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Acupuncture May Improve Male Fertility Too!

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by Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, Dec. 10, 2009

Often women are unfairly seen as the cause of infertility. The reality, however, is that men are responsible for 35% - 40% percent of infertility among couples. Reasons for male factor infertility can include low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape and size, and reduced sperm motility.

Studies now show that acupuncture can help with some aspects of male infertility as well as female infertility. An April 2009 study published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility looked at 28 infertile men. It found that acupuncture increased sperm motility in these men compared to another 29 men who did not received the Chinese medical treatment. The study concluded that “a significantly higher percentage of motile sperm but no effect on sperm concentration was found after acupuncture compared with placebo acupuncture.”

An earlier 2005 study published in Fertility and Sterility indicated that acupuncture could “generally improve” sperm quality (specifically the cellular structural makeup) in men whose cause of infertility was unknown.

“There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence and [the 2009 study] is a small study," says Alice Domar, who runs The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health as a division of Boston IVF. “In most cases, there’s no down side. It’s not like the needles are stuck in the guy’s pelvis or penis. Is it going to cure male infertility? No. But there are the cases where it helps so if you can afford it, I recommend it.”

Learn more about acupuncture and fertility and male factor infertility here.


Rachel Lehmann-Haupt ( is a journalist and the author of In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood (Basic Books, 2009).