The number of couples with reproductive problems is constantly increasing. Infertility is defined as impossibility to conceive during at least two years of regular and unprotected sexual activity. Numerous causes are involved in the mechanisms of infertility and they could emerge from either the male or the female partner. Around 50% of the cases are due to male infertility and the reasons for 50% among them remain unclear.
When the etiology of the infertility problem is unknown, the condition is named idiopathic infertility. Male infertility could be due to problems with spermatozoa’s motility or morphology as well as to endocrine disorders. The role of the alternative medicine in treating various medical problems, including conceiving problems, keeps increasing, along with the progress of conventional medicine.
As an example- uncontrolled studies show that the semen fluid of male patients, experiencing fertility problems, treated with acupuncture, improved its concentration and motility. At the same time blood hormonal levels were also positively influenced. Based on these encouraging results, a controlled study of multidisciplinary medical team, including scientists form Germany, Italy and China, evaluated the changes in sperm morphology of patients with idiopathic infertility, receiving acupuncture treatment. The study concluded that:
1. The total number of healthy spermatozoa was statistically increased after 10 sessions of acupuncture. The sufficient number of spermatozoa is crucial for the fertilization ability of the sperm. In fact a count of below 4 million spermatozoa per ml (or <20 million in total sperm) is equal to infertility.
- Acrosome shape and position were improved following 5 weeks acupuncture treatment course. The acrosome is the structure that insures the mobility of the spermatozoa. Spermatozoa with otherwise normal structure but with diminished mobility cannot reach the egg and therefore lead to fecundation and pregnancy.
- Other structural elements of the spermatozoa, including the nuclear shape, the axoneme shape and the accessory fibers were also influenced. The nucleus carries the genetic information, while the axoneme and the accessory fibers are responsible for the mobility. These microstructural changes also correlate with the normal functioning of the spermatozoa.
The enumerated changes, seen in men suffering from idiopathic infertility, treated with acupuncture, result in increased sperm penetration and fertilization ability. As acupuncture has also been proven to be effective for women with reproductive problems, this method categorically increases the chance for successful pregnancy. In addition, acupuncture’s biggest advantages are that the procedures are non-invasive, risk- free and accessible.
1. Jian Pei, Ph.D., Erwin Strehler, M.D, Ulrich Noss, M.D., et al. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility, Fertility and Sterility, July 2005Volume 84, Issue 1, Pages 141–147
2. Shannon Johnson, Semen Analysis, http://www.healthline.com/health/semen-analysis#Overview1