Male Factor Infertility, The Needles Go Where?!
by Meghan Gibson, L.Ac., MSOM
I recently had the privilege of speaking at one of the workshops during the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International (MRSi), the topic was, “Acupuncture and IVF, Ways to Improve Patient Care”. During the first session a male attended, the only one among our female group. He listened quietly and as the topic of male factor infertility came up his interest seemed to peak. As we were discussing treatments for men and how effective acupuncture can be for motility, sperm count, and even morphology we quickly realized there was one question he really needed answered….
“Where do the needles go?”, was his question. All of gals from the Pulling Down the Moon team quickly began chuckling as we realized, this may be a BIG question for men. Fellas, have NO fear! There are not any acupuncture points, there . Most of the points are similar to those that we would use on our female patients, including the lower abdomen, head, ears and your extremities. It certainly varies depending on your diagnosis, but you will be able to keep your shorts on.
According to RESOLVE (the National Infertility Association) 30% of infertility is due to male factor, 30% female factor, 20% unexplained and 10% a combination of the two. Male factor infertility is just as prevalent as female factor. It’s true, women are way more complex than men when it comes to fertility, but men also need to seek treatment. I see it all the time in our office, when a couple receives the diagnosis “unexplained infertility” often it’s only the women who comes in for treatment.
Over the years there have been several studies published suggesting a decline in the average man’s sperm count. Environmental toxins, pollution, hormones in our food supply, pesticides, and even tighter underwear are thought to be the problem. Men also typically carry their cell phones in their pockets and mobile cell phone radiation is thought to decrease sperm counts. Men are also more active than ever, staying active and leading a healthy life style is important, but like anything else in moderation. Heat decreases sperm count so also try to take it easy on your super intense workouts, avoid saunas, hot tubs, and resting your laptop in your lap. You may also want to trade in those tighty whities for some boxer shorts.
With our ½ off initial consultations July 1 st -15 th this is the time to come in and get treatment. Our staff can address your specific issue and may also recommend supplements, or herbs that are helpful for male factor issues. And don’t worry, we don’t put any needles, there !