifestyle & diet.
Alongside this, the pressure that men can feel around conception – having to perform at exactly the right time of the month – creates an undesirable setting for many people.
How male fertility acupuncture can help you
There are, however, aspects of the sperm quality that we cannot measure and these are crucial once the sperm reaches the egg. Male fertility acupuncture has the ability to improve many of these.
Male fertility acupuncture has been shown to increase sperm count and motility, significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm and influence quality, in as little as 3 weeks, and showed a statistically significant improvement in acrosome position and shape, nuclear shape, axonemal pattern and shape, and accessory fibers of sperm organelles with patients given acupuncture.
It works by improving circulation within your whole system, as well as your reproductive system, strengthening weaknesses and clearing blockages.
Alongside this, we discuss dietary and lifestyle adjustments to improve your general and fertile health.
Research shows that better quality, and higher quantity, sperm counts are linked with lower miscarriage rates, improved rates of egg fertilization and improved embryo development.
Where do the needles go?
We generally use a combination of ‘local’ and ‘distal’ points. ‘Local’ points are on your abdomen and are above and below your navel. ‘Distal’ points are on your arms and legs, generally below your elbow and knees.
I will always discuss what points I am going to use first and make sure that you feel comfortable. If you do not, please let me know.
How much treatment do I need?
At the initial consultation we go through your medical history and any notes or test results that you have, and combine these with a Chinese medical diagnosis to develop an individual treatment plan to suit you.
Research shows that benefit from male fertility acupuncture can occur in as little as 3 weeks. Ideally we recommend every week to two weeks for at least 2 months before conception is planned.
As money is always an issue it is important that we find a sustainable approach to treatment for you.
How do I book an appointment?
Click here for details about how to book appointments.
Click here for details about fees.
Rick has been using fertility acupuncture to improve conception rates
and reduce the likelihood of miscarriage since 2004 and
has worked with The Agora Gynaecology and Fertility Clinic, in Hove, since 2010.
Read more here about Rick Mudie
Read some of our fertility acupuncture blog posts here.