Experts estimate that 40% of couples with infertility issues are due to women while 30 % of the issues are related to men and 30% of couples suffer from unexplained infertility. However, fertility related support such as IVF acupuncture is always focused on supporting women female and very few men seek for help.
So what does male factor infertility mean?
The issues can range from a mild reduction in sperm count, abnormal sperm function, blockages to prevent the delivery of sperm, complete absence of sperm, to the inability to ejaculate. All these can prevent conception from happening.
How can acupuncture help?
For men, acupuncture can help balance the energy flow through the system. It can improve blood flow to the testes where sperm are produced, restore balance of the body’s natural hormonal level, and facilitate a more relaxed nervous system which often result in improved semen analyses, especially for men with low sperm count, poor sperm motility or poor sperm morphology. Combined with herbal formulas, acupuncture can even help with sex dysfunction such as reduced libido or erectile difficulty which can as a result lead to natural conception. I have worked with many couples where conception could not take place until the male partner received treatment so I always advise my clients to come with their partners.
How to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture on male’s fertility?
I often encourage patients to bring their past health reports especially any fertility test results for a holistic understanding of the couple’s health conditions. It can also be serve as an evaluation tool to review the effectiveness of the treatment. For example, patients can repeat the semen analysis three months after the treatment to see if the quantity and quality of the sperm is improved.
How does a normal semen analysis look? According to the 5th edition of the WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen, a normal semen sample should be:
Semen volume: >1.5ml Total count: >39 million/ejaculate density: >15million/ml Progressive motility: >32% Morphology: >4% White blood cell: <1million/ml
Is acupuncture painful?
Sometimes what hinders men to come for acupuncture is the phobia on needling. The disposable needles I use for acupuncture are hair-fine and often painless. What you can feel is the electrical charge which is the Qi arrival and that is crucial for an effective acupuncture treatment. The sensation comes from the point of insertion along the meridians to unblock the qi and blood flow inside your body. Due to the rebalanced and harmony of body and mind, most people find it very relaxing and will doze off during the treatment.
How often should you have acupuncture?
During the IVF, the man’s main contribution is to provide sperm during the testing stages and on the day of egg collection. It takes around 10 weeks for the sperms to get mature in the system and the result is actually a reflection of your health conditions two months ago. Ideally, I will suggest couples to get started 3 months before the process and usually have one or two acupuncture treatments a week before the testing and egg collection day.
How to contact Ruth?
If you or a loved one is suffering from infertility, Ruth can provide assistance