Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Updated August 1, 2004

Male Infertility Questions

By Gabrielle Matthieu, LAc and Brian Carter, MS, LAc

Gabrielle Mathieu is a Licensed Acupuncturist, with a graduate degree in Oriental Medicine .She has an undergraduate degree in medical technology and worked in hospitals as a lab technician for 12 years before coming to Oriental Medicine. She integrates both medicines in her Austin Texas practice.

Something related to fertility...


My husband has very low sperm count, quality, motility, and morphology. He had surgery last December to correct a varicocele. He was tested again 5 months post surgery and found no improvement. He also had an SCSA test to detect DNA fragmentation in his sperm. The results showed 35% fragmentation. 30% or above is considered poor and believed to lead to a 75% chance of miscarriage.

By doing the math and factoring in the success rate of IVF and my age, (I will be 38 in October, he will be 41 in July.) we have a 6% chance of a successful pregnancy.

Can acupuncture help us in any way? By the way, due to a car accident at age 12, he does not have a spleen and his liver does not function very well. Thanks for your help.


Dear Linda,

Given all the specific factors that you present, we can't give you a statistic on how acupuncture will improve your and your husband's ability to conceive. We know that IVF increased fertility success rates from 26% to 41% in the 200 or so participants in the German study, but we need to include your husband's issues as well.

Generally, herbal prescriptions have been documented to help improve sperm motility and decrease sperm defects. This research has mostly been done in China, where subjects are willing to take large doses of raw herbs. I would suggest you read this article on male infertility by Randine Lewis, PhD, LAc, author of The Infertility Cure.

You may need to contact a specialist in Chinese medicine infertility, and you might possibly need to travel for treatment. Overcoming infertility can be tiring and expensive. Acupuncture and herbs are relatively inexpensive compared to IVF, and since there is a good chance they'll increase the likelihood that your first or second attempt will succeed, they are indispensable. We'd suggest you use all three.

Usually, recommends traditional acupuncturists, or MD acupuncturists if they are well trained in and experienced with acupuncture, but since your husband has already had specialized medical tests, perhaps a doctor could best help interpret them (though, of course, a real specialist in Chinese medicine infertility would also be familiar with such tests).

For more information about Chinese medicine fertility treatments, listen to this free Chinese medicine fertility webinar (a web seminar, this one surprisingly comprehensive for a free resource) from Dr. Randine Lewis.

Additionally, Dagmar Ehling, an acupuncturist in North Carolina, specializes in fertility. You can visit her website.


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