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Research has suggested that acupuncture, statistically improves sperm quality and fertility rates in men with semen abnormalities (sperm motility and morphology).
Fertility and Sterility July 2005;84(1):141-7. In the study 28 men who were diagnosed with idiopathic infertility received acupuncture treatments two times a week over a 5 week period. A control group consisting of 12 men received no treatment.Semen samples were collected twice in both groups, one before and one after the course of acupuncture and male infertility treatment. When compared to the control group, motility levels increased significantly in semen samples in the men receiving acupuncture and male infertility treatments. While median motility levels increased from 32% to 37% in the control group, they increased from 44.5% to 50% in the acupuncture group.
J Huangzhong Iniv Sci Technol med Sci 2002;22(3)
This study consisted of 22 men with idiopathic male male infertility, who failed in ICSI, were treated twice a week with acupuncture for 8 weeks followed by a repeat of ICSI treatment. The sperm concentration, motility, morphology, fertilisation rates and consequent embryo quality was observed Sperm motility after acupuncture improved significantly. The normal sperm ratio was increased after acupuncture. The fertilisation rates (66.2%) were significantly higher and embryo quality improved.
Possible reasons that can be attributed to the effectiveness of acupuncture is that it enhances local microcirculation, increasing blood flow to the peripheral circulatory networks providing vital nutrients to semen and lending support to its integrity. It may also work as an anti-inflammatory aid acting as a regulatory adjustment of the immune system.
It is recognised that in half of cases where a couple is having difficulty conceiving the cause is male, the other half female and 20% unexplained. To give a couple the best chances of concieving it is important that the male partner is assessed so that any necessary steps are taken to give the best possible chances of conception.
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 (Patki 2004; Isidori 2005; Dohle 2010).