Acupuncture boosts sperm quality in infertile men

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April 14, 2007  
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CM NEWS – Researchers have demonstrated that specific aspects of sperm quality were significant improved following a period of acupuncture use.

acupuncture appears to be a simple method for improving the ultrastructure, and therefore quality, of sperm in men with unexplained infertility, research indicates. The study was done by researchers of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“The treatment of idiopathic infertility could benefit from employing acupuncture,” states the team, led by Jian Pei from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the People’s Republic of China.

acupuncture for men undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) has already been shown to have positive effects on sperm quality, fertilization rates, and pregnancy rates.

To evaluate its effects on sperm structure in detail, the researchers used transmission electron microscopy to study ejaculates from 40 men with with idiopathic oligospermia, asthenospermia, or teratozoospermia, 28 of whom received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks. The samples from the treatment group were randomized with semen samples from the 12 men in the untreated control group.

After acupuncture, a statistically significant increase in the percentage and number of sperm in the total ejaculate without ultrastructural defects was observed, in comparison with controls, with improvements in the shape of the acrosome and nucleus. No change in specific pathologies, such as apoptosis, necrosis, or immaturity, however, was apparent.

Encouraged by these results, Pei et al recommend: “In conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, noninvasive method that can improve sperm quality.”

[Fertility and Sterility 2005; 84: 141-7]