Long Story Short:
- Up to 50% of infertility cases are due to a male factor 
- Up to 30% of infertility cases are solely due to a male factor 
- 9.4% of American men between 14-60 years-old are infertile , that’s almost 11 MILLION men
- It’s not just physical but can be nutritional, hormonal, social, stress and even related to your relationship health [2,3]
You hear about a married couple unable to have children, the knee-jerk thought is that the woman is unable to conceive. Not so fast.
About 50%, (yes, half) of infertility cases in America are due to a male factor. These numbers are pretty similar in Africa, Europe, and up to 70% in the Middle East. Add to that, 9.4% of American men of fertile age, which is 15 to 60 years old, are infertile.
How is male infertility diagnosed?
If a couple have been trying to conceive a child for 1 year without success, then further investigation is warranted. This is when the couple would see a specialist, from there the couple would undergo more testing.
The male testing takes a look at a few things:
- Sperm count
- Normal: 40 to 300 million
- Sperm motility and velocity
- At least 50% of the sperm should be active and their movement should be higher than a 2
- Sperm morphology (Size & Shape)
- At least 30% should be normal
- Semen volume
- Normal: 2.5 mL
If any of your results come back out of the normal range, then further testing will be done. Your doctor will also (should also) take a look at your hormones (testosterone, prolactin, FSH, LH, thyroid hormones, estrogen, etc.) and lifestyle. Yet what we need to make clear, and is often overlooked with some practitioners, is we are treating the whole person, along with the infertility. This means your medical history, your social history, your diet, exercise, lifestyle, emotions, environmental exposures/heavy metals, stress and relationship health all play a pivotal role. You can’t just address one and expect immediate results, you need to look at them all.
The goal is to remove any obstacles that may be negatively impacting fertility. Some would say the cause of infertility is a low sperm count, low motility, hormonal imbalance, etc. I would argue, the cause of a man’s infertility is not simply that he has a low sperm count or low testosterone, but those are clues that the body is not functioning as it was designed.
Acupuncture for men and women has been shown to be very effective for infertility and is a great supplement for couple seeking fertility treatment. Taking a functional approach utilizing nutrition, exercise, stress management, botanical medicine, genetics and lifestyle can make a profound impact, and should be a first-line therapy… AND its much cheaper than in-vitro fertilization!
Until next time.
- Agarwal A, Mulgund A, Hamada A, Chyatte MR. A unique view on male infertility around the globe. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E. 2015;13:37. doi:10.1186/s12958-015-0032-1.
- Faraj K, Dave C, Bennett RC,Vakharia P (2016) Male Infertility. eMedicine Specialities: Urology. http://tinyurl.com/jp4vsyv (accessed 7 September 2016.
Leaver RB. Male infertility: an overview of causes and treatment options. British Journal of Nursing. 2016 Oct 13;25(18):S35-S40.