Male Infertility

Male Infertility

Male infertility refers to the inability of a male to achieve a pregnancy in a fertile female, and is commonly due to deficiencies in the semen, and semen quality is used as a surrogate measure of male fecundity.

In many cultures, women are unfairly blamed for the inability of a sexually active couple to conceive. In reality, men suffer from infertility issues just as frequently as women.

Male fertility requires normal sperm production and sperm transport, and adequate sexual performance, functions that require normal levels of testosterone. Male infertility can be due to a number of factors, including abnormal spermatogenesis; reproductive tract anomalies or obstruction; inadequate sexual and ejaculatory functions; and impaired sperm motility.

Clinical trials suggest that acupuncture improves sperm motility (Dieterle 2009), increases sperm count (Siterman 2009, Siterman 2001), improves sperm quality (Pei 2005; Gurfinkel 2003) and has a beneficial effect on psychogenic erectile dysfunction (Engelhardt 2003) (see Table overleaf). "In conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, non-invasive method that can improve sperm quality," concluded by one researcher.

Acupuncture may help in the treatment of male infertility (Stener-Victorin 2010), by:

  • lowering scrotal temperature (Siterman 2009);
  • enhancing local microcirculation, by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles (Komori 2009);
  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003);
  • by improving sperm maturation in the epididymis, increasing testosterone levels, and reducing liquid peroxidation of sperm (Crimmel 2001).

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