The Rise of Male Infertility

The Rise of Male Infertility – acupuncture to improve sperm

We often talk about women’s health and issues, specifically around fertility and gynaecology, for example, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), abdominal masses, amenorrhea, and the menopause.  What you don’t hear too often about is male infertility. 

Male infertility can be caused by low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors may contribute to male infertility.

Male infertility is on the rise, over the past 40 years, sperm counts worldwide have halved, a decrease of 53.9% from a study conducted by the Human Reproduction Update, and sperm quality has declined alarmingly with 1 in 20 men currently facing reduced fertility. 

In 2022, Levine and associates published a review of global trends in sperm count. It showed that sperm counts fell on average by 1.2% per year between 1973 to 2018, from 104 to 49 million/ml. From the year 2000, this rate of decline accelerated to more than 2.6% per year.

Male infertility contributes to approximately half of all cases of infertility and affects 7% of the male population. However, it is much less discussed than female infertility, partly due to the social and cultural taboos surrounding it. For many men with fertility problems, the cause remains unexplained – and stigma means many are suffering in silence.

Factors which are contributing to male infertility include, but not limited to, pollution, environmental endocrine disruptors, too much heat, stress, alcohol, obesity, prescription and recreational drugs.  

All is not lost though:  there are small changes which men can do to increase their fertility.  Exercise, a healthier diet, cooler baths, no saunas and less plastics (BPA free) have been linked to improved sperm quality.   It takes around 100 days to create new sperm, so positive steps forward from nutrition and lifestyle changes can be maximised.  

Acupuncture has been shown in recent studies to help boost male fertility, points are used on the leg and abdomen which help increase blood flow through the blood vessels to the testicles.  Acupuncture can affect the hormone levels to promote production of healthy sperm.