In 50% of infertile cohabiting couples it is the male factor that is responsible for the infertility. The causes for male infertility vary from infections, such as mumps and prostatitis, physical injury, exposure to toxic substances and drugs or varicoceles.
For many men IVF and ICSI are used to give a better chance for their sperms to fertilise eggs. Sometimes donor sperms are the only option available, which is not a satisfactory outcome for a lot of couples. Sperm generally develop in the testicles for 50-60 days and are then excreted in the sperm-maturing tube, the epididymis, to complete their maturation. It takes up to 2 ½ months for sperm to fully mature. Research shows that acupuncture can help with low volumes of sperms, low sperm count (oligospermia), poor sperm motility and morphology (deformities, liquefaction problems, i.e. the semen remains too coagulated so that sperm is not released sufficiently after ejaculation), and erectile dysfunctions. Acupuncture together with diet and a healthy lifestyle play important roles in male’s health and fertility as the genetic material in sperms reflect exposure to stress, nutrient deficiencies and environmental toxins.
Acupuncture has been proven to be very successful in treating female infertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine can help to improve the chances for women with a low ovarian reserve to conceive and to reduce levels of circulating Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This is of particular relevance to women with high levels of FSH, who are often turned away from fertility clinics because they generally respond poorly, if at all, to the drugs used to stimulate their ovaries for IVF treatments.
Many fertility specialists regard this condition as untreatable and advise women to consider using donor eggs. Experience has shown that when these women follow a course of acupuncture treatments, their FSH levels may fall, improving their chances of success in an assisted conception treatment cycle using their own eggs.