Traditional Chinese Medicine On Male Infertility

male-infertilityMale infertility doesn’t make many headlines, so you may be surprised to learn that when a couple struggles to conceive, it’s almost as likely to be due to male fertility problems as to female infertility. Fortunately, most male infertility cases respond to treatment of the underlying issue, or to fertility treatments. The fact is that, when these treatments are ineffective, a couple may turn to a sperm donor to have their own child, or to adoption.

How Common Is Male Infertility?

As many as 10% to 15% of couples who are trying for a baby will fail to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. Of these :

When the man has fertility problems, in 10% to 15% of cases, this will be Azoospermia, or a complete lack of sperm. Azoospermia affects about 1% of the general population. In the remainder, subfertility issues relating to low sperm count or low motility of sperm may respond to treatment. If you have been trying for a baby for over a year without success, both partners should be checked for fertility problems.

Causes Of Subfertility

From the western medicine point of view

From the Chinese medicine point of view

Treatments of Subfertility

With western medicine

Western medicine offers little hope when dealing with male infertility. Little can be done to improve sperm quality and quantity, and treatment is often unsuccessful. Subfertile men may be prescribed a 3-4 month course of clomiphene citrate, which can improve the quantity of sperm, though it doesn’t seem to improve sperm morphology or motility , and there have been no studies to date suggesting improved fertility after treatment. The Introduction of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) to IVF procedures has more or less resolved the issue of poor sperm quality in IVF treatment. However, there have been suggestions that there may be a higher incidence of birth defects when ICSI uses subprime sperm.

With acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine

Unlike Western medicine, Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to patient health, which can offer an obvious improvement in sperm quantity and quality like liquefaction, motility and morphology. It can treat infertility problems like retrograde ejaculation, anti-sperm antibodies and varicoceles very well. Studies have shown that both acupuncture and herbal medicines can affect hormonal changes and improve testicular blood flow, promoting healthy sperm growth. Some herbs improve liquefaction rates by stimulating the secretion of important enzymes into the prostatic fluid. In Chinese medicine, fertility for both males and females depends on strong kidney energy, with the majority of infertility cases diagnosed as Kidney Yin or Yang Deficiency. In any case, since sperm can take 3 months to form, a course of treatment should be prolonged for several months for best effect. As with female infertility, the practitioner will devise a natural healthcare programme of acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition. This is designed to improve the patient’s overall health and treat underlying issues as well as improve the quality and quantity of sperm.

Herbal remedies will underpin the treatment, as they are effective in replenishing kidney energy. Acupuncture is also beneficial, especially when timed to coincide with your partner’s ovulation, as at least one study has suggested acupuncture treatment at this time greatly enhances the sperm’s activity.