TCM and Male Infertility
From a TCM perspective, three organs are largely responsible for one’s fertility – the Kidney, Liver and Spleen. The Kidney stores the Reproductive Essence, the Spleen transforms Nutritive Essence into Energy and Blood, and the Liver regulates the movement of Energy in the body. Infertility could result when one or more of these organs are not functioning optimally.
Causes that may affect the Kidney, Spleen or Liver include an unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive toxins in the body, environmental factors, emotional imbalance and one’s genetic disposition.
Male Infertility Causes
Modern day research statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of infertility problems are caused by male conditions. Common causes of male infertility include –
- Low Sperm Count : Sperm count is considered lower than normal if there are fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen (oligozoospermia).
- Low Sperm Motility : The percentage of sperm able to move independently, swiftly, and in the correct direction is deemed as sperm motility. Any percentage below 32% sperm motility, it is considered low sperm motility (asthenozoospermia)
- Abnormal Sperm Morphology : Abnormal sperm have head, mid piece and/or tail defects. As long as the sperm has one abnormality, it is considered to have abnormal morphology. WHO 2010 recommends 4% as normal value for defects. A lower percentage is considered low normal morphology (teratozoospermia).
- Abnormalities in Seminal Fluid : Normal seminal fluid is clear to milky white in colour, thick and sticky (viscous) in consistency, has a pH (acidity) level of about 7.2 and volume of 1.5millilitres, and contains few or no white blood cells. Generally however, the seminal fluid itself may not be a factor in male fertility unless the volume is too low and the pH is either too low or too high. Low volume of seminal fluid indicates obstruction of the ejaculatory duct or retrograde ejaculation. A high volume of seminal fluid indicates inflammation of secretory glands. Low pH along with all other parameters being low as well indicates an obstruction.
A semen analysis can provide information about your current condition as it measures volume (total volume of ejaculate), standard semen fluid test (e.g., thickness, colour, acidity), concentration (sperm count; sperm/mL), morphology (sperm shape and structure; associated with sperm health), motility (% of sperm that show forward movement; mobility) and total motile count (total number of moving sperm).
TCM Perspective on Male Infertility Causes
From a TCM perspective, male infertility is a result of the following –
- Deficiency of Kidney-Yin or Kidney-Yang – leads to low semen quality as the Kidney stores Reproductive Essence which is required for reproduction.
- Weak Spleen – leads to depletion in the formation of Qi (energy) and blood
- Stagnant Qi (energy) or Blood stasis – leads to abnormal morphology of the sperm or varicocele (enlarged veins in the testes)
Thomson Chinese Medicine Fertility Services
Thomson Chinese Medicine offers alternative and complementary fertility treatments for both men and women. We use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as standalone treatments for couples wanting to conceive naturally as well as to complement conventional fertility treatments couples might be going through to improve your chances of conception. We work closely with IVF patients from both private and restructured hospitals to complement their fertility treatments with our TCM treatments to improve pregnancy success rates for couples.
Thomson Chinese Medicine has formulated 2 specialised TCM fertility programmes – one to assist couples to conceive naturally and the other for couples going through assisted reproductive therapy (IUI and IVF). See the links below for more information.