Male Factor Infertility
What are Male Factor Infertility and How It Affects Conception?
- Definition: Male factor infertility is defined as the inability to fertilize the ovum; male sterility is defined as the lack of sperm production. Approximately 50% 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; hormonal imbalances, including testosterone, estrogen, prolactin; lifestyle factors, including stress, poor sleep, poor nutrition, nicotine, and use of alcohol or recreational drugs Environmental toxins, including paint, radiation, chemicals.
- Normally a semen analysis and a medical examination are the first steps in determining the exact cause of the male infertility. The tests will verify the quality and quantity of the sperm by evaluating their count, motility, and morphology. Sometimes additional tests like prolactin, testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, urinalysis, and FSH are ordered as well to rule out other possible causes for infertility.
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Male Factor Infertility?
- Chinese medicine and acupuncture are excellent options for the treatment of male factor infertility. Western medicine appears to have little ability to improve the production, condition, or shape of male sperm. There are no effective and safe western medicine available so far. 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 (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in China for sperm abnormalities, patients were treated with 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.
- Nutritional guidance includes eating an organic diet rich in vitamins and minerals, eliminating environmental toxins, reducing intake of caffeine and alcohol, and taking high quality nutritional supplements to improve sperm quality, quantity and morphology. Deficiencies in nutrients, such as protein, vitamin C, selenium, zinc and folate may contribute to male infertility.
How Western Medicine Treats Male Factor Infertility?
In Western medicine, when sperm parameters are involved, there are a few treatment methods that are used if the couple is still wishing to conceive. The most frequent types of treatment are: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In vitro fertilization (IVF), surgery to treat structural damage or varicoceles, or using a method called Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).