Acupuncture can help men with a low sperm count
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 f 1.1 x lo6 spermatozoa per ejaculate before treatment vs. 4.3 f 3.2 x lo6 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 si nificantly, from 0 to an average of l.5f2.4 x 10 spermatozoa per ejaculate (Z = - 2.8, PI 0.01). Males with genitak tract inflammation exhibited the most remarkable improvement in sperm density (on average from 0.3 f0.6 x lo6 spermatozoa per ejaculate to 8 3.3 f 3.2 x lo6 spermatozoa per ejaculate; Z = - 2.4, PI 0.02).
Two pregnancies were achieved by the IVF-ICSI procedure. It is concluded that acupuncture may be a useful, non-traumatic treatment for males with very poor sperm density, especially those with a history of genital tract inflammation.
Sherman et al. (2000) Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study. Andrologia 32, 31-39.