Traditionally, infertility was thought to be due to female factors alone, but it is now better understood that infertility is not just a female problem. A male factor contributes in about half of the cases of infertile couples. It is almost always defined by the finding of an abnormal semen analysis, although other male factors may play a role even when the semen analysis is normal.
In clinic we find that more women seek our help but we always try to look at the male contribution as well. We’ve found much better results when we support both partners with their fertility.
How has male fertility changed?
Sperm counts have dropped more than 50% in the last decade! 20 years ago a sperm count of 100 million/ml was considered normal, now that is reduced to 15 million/ml.
Most researchers blame this on the change in lifestyle in Western countries. The use of hormone disrupting chemicals (as in certain foods and cleaning products, smoking, medication and pesticides), stress and obesity all play a big role.
Not only the sperm count is a problem nowadays, the morphology (the size and shape of the sperm) and motility (movement and swimming of sperm) have dropped considerably too. Before 2000 it was normal to have 30% normal sperm in a sample, that is now down to a very low 4%. The motility has gone down from 75% to 40%.
Read more about the importance of a Semen Analysis here.
What does this mean for male fertility?
A lot of what is considered ‘normal’ sperm now, was called infertile sperm 20 years ago. The standards are so much lower now to adapt to the general population. We always take a critical look at sperm test results and aim to improve them to good levels.
When do I start to work on my fertility?
If you have been trying to conceive naturally but have been unable to or if you are currently undergoing fertility treatment it is a great choice for both partners to see us. At an initial consultation we discuss your history, general health and test results and you’ll each receive a tailored treatment plan.
It takes around 3 months for sperm to mature so that means lifestyle changes and treatment that you have now will result in improved sperm quality in 3 months. So we always recommend men to start working on their fertility with acupuncture and supplements 3 months before they want to start trying to conceive or start their IVF.
Before starting to conceive it is also important to get basic testing done of your sperm, hormones and other blood tests. Please find our check list here.
Do mobile phones affect sperm quality?
One of the first things we always address is where men carry their mobile phone. A correlation exists between mobile phone radiation exposure, DNA-fragmentation and decreased sperm quality. If you’d like to read up about this here is the link. We always recommend men to never carry their mobile phone in their front pocket.
How can I make an appointment?
Can I claim acupuncture on my private health insurance?
Most private health funds cover acupuncture but it depends on your level of cover. Please check your policy or speak to your provider.