Acupuncture for Male Infertility
Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been shown to improve male fertility. Treatment improves your sperm count, vitality, and normal sperm. It also improves your libido.
Male fertility is declining rapidly, causing approximately 40% of couples’ difficulty in conceiving. A normal semen test result in 1992 contained 30% normal sperm; this is now as low as only 4%.
Your sperm may be abnormal, may lack the vitality to swim to the egg, or you may have low numbers of sperm. All these factors reduce your fertility as a couple.
Acupuncture treatment primarily focuses on your lower legs, abdomen and lower back. Chinese herbs often include Tu Si Zi Cuscuta seed and Wu Wei Zi Schisandra. These improve your libido and increase antioxidants. Your diet, exercise and lifestyle will be reviewed, and appropriate advice given.
Working alongside the medical profession to treat male infertility
We ask for your semen test results to help us treat you more accurately. We interpret these results, offering you advice on the way forwards.
Western medicine has very little to offer you to improve sperm quality and quantity. They can offer you ICSI at IVF for low sperm morphology.
However, there is a lot you can do to improve your sperm quality with simple changes to lifestyle and diet.
Improving your health will improve your sperm, and you may not need IVF.
Research on Acupuncture and Male Fertility
- Success of acupuncture treatment in patients with initially low sperm output is associated with a decrease in scrotal skin temperature. Siterman S et al, Asian J Androl 2009 Vol 11(2):200-8 Asian Journal of Andrology.
This study discovered that the success of acupuncture in improving sperm quality was associated with a drop in temperature of the testes.
- A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. Dieterle et al Fertil Steril 2009 Oct; 92 (4): 1340–3 Fertility and Sterility.
This small clinical trial randomised 57 patients who had extremely low sperm counts, to acupuncture and placebo acupuncture groups. After receiving acupuncture twice weekly for 6 weeks motility of sperm (but not overall count) was found to increase significantly. The authors conclude that the results of the present study support the significance of acupuncture in male patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. More evidence with larger trials needs to be accumulated before the efficacy and effectiveness of acupuncture in male infertility can be evaluated.
- Effect of acupuncture-moxibustion therapy on sperm quality in infertility patients with sperm abnormality. Chen A et al, Jnl Acup Tuina Sci 2011 Vol 9, Number 4, 219-222. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science.
This study in China sought to elucidate the mechanism whereby acupuncture improves sperm quality. The team found that levels of an important enzyme in the semen increased, as did the sperm motility after acupuncture.
- Clinical study on the treatment of male immune infertility by Huzhangdanshenyin. Lu TK et al, Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2006 Aug;12(8):750-5. National Journal of Andrology
Studies in Xiamen, China have found that herbal formulas have a better effect on anti-sperm antibodies than does prednisone, and provide an effective way to treat male factor immune infertility.
- Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology. Zhang M et al J Huazhong Univ Sci Tech Med Sci.2002;22(3):228-30 Journal of Huazhong University (Abstract in Chinese)
This trial looks at sperm behaviour in an IVF setting. It was a “before and after” study involving 82 infertile men with pathological semen abnormalities and who’s sperm achieved a poor fertilization rate in at least 2 IVF/ICSI cycles. They were given acupuncture twice a week over 8 weeks and the IVF/ICSI cycles were repeated. The fertilization rates after acupuncture (66.2%) were significantly higher than that before treatment (40.2%) (P < 0.01).
- Effects of acupuncture during in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Xian Zhanga, Myeong Soo Lee, Caroline A.Smith, Nicola Robinson, Yong Zhoua, Yan Wu, Ying-Ying Mao, Fan Qua. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, October 2018.
This study concluded that acupuncture may have an impact on the outcome rates of implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth; however, well-designed RCTs are warranted to further validate its effects.
- Idiopathic infertility. Gurfinkel E, Cedenho AP, Yamamura Y, Srougi M.Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities. Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec; 5(4):345-8.
A study carried out in Brazil observed the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on sperm abnormalities. 19 patients with idiopathic infertility were divided into a study and into a control group. The study group was treated twice a week for 10 weeks (25 min acupuncture, 20 min moxa). Sperm analysis was carried out before and after the treatment course. The patients in the study group showed a significant increase in the percentage of normal-form sperm. The authors conclude that acupuncture and moxa treatments seem to favourably modify normal-form sperm counting.’
- Low sperm count (Oligospermia). Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Lederman H, Bartoov B. Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study. Andrologia. 2000 Jan; 32(1):31-9.
A study carried out in Tel Aviv observed the effect of acupuncture on males with very low sperm count. 15 of the males were azoospermic patients, two were pseudoazoospermic and three had severe oligoteratoasthenozoospermia (OTA). After a course of acupuncture, the OTA had only a slight increase in sperm count. 67% of azoospermic patients showed a definite increase in sperm count, seven of them significantly. Males with genital tract inflammation exhibited the most remarkable improvement in sperm density. Two pregnancies were achieved in conjunction with IVF-ICSI. The authors conclude that acupuncture might be a useful treatment for males with very poor sperm count, especially those with a history of genital tract inflammation.
- Spem motility. Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B.Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality. Arch Androl. 1997 Sep-Oct; 39(2):155-61.
In a study from Israel, 16 patients with subfertility related to sperm impairment were treated with acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks and compared to a control group. The sperm motility and intactness of the axonema were greatly increased in the study group.
- Sperm morphology. Fischl F, Riegler R, Bieglmayer C, Nasr F, Neumark J. [Modification of semen quality by acupuncture in subfertile males] Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1984 Aug;44 (8):510-2.
A study in treating subfertility by acupuncture was carried out in Germany on 28 men. Each patient received a total of 10 treatments for a period of three weeks. The spermiograms and hormone levels were checked before and after acupuncture. Total count, concentration and motility were evaluated and in all cases the researchers observed a statistically significant improvement of sperm quality. The authors conclude that acupuncture therapy at the time of ovulation might increase the chances of a pregnancy.
- Qian, Z [Clinical observation of 54 cases of male infertility treated by acupuncture and moxibustion] Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1996 Sep; 52.
A Chinese study was carried out on 54 males with impaired fertility. 1-3 months of acupuncture therapy was given, and sperm analysis carried out before and after treatment. 55.5% of patients impregnated their partners in that period of time, and 24% showed a significant improvement in sperm parameters. 20% of patients, previously diagnosed with azoospermia and immune disturbance, did not improve. The best improvement was seen in patients with abnormal sperm.
- Zhang J [The Acupuncture treatment of 248 cases of male infertility], Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Vol 7, 1987.
A Chinese study was carried out on 248 males who suffered from sperm abnormities, absence of ejaculation and impotence. Treatment of acupuncture was given every other day. 20 treatments comprised one course. 2 courses were given (approx 2 months). About half of the patients with abnormal sperm achieved good sperm count and motility. (20-60mill/ml with 20-60% motility and less than 20% deformity). 52% of patients with abnormal sperm failed to respond, a large percentage of those (40%) who were diagnosed with azoospermia, failed to respond at all.
- ASAB. Fu B, Lun X, Gong Y. Effects of the combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs on male immune infertility–a clinical report of 50 cases. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 2005
A Chinese study was carried out on 100 males using both acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine on male immune infertility and anti sperm antibodies. The acupuncture and herb group were given Lui Wei Di Huang Wan, the control oral prednisolone. Results show acupuncture and herbs with 90% success, while the control group attained 64%.