It Takes Two: Male Factor Infertility

Guest Blog Entry by: Kara Yorkhall, L.Ac, MaOM

Whenever a woman comes to my office seeking Chinese medicine treatment for infertility, I always inquire whether her male partner has had a semen analysis. As it turns out male factor infertility or MFI is a involved in up to 50% of all documented infertility cases. Therefore, obtaining a thorough semen analysis is always a valuable component to understanding the whole picture of a couple’s fertility. A semen analysis should not only check the sperm count, or the total number of sperm in an ejaculate sample but also sperm morphology, motility, and the pH and viscosity of the seminal fluid, as well as other measures.

The Western Approach
There are relatively few Western medical treatment options available to men struggling with infertility. The majority of cases are treated using IVF with ICSI (the injection of selected sperm into the egg in vitro). Structural problems are usually best treated with surgery, and hormonal therapies are sometimes recommended as well.

The Eastern Approach
Similar to treatment of female infertility Traditional Chinese Medicine has shown to be an effective treatment modality for treatment of male factor infertility. As with treatment of other conditions, the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment relies on developing a proper diagnosis and corresponding treatment. Acupuncture and herbal and food therapy based on the individual patient’s constitution is essential. There are also some basic lifestyle changes and supplements that all men could incorporate into their routine.

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