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Male infertility mixed results from acupuncture


Submitted By: appleland

My husband has been treated with acupuncture (twice weekly and Chinese herbal tea twice daily) for infetility (VERY low sperm count/motility/morphology) since June/2009. He had a semen test in September/2009 and all his count improved dramatically from 1 million count to 10 million, 43%motility up from previous 25%, 10%morphology from previous 5%. We were quite happy about it.

Since then he has treated only once a week and still the same with Chinese tea twice daily (we scaled down because it is getting too expensive for us) He has his semen test again just this month;December, the test came back with mixed result. His count jumped to 16 million but his motility and morphology down to 22% and 5% respectively. We definitely are disappointed with the numbers.

Can anybody please explain this to us? Our acupuncturist thinks it is because of weather changed in Florida. It is getting cold recently. Still don't understand his answer. He suggests my husband to eat more spicy food, warm water, take warm bath more often especially before having sex, no biking.

I know acupuncture works for my husband infertility and his overall health but want some answers. Just wonder how long his count will be normal before we cannot afford it anymore.

Thank you in advance!


1. heart and spleen def. or sleep no good.

2. Liver stag. emotion uncomfortable.

3. Heat damp energy come down.

4. kidney fire weak no sex power.

different situation use different herbal tea and acupunture prescriptions. make a detail diagnosis is very important.


There are many factors which can effect sperm volume, morphology and other factors and the tests are only a snapshot in time to a degree. Before I give a more detailed answer to your question, do you know what the name of the tea your husband is drinking is? or what herbs are in it?

I would also like to ask if you are getting treated as well and, if so, for what?

Has your husband and/or yourself made any lifestyle/dietary changes due to recommendations of your acupuncturist?


I don't know the names/herbs of the tea he has been drinking. I know the tea formular changed every week according to his pulse. Our doctor says it is for yang deficiency and he also gives my husband Liu Wei Di Huang Wan to take it 3 times/day for his yin.

I am not getting treated for infertility though I treated with acupuncture once for insomnia. My cycle is regular and I know I ovulate every month. Oh this past week I asked him to prescribe Chinese tea for me for pain during period and I am doing a lot better now after only drinking for 3 days. FYI, I had endometriosis before and got it removed by surgery around 2 years ago. I almost forgot to mention, I had some Chinese herbal tea (no acupuncture) before with a Chinese doctor in Thailand where I am from. The doctor said I was too cold inside my body for sperm to survive.

From our doctor recommendations, only having sex 2 times during I ovulate, including no masterbation at all for my husband;only sex 2 times/month for him. He said to preserve his energy. My husband said his libido definitely increased a whole lot since started acupuncture.

Other recommendations, we just start trying them this week like drink warm water, no biking.

Thank you for answering!


Something doesn't sit well with me with your description but I think there may be just simple translation issues between your practitioner and yourself. What stands out is that it is difficult to treat both the yin and yang at the same time and usually if you are trying to do that you do not have a clear diagnosis. In other words, yin deficiency generally does not co-exist with yang deficiency (although it can), and even if there is a mixed pattern there is an order that you should use to treat it, instead of doing both at the same time.

For male reproductive issues we would use acupuncture as appropriate and often use the herbal formula you gui wan - in studies this formula has been shown to triple sperm volume within 3 months in most cases and positively effect other aspects (motility, etc.).

With regards to sperm volume this will fluctuate naturally and your current recommendations (no biking, no masturbation, etc.) seem good. Not too sure about the warm bath before sex recommendation - that seems like a horrible idea as it can overheat the sperm. Because of these normal fluctuations you would expect to get different readings from time to time - so do not let that get you discouraged. It is more important to watch how your husband is feeling and if any of his health issues (even if minor - everyone has some) are actually improving from the treatment. If you are not happy with treatments at this point it may be time to move on to another practitioner.

With fertility we know it takes two people (and in reality only one sperm). Because of this, you should be receiving treatment if at all possible. Endometriosis has strong links to fertility issues and even though you had surgery 2 years ago it is a condition which tends to recur (a good reason to have treatments). Even with surgery there is only a 10-20% increase in fertility according to most studies that I've seen. From a Chinese perspective there are underlying imbalances that contribute to endometriosis and these should be dealt with for the best chances at fertility. The way we look at it is if the husband has some issues (lower sperm volume, etc.) you need to be as fertile as possible - so even in the absence of strong symptoms we prefer to treat both the man and the woman in most fertility cases.

For a general synopsis of TCM views on fertility, you may want to read my article "Acupuncture for Male and Female Fertility". General recommendations for raising male sperm counts are as follows:

<li>Avoid tight undergarments and the overheating of testicles (including avoiding hot baths and hot tubs).</li>
<li>Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and other drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.</li>
<li>The drug cimetidine (tagamet) - often used with GERD and related issues - is linked with low sperm counts.</li>
<li>Do - exercise with moderation, eat as much whole foods as possible particularly those high in Vitamin C and A, and watch stress levels (controlling with tai chi, mediation, yoga, etc. if necessary)</li>

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