A common question among female patients receiving fertility treatment is whether or not their partner should also consider coming in for a consultation.
I have treated several patients over the years. After the first few treatments, their cycle starts to regulate, and ovulation improves, but they have yet to conceive. They often begin to grow anxious and wonder if they will ever conceive, so we discuss their partner’s health. Generally, their partners always have semen analysis results that fall in the medically defined “normal” range. However, even though a semen analysis returns as “normal”, I would still strongly recommend all partners to come in for treatment to boost their health.
Fertility is about more than the ability to fall pregnant. You want to conceive a healthy, strong child and to do this you both need to be in optimal health. A “normal” result in a semen analysis test means he has average sperm count by today’s standards. It certainly doesn’t mean he has an optimal sperm count and also doesn’t factor in sperm quality.
Since the 1960s, the average sperm counts in Western society have significantly decreased. According to recent studies, the sperm concentration per millilitre of ejaculate has fallen by around half since 1940. Sperm count is considered normal from a baseline of 15 million, but pregnancy rates dramatically increase when sperm counts reach 40 million or higher. So, even though your partner might have a normal sperm count, that doesn’t mean he can’t take action and have a better than normal sperm count!
Sperm quality is another factor that can affect fertility. Even if a man has a high sperm count, it is of little use if the sperm is of low quality. Motility, morphology and forward progression all affect the ability of a spear to reach and fertilise an egg. From a fertility treatment perspective, any holistic treatment that can positively influence sperm count and quality is an absolute must. Even if a man’s lab result returns as normal, there is always room for improvement, and it pays to stack as many of the odds in your favour as you can.
When it comes to fertility, one of the most significant factors for men and women is age. Women know that pregnancy can become more difficult as they age, but it is also true for men. When a man is over forty, studies have shown that pregnancy rates drop and the chance of miscarriage increases. In fact, studies show miscarriage rates increase with a man’s age. There is a steady rise in miscarriage rate from mid-thirties, and by the time a man is forty-five, the miscarriage rates have doubled. These results all apply even if the man has a younger partner. Other studies have shown that an age gap of five years or more also makes it harder to conceive.
We can’t turn back time or stop the ageing process, but we can take steps to maintain good reproductive health as we grow older. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture have several treatments that have evolved over the centuries to treat precisely this issue.
A key benefit of using acupuncture is its ability to improve sperm quantity and quality Through increased blood flow to the pelvic region. Increased blood flow to the pelvic and genitalia also helps with sexual function and performance. If you are trying hard to conceive, you still want it to be enjoyable!
Treatment for infertility in Chinese’s medicine revolves around Jing or reproductive essence. Practitioners believe your Jing will naturally decrease over time and, while you can’t avoid it, you can slow it down. By using them in combination, it is possible to slow down the decrease in Jing with acupuncture and replenish some of the lost Jing with herbal formulas.
Once a partner understands his role in the fertility process and that there is an action he can take to make a difference, he is usually very willing to come in for a consultation. While our focus is on improving fertility, we look at the body as a whole and initially we try to identify any underlying issues or imbalances. For example, are his Yin and Yang in balance? Is there Qi stagnation in the body? Does his body contain too much “heat”?
By addressing these issues and bringing the body into balance, his over health will improve and consequently, so will his sperm count and sperm quality. He will no longer meet the baseline requirement but will far exceed it, dramatically increasing your chances of conception.
To further enhance his health and sperm quality, we also suggest implementing lifestyle changes to complement the fertility treatment. Reducing stress levels is vital. Stress wreaks havoc across the body, so learning to control and to reduce it is of long-term importance. Regular exercise is a straightforward way to reduce stress levels. It also gets the blood and life energy circulating through the body. Diet is another aspect of Chinese medicine that can help with fertility. We can provide advice on dietary changes that will maintain balance within the body and promote good health.
We strongly encourage you to talk to your partner about the benefits a personalised acupuncture and herbal medics program has to offer. An investment in your health now is an investment in your future. Not only will it improve your chances of conceiving a healthy baby, but you will also be in better health to care for your child over the years. It’s no secret that fertility and health are linked. Highly fertile people are typically very healthy.