Problems with sperm are a common source of male infertility. Low or no sperm counts (less than 15 million per ml), poor sperm motility (the ability to move), and abnormally-shaped sperm can all cause infertility. These issues can occur for a variety of reasons, such as stress, environmental toxins, and lifestyle. Constant constriction and high temperature around the testicles from sources such as tight clothing and frequent laptop use respectively are also thought to contribute to low sperm count and motility.
Conventional Western medical doctors may prescribe fertility drugs to boost sperm production. The success rate of those drugs is less than 17 percent. Artificial insemination and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are also conventional medical options.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and/or herbal treatments are used to balance hormones and increase sperm production and quality. One study shows that acupuncture can increase motility levels by up to 50% (1), and demonstrates significant improvements in sperm structure and quality. Other studies are being conducts, although as with most studies involving acupuncture and TCM, study design and procedure is very difficult to properly establish.
(1) Acupuncture Today, October, 2005, Vol. 06, Issue 10.
Many sperm related issues can be resolved or ameliorated with simple changes to diet. One study shows that between 30-80% of male subfertility cases are considered to be due to poor diet and more specifically the damaging effects of oxidative stress on sperm relating to a diet low in natural anti-oxidants (2). Our Naturopathic doctor is well positioned to advise on issues of diet and sperm health. In addition, acupuncture is a simple, non-invasive and effective method that may help improve sperm related infertility.
(2) Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001139. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub3