Stress reduces sperm quality, is acupuncture the answer?

Stress sperm acupunctureImpact of stress on female infertility and pregnancy has been well documented. Below study, published in journal of Fertility and Sterility, shows shows male reproductive health is similarly affected by it. The researchers are confident the correlation between stress and sperm parameters is clear.

Acupuncture has been shown to improve sperm quality, it has also been shown to help with stress. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center have shown that acupuncture interferes with the very mechanism of stress.

Effects of work and life stress on semen quality

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Study: Herbal formula helps oligoasthenospermia

Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2012 Dec;18(12):1105-7.
[Compound Xuanju Capsule combined with vitamin E improves sperm chromatin integrity].
[Article in Chinese]
Song B1, He XJ, Jiang HH, Peng YW, Wu H, Cao YX.
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the clinical effects of the combined therapy of the Chinese medicine Compound Xuanju Capsule and vitamin E on sperm chromatin damage in idiopathic oligoasthenospermia.

METHODS:
We assigned 50 infertile men with seminal abnormality to a control group (n = 26) and a trial group (n = 24) to receive vitamin E and the combined therapy of Compound Xuanju Capsule plus vitamin E, respectively, both treated for 3 months. Before and after the treatment, we detected semen routine parameters and sperm DNA fragmentation indexes (DFI) by computer aided semen analysis (CASA) and sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), and compared them between the two groups.

RESULTS:
There was no obvious difference between the percentage of progressively motile sperm in the trial group and that in the control group (21.55 +/- 8.68 vs 21.47 +/- 11.53, P > 0.05). The trial group showed a significantly decreased sperm DFI after medication as compared with pre-medication (29.57 +/- 12.19 vs 34.09 +/- 10.32, P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The combined therapy of Compound Xuanju Capsule and vitamin E can effectively improve seminal quality and reduce sperm chromatin damage in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenospermia. PMID: 23405792 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Herbs for semen non-liquefaction

This study shows that Chinese herbs are helpful for semen non-liquefaction. Shengjing Tablets used in this study include nine TCM/herbal ingredients.

Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2012 Jun;18(6):568-70.
[Shengjing tablets for semen non-liquefaction: a clinical study of 100 cases].
[Article in Chinese]
Yang XF, Guo LH, An LH, Pan ZH, Sun L, Ma K.
Source
Department of Andrology, The Third Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Henan, Zhengzhou 450052, China. xfyang97045@yahoo.com.cn
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the efficacy and action mechanism of Shengjing Tablets in the treatment liquefaction.
METHODS:
We randomly assigned 150 patients with semen non-liquefaction to receive Shengjing Tablets group, n = 100) and vitamin E capsules (control group, n = 50) for 2 courses of 45 days each, followed by observation liquefaction time and other semen parameters.
RESULTS:
After the first course, 68 of the patients in the treatment group 20 responded and 12 failed to respond; and after the second course, 84 were cured, 9 responded and 7 failed to respond, effective rate of 93.0%. In comparison, only 8 of the controls were cured, 8 responded and 34 failed to respond after medication. There were statistically significant differences between the two groups (P < 0.01). Meanwhile, the treatment showed obvious improvement in sperm motility and concentration. CONCLUSION: Shengjing Tablets may shorten the time liquefaction, and can be used as a safe and effective therapy for semen non-liquefaction.

Electro-acupuncture enhances sperm motility in rats

sperm-fertility-acupuncture-spermatogenesis
This study published in journal of Spermatogenesis contributes to understanding of how acupuncture improves sperm parameters. The researchers found that acupuncture improved Sertoli cell functions. This has enhanced germ cell proliferation. The result is improved motile sperm count. The study design could not evaluate other sperm parameters.

Spermatogenesis. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):53-62.
Electroacupuncture enhances spermatogenesis in rats after scrotal heat treatment.
Gao J, Zuo Y, So KH, Yeung WS, Ng EH, Lee KF.
Abstract
Spermatogenesis is regulated by a cascade of steroid regulated genes in the testis. Recent studies suggested that acupuncture may improve fertility in men with abnormal semen parameters. Yet, the underlying mechanisms in which acupuncture enhances spermatogenesis remain largely unknown. Here we used a scrotal heat-treated rat model to study the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on recovery of spermatogenesis. In this model, spermatogenesis was disrupted by 30 min scrotal heat treatment at 43°C. Ten sessions of EA were given at Baihui (GV20), Guanyuan (CV4), Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) from day 9 to day 36 post-treatment. Sperm motility and production, morphology of the germinal epithelium by Johnsen’s scoring, germ cell apoptosis by TUNEL staining, proliferation by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) staining, as well as serum testosterone and inhibin B levels by immunoassays were evaluated on day 0, 1, 9, 25, 37, 46, 56 and 79. When compared with the heat-treated (H) group, the heat-treated plus EA (H(+)EA) group showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) in PCNA-positive cells and inhibin B levels on days 37 and 46, and a higher Johnsen's score till day 56. On day 79, motile spermatozoa could be found in the vas deferens of H(+)EA group only. Consistently, there was a trend of improved motility and increased number of motile epididymal spermatozoa in the H(+)EA group than the H group; while apoptosis of germ cells and serum testosterone levels were similar between the two groups. Taken together, EA enhanced germ cell proliferation through improvement of Sertoli cell functions. This may facilitate the recovery of spermatogenesis and may restore normal semen parameters in subfertile patients.

Acupuncture is an effective therapy for Sperm Abnormality


Abstract
Objective
To observe the clinical efficacy of acupuncture-moxibustion therapy for infertility due to sperm abnormality (SAI).
Methods
We treated a series of 35 cases of SAI with electroacupuncture combined with herb cake-partitioned moxibustion, observing the variation before and after treatment in symptom integral, sperm status, sex hormone and prostate function.
Results
After treatment, the patients were remarkably improved in symptom integral, sperm status, sex hormone and prostate function as compared with those prior to treatment.
Conclusion
Acupuncture is an effective therapy for SAI.

Key Words Acupuncture-moxibustion Therapy – Infertility, Male – Spermatozoa – Azoospermia – Oligospermia

Author: He Jinsen, doctor of medicine, professor

E-acupuncture improves testicular blood flow

fertility and sterility acupuncture Fertil Steril. 2008 Nov;90(5):1732-8. Epub 2008 Feb 20.
Point- and frequency-specific response of the testicular artery to abdominal electroacupuncture in humans.

Cakmak YO, Akpinar IN, Ekinci G, Bekiroglu N.

Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Marmara, Istanbul, Turkey. ycakmak@marmara.edu.tr
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To clarify the role of the abdominal acupuncture points and the frequency of short-term electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation on testicular blood flow (TBF) in humans.

DESIGN: A prospective, randomized study.

SETTING: University hospital, Department of Radiology, ultrasound unit.

PATIENT(S): Eighty healthy male volunteers were randomly allocated to three groups in stage one and to a single group in stage two. In the first stage of the study, the abdominal acupuncture points ST-29 (guilai) were stimulated using simple needle insertion, 2 Hz burst EA or 10 Hz EA, in three different groups. In the second stage of the study, abdominal acupuncture points ST-25 (tianshu) were stimulated with the frequency found to be more effective in stage one. Stimulation was for 5 minutes in each group.

INTERVENTION(S): Electroacupuncture and Doppler flowmeter.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Four groups were compared for volume flow and other related parameters of TBF.

RESULT(S): The 10-Hz EAcupuncture stimulation of ST-29 (guilai) increased TBF, but simple needle insertion and 2-Hz burst stimulation did not. The 10-Hz EA stimulation of ST-25 (tianshu) did not result in significant changes in TBF.

CONCLUSION(S): For the first time point- and frequency-specific effects of abdominal E Acupuncture on testiclar blood flow are shown in humans. Further investigation is required to ascertain whether these findings may be helpful in the clinical treatment of infertile men.

PMID: 18076881 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Acupuncture improves sperm motilty

In this study acupuncture effectively helped patients suffering from both reduced sperm motility and low sperm count. This kind of condition is called oligoasthenozoospermia. The study showed that acupuncture significantly improved percentage of motile sperm.

sperm-motility

Fertil Steril. 2009 Oct;92(4):1340-3. doi: 10.1016/ j.fertnstert. 2009.02.041. Epub 2009 Apr 25.
A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia.
Dieterle S, Li C, Greb R, Bartzsch F, Hatzmann W, Huang D.
Source
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Dortmund, Germany. dieterle@ivf-dortmund.de
Abstract
In this first prospective, randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled study, 28 infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia received acupuncture according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and 29 infertile patients received placebo acupuncture. A significantly higher percentage of motile sperm (World Health Organization categories A-C), but no effect on sperm concentration, was found after acupuncture compared with placebo acupuncture.

Acupuncture improves sperm motility

acupuncture sperm motility male infertilityArch Androl. 1997 Sep-Oct;39(2):155-61.

Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality.
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B.

Institute of Chinese Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The aim of this prospective controlled study was to assess the effect of acupuncture on the sperm quality of males suffering from subfertility related to sperm impairment. Semen samples of 16 acupuncture-treated subfertile patients were analyzed before and 1 month after treatment (twice a week for 5 weeks). In parallel, semen samples of 16 control untreated subfertile males were examined. Two specimens were taken from the control group at an interval of 2-8 months. The expanded semen analysis included routine and ultramorphological observations. The fertility index increased significantly (p < or = .05) following improvement in total functional sperm fraction, percentage of viability, total motile spermatozoa per ejaculate, and integrity of the axonema (p < or = .05), which occurred upon treatment. The intactness of axonema and sperm motility were highly correlated (corr. = .50, p < or = .05). Thus, patients exhibiting a low fertility potential due to reduced sperm activity may benefit from acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture for male and female infertility – systematic review

fertility and sterility acupunctureThe Role of Acupuncture in the Management of Subfertility

Ng E H et al Fertil Steril. 2008 Jul;90(1):1-13.
Fertility and Sterility

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To review systematically the use of acupuncture in the management of subfertility.

DESIGN: A computer search was performed via several English and Chinese databases to identify journals relevant to the subject.

RESULT(S): The positive effect of acupuncture in the treatment of subfertility may be related to the central sympathetic inhibition by the endorphin system, the change in uterine blood flow and motility, and stress reduction. Acupuncture may help restore ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, although there are not enough randomized studies to validate this.

There is also no sufficient evidence supporting the role of acupuncture in male subfertility, as most of the studies are uncontrolled case reports or case series in which the sample sizes were small. Despite these deficiencies, acupuncture can be considered as an effective alternative for pain relief during oocyte retrieval in patients who cannot tolerate side effects of conscious sedation.

The pregnancy rate of IVF treatment is significantly increased, especially when acupuncture is administered on the day of embryo transfer.

CONCLUSION(S): Although acupuncture has gained increasing popularity in the management of subfertility, its effectiveness has remained controversial.

Effect of Chinese medicinal herbs on sperm membrane of infertile male

Effect of Chinese medicinal herbs on sperm membrane of infertile male
[Article in Chinese]

Liu XD.

Shandong Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Materia Medica, Jinan.

The authors carried on the quantitative analysis of fluorescence polarization degree and fluorescent intensity on wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) receptor in sperm membrane surface and protein macromolecule 1-Anilinonaph thalene-8-suphonic acid salt (1,8-ANS) of sperm membrane to the patients with infertility and adult male with normal fertility, with the method of ultraviolet microspectrofluorometer (SMP, type: 05, made in West Germany). The results were as follows: the patient’s WGA receptor in sperm membrane surface was decreased (P less than 0.001), and the 1, 8-ANS of fluorescent intensity in hydrophobic area of protein macromolecule of sperm membrane was increased (P less than 0.05). After the treatment of Shenjing Zhongzitang, WGA receptor was increased obviously and 1, 8-ANS of fluorescent intensity was changed to be almost normal. It showed that the Chinese medicinal herbs mentioned above have certain influence upon the constitution of WGA receptor and protein macromolecule of sperm membrane.

Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1990 Sep;10(9):519-21, 515.

Male infertility: acupuncture improves sperm quality

fertility and sterility acupunctureQuantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility.
Pei J, Strehler E, Noss U, Abt M, Piomboni P, Baccetti B, Sterzik K.

Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. jianpei99@yahoo.com

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the ultramorphologic sperm features of idiopathic infertile men after acupuncture therapy. DESIGN: Prospective controlled study. SETTING: Christian-Lauritzen-Institut, Ulm, IVF center Munich, Germany, and Department of General Biology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy. PATIENT(S): Forty men with idiopathic oligospermia, asthenospermia, or teratozoospermia. INTERVENTION(S): Twenty eight of the patients received acupuncture twice a week over a period of 5 weeks. The samples from the treatment group were randomized with semen samples from the 12 men in the untreated control group. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Quantitative analysis by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to evaluate the samples, using the mathematical formula based on submicroscopic characteristics. RESULT(S): Statistical evaluation of the TEM data showed a statistically significant increase after acupuncture in the percentage and number of sperm without ultrastructural defects in the total ejaculates. A statistically significant improvement was detected in acrosome position and shape, nuclear shape, axonemal pattern and shape, and accessory fibers of sperm organelles. However, specific sperm pathologies in the form of apoptosis, immaturity, and necrosis showed no statistically significant changes between the control and treatment groups before and after treatment.

CONCLUSION(S): The treatment of idiopathic male infertility could benefit from employing acupuncture. A general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultrastructural integrity of spermatozoa, was seen after acupuncture, although we did not identify specific sperm pathologies that could be particularly sensitive to this therapy.

Fertil Steril. 2005 Jul;84(1):141-7.

Acupuncture improves sperm quality (motility, normal sperm ratio) and ICSI outcomes

Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology.
Zhang M, Huang G, Lu F, Paulus WE, Sterzik K.

Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030.

The clinical effects of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in sperm parameter and on therapeutic results in assisted reproductive technology were investigated. 22 patients failed in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with idiopathic male infertility were treated with acupuncture twice weekly for 8 weeks, followed by ICSI treatment again. The sperm concentration, motility, morphology, fertilization rates and embryo quality were observed. Quick sperm motility after acupuncture (18.3% +/- 9.6%) was significantly improved as compared with that before treatment (11.0% +/- 7.5%, P < 0.01). The normal sperm ratio was increased after acupuncture (21.1% +/- 10.4% vs 16.2% +/- 8.2%, P < 0.05). The fertilization rates after acupuncture (66.2%) were obviously higher than that before treatment (40.2%, P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in sperm concentration and general sperm motility between before and after acupuncture. The embryo quality after acupuncture was improved, but the difference between them was not significant (P > 0.05). Acupuncture can improve sperm quality and fertilization rates in assisted reproductive technology.

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2002;22(3):228-30.

Acupuncture & IVF Poor Responders: A Cure?

P.C. Magarelli, D.K. Cridennda. Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs, CO.

Background and Significance: The utility of acupuncture in the treatment of infertility has been demonstrated in two controlled studies. The first study determined the effect of reducing the Pulsatility Index (PI) of the uterine artery on reproductive outcomes; the second study described a Pre/Post embryo transfer protocol that enhanced overall pregnancy rates (PR). There are no studies that have utilized both techniques.

Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of these two acupuncture protocols on IVF outcomes and secondly to identify the appropriate patient groups that would most benefit from this adjunctive therapy.
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Male infertility: acupuncture and herbs regulate antisperm antiboy antisperm antibody (AsAb)

Effects of the combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs on male immune infertility–a clinical report of 50 cases.
Fu B, Lun X, Gong Y.

Department of Acupuncture, Second Guangdong Provincial Worker’s Hospital, Guangzhou 510720, China.

To study the clinical effects of the combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs on male immune infertility and on antisperm antibody (AsAb), 100 male cases of infertility with positive AsAb were divided randomly into two groups, each consisting of 50 cases. The acupuncture-drug group was treated with acupuncture on Ganshu (BL 18), Shenshu (BL 23), Taichong (LR 3), Taixi (KI 3), Xinshu (BL 15), Geshu (BL 17), Shenmen (HT 7), and Xuehai (SP 10), combined with oral medication of Liuwei Dihuang Wan (Bolus of the Six Drugs Including Rehmanniae). The control group was treated with oral prednisone. The clinical therapeutic effects and the impact on AsAb were observed in the two groups. The results showed that the total effective rate in the acupuncture-drug group was 90%; while that of the control group was 64%, the comparison showing a statistically significant difference (P<0.05). The positive rate of blood serum and/or AsAb in both the two groups decreased in varying degrees, but the negative-turning rate of AsAb in the acupuncture-drug group was more obvious, the comparison showing also a significant difference (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: The combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs has definite therapeutic effects on male immune infertility, which can regulate AsAb and raise the immunity of the patients.

J Tradit Chin Med. 2005 Sep;25(3):186-9.

Acupuncture and ART

Controlled trial of acupuncture effects in assisted reproduction therapy
Paulus W.E.1, Zhang M.2, Strehler E.1, Seybold B.1 and Sterzik K.Christian-Lauritzen-Institut, Reproductive Medicine, Ulm, Germany and 2Tongji Medical University, Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, China

Introduction: In a former published prospective randomized study we demonstrated the benefitt of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in assisted reproduction therapy by comparing a group of patients receiving acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer, with a control group receiving no acupuncture. To rule out the possibility that acupuncture produces only psychological or psychosomatic effects, we used a placebo needle set as a control in the present study.

Materials and Methods:Two hundred patients undergoing ICSI or IVF in our fertility centre were included in this prospective, randomized, placebo controlled trial. Only patients with good embryo quality were admitted. They were divided into two groups by random selection: embryo transfer with verum acupuncture (n = 100) and embryo transfer with placebo needling (n = 100). Verum acupuncture was performed in 100 patients 25 min before and after embryo transfer. In the control group (n = 100) a placebo needle set was used without penetrating the skin, but at the same acupoints and after the same scheme. Before embryo transfer we used the following locations: Cx6 (Neiguan), Sp8 (Diji), Liv3 (Taichong), Gv20 (Baihui) and S29 ( Guilai). After embryo transfer, the sterile disposable stainless steel needles (0.25 3 25 mm) were inserted at the following points: S36 (Zusanli), Sp6 (Sanyinjiao), Sp10 (Xuehai) and Li4 (Hegu). After 10 min the needles were rotated. The main outcome measure was clinical pregnancy defined by the presence of a fetal sac at ultrasound examination 6 weeks after embryo transfer. The Chi-squared test was used for comparison of both groups.

Results: Clinical pregnancies were documented in 43 of 100 patients (43.0%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate reached 37.0% (37 out of 100 patients) in the control group. A significant difference between verum acupuncture and placebo needling could not be demonstrated (P = 0.39).

Conclusion:The missing advantage of verum acupuncture versus placebo needling may be due to the methodical problem that real placebo models for acupuncture are lacking. Our placebo needle set induces an acupressure effect thus leading to a higher pregnancy rate than in our population without any complementary treatment.

Effects of ferulic acid on fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides.

Effects of ferulic acid on fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides.

Zheng RL, Zhang H.

Department of Biology, Lanzhou University, P.R. China.

The capacity of human sperm fertilization principally depends on sperm motility and membrane integrity. Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide, are known to impair sperm motility and membrane integrity by inducing membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO). Ferulic acid (FA), an effective constituent in various medicinal herbs, has recently been shown to scavenge oxygen free radicals and increase the intracellular cAMP and cGMP. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of FA on human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides in fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile individuals in vitro. The sperm samples were obtained from 10 fertile volunteers and 10 asthenozoospermic infertile patients. Washed spermatozoa were incubated at 37 degrees C in Ham’s F-10 medium with 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, or 1.6 mM of FA. Samples were analyzed for viability, determined by eosin-Y dye exclusion method at 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 h of incubation; motility, determined by the trans-membrane migration method within 2 h of incubation; LPO, determined by thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method at 3 h of incubation and the intracellular cAMP and cGMP, determined, respectively, by 3H-cAMP and 125I-cGMP radioimmunoassay at 3 h of incubation. The results showed: in both fertile and infertile spermatozoa, the viability, trans-membrane migration ratio (TMMR) and the levels of intracellular cAMP and cGMP in FA-treated spermatozoa were significantly higher than those of spermatozoa in control groups, while TBA-reactive substances contents in treated spermatozoa were significantly lower than those in control spermatozoa. The effects of FA on these processes were concentration dependent. These data suggested that FA is beneficial to sperm viability and motility in both fertile and infertile individuals, and that reduction of lipid peroxidative damage to sperm membranes and increase of intracellular cAMP and cGMP may be involved in these benefits. It is possible that FA may be used for cure of asthenozoospermic infertility.

Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;22(4):581-6.

Combination of Chinese herbs and hormones could lower the NO (nitric oxide) level in semen and improve the quality of sperm

Clinical observation on effect of combination of zhuanyindan and hormone in treating male infertility with positive antisperm antibody
[Article in Chinese]
Yu AL, Zhang FZ, Zhang FX.

Taishan Medical College, Shandong 271000.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the therapeutic effect of combination of Zhuanyindan (ZYD, a Chinese herbal preparation) and hormone in treating male infertility with positive antisperm antibody and its influence on nitric oxide (NO) level. METHODS: Eighty-two patients were randomly divided (according to the digital list) into the WM group (n = 20, treated with prednisone), the TCM group (n = 28, treated with ZYD) and the ICWM group (n = 34, treated with prednisone plus ZYD). The clinical effect, negative converting rate of antisperm antibody, changes of NO level in semen and various parameters of sperm motion before and after treatment were observed. RESULTS: The total effective rate in the ICWM group was 88.2%, that in the TCM group 75.0% and in the WM group 65.0%. Significant difference was seen in the ICWM and TCM group before and after treatment in NO level, sperm motion parameters, including linear motion speed, linearity, propulsion, whip frequency, sperm vitality and mean moving angle, and quality of semen (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). In the WM group, significant difference in comparison before and after treatment was seen in NO level, propulsion, whip frequency, mean moving angle and quality of semen, including vitality and survival rate (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Combination of Chinese herbs and hormone could lower the NO (nitric oxide) level in semen and improve the quality of sperm. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2004 Mar;24(3):223-6.

Acupuncture increases percentage of normal sperm form

This study showed that acupuncture significantly improves sperm morphology (increases percentage of normal form sperm). This was a randomised controlled blinded trial and was published in a peer-reviewed Asian Journal of Andrology.

abnormal-sperm-acupuncture

Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8.
Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities.
Gurfinkel E, Cedenho AP, Yamamura Y, Srougi M.
Source
Human Reproduction Division, Discipline of Urology, São Paulo Federal University, Paulista School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil. egurfa@uol.com.br
Abstract
AIM:
To evaluate the effect of Chinese Traditional Medicine, acupuncture and moxa treatment, on the semen quality in patients with semen abnormalities.
METHODS:
In a prospective, controlled and blind study, nineteen patients, aged 24 years approximately 42 years and married for 3 years approximately 11 years without children with semen abnormalities in concentration, morphology and/or progressive motility without apparent cause, were randomized into two groups and submitted to acupuncture and moxa treatment at the therapeutic (Study Group) and the indifferent points (Control Group), respectively, for 10 weeks. Semen analyses were performed before and after the treatment course.
RESULTS:
The patients of the Study Group presented a significant increase in the percentage of normal-form sperm compared to the Control Group (calculated U=16.0, critical U=17.0).
CONCLUSION:
The Chinese Traditional Medicine acupuncture and moxa techniques significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm in infertile patients with oligoastenoteratozoospermia without apparent cause.

Acupuncture helps patients with very poor sperm density

Acupuncture is effective for men with very poor sperm density. With these men acupuncture can improve sperm quality to the extent that they don’t have to undergo testicular biopsy. The abstract of the study:

Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study.
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Lederman H, Bartoov B.
Source
Institute of Chinese Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Abstract
Classic therapies are usually ineffective in the treatment of patients with very poor sperm density. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of acupuncture on these males. Semen samples of 20 patients with a history of azoospermia were examined by light microscope (LM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM), with which a microsearch for spermatozoa was carried out. These examinations were performed before and 1 month after acupuncture treatment and revealed that the study group originally contained three severely oligoteratoasthenozoospermic (OTA), two pseudoazoospermic and 15 azoospermic patients. The control group was comprised of 20 untreated males who underwent two semen examinations within a period of 2-4 months and had initial andrological profiles similar to those of the experimental group. No changes in any of the parameters examined were observed in the control group. There was a marked but not significant improvement in the sperm counts of severely OTA males following acupuncture treatment (average = 0.7 +/- 1.1 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate before treatment vs. 4.3 +/- 3.2 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate after treatment). A definite increase in sperm count was detected in the ejaculates of 10 (67%) of the 15 azoospermic patients. Seven of these males exhibited post-treatment spermatozoa that were detected even by LM. The sperm production of these seven males increased significantly, from 0 to an average of 1.5 +/- 2.4 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate (Z = -2.8, P < or = 0.01). Males with genital tract inflammation exhibited the most remarkable improvement in sperm density (on average from 0.3 +/- 0.6 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate to 3.3 +/- 3.2 x 10(6) spermatozoa per ejaculate; Z = -2.4, P < or = 0.02). Two pregnancies were achieved by the IVF-ICSI procedure. It is concluded that acupuncture may be a useful, nontraumatic treatment for males with very poor sperm density, especially those with a history of genital tract inflammation.