Infertility is not an issue for women alone. Male factors contibute to around 40% of fertility problems. Men can use acupuncture to treat erectile dysfunction or sperm health problems, such as low sperm count. Acupuncture treatment is aimed at improving sperm quality and general health prior to conception and during the assisted fertility treatments. Good sperm quality may eventually influence the outcome of any ART procedure.
Sperm Analysis guidelines to determine male fertility have changed dramtically in the last 15 years to account for the decline in overall sperm quality. The WHO guidlines prior to 1999, considered good sperm quality to mean that more than 50% of sperm were moving purposefully and less than 50% had abnormal forms. The most recent guidelines mean that more than 63% are moving purposefully and less than 88% have abnormal forms. Acupuncture treatments given to men for 5 weeks has shown an increase in sperm motility and a decrease in abnormal forms.
Results of a recent study appearing in the publication Fertility and Sterility reveal that acupuncture can increase sperm count and reduce structural defects in the sperm produced. Several other clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in sperm quality, particularly where there is low motility or high numbers of abnormal forms.
If you are preparing to conceive and would like to better overall sperm quality, 10 treatment given over 5-10 weeks is recommended. Acupuncture can also be used on the day of sperm donation to ease any anxiety.