To almost anyone that calls my clinic for fertility support, which unfortunately is 99.99% of the time a female, I’ll inform them that I also need to see their male partner (if they have one). Most of the time the male partner reluctantly obliges. However by the time they leave my clinic they understand the importance of the visit as well as their potential role in (or cause of) their female partner’s “infertility”.
Male factor is implicated in infertility as often as female factor. But you would not know that based on how much focus is placed on the female. Western medicine high tech treatments ignore male factor because they have an amazing technique that bypasses the last step of natural selection called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). ICSI is an IVF procedure where a sperm is injected into an oocyte to force fertilization, whereas in typical IVF a ‘natural selection’ process takes place in a petri dish where one lucky sperm gets to fertilize the egg.
One of the world’s leading urologists have long questioned how the need for ICSI may effect the offspring. I heard Dr Turek state in a fertility symposium this past spring “We are doing a disservice with ICSI as we do not know how it will effect male babies.”
It is not necessarily ICSI and the loss of natural selection, but rather male partners that require ICSI for fertilization are passing along. This is why I require all male partners to come in – we can help men improve their sperm quality in 3 months with some combination of acupuncture, herbs and nutrition.
We now have some strong unequivocal data that shows ICSI has an effect on male offspring’s fertility. A study released last week that compared men between the age of 18-22 that were conceived with IVF vs men that were conceived naturally:
A total of 54 men conceived by ICSI and 57 naturally conceived men were included in the study.
The men conceived by ICSI were found to have lower average sperm counts compared with the naturally conceived men:
- average sperm concentration (17.7 million/ml versus 37.0 million/ml)
- total sperm count (31.9 million versus 86.8 million)
- total motile sperm count (12.7 million versus 38.6 million)
After adjustment for potential confounders, the difference between the two groups remained. Men conceived naturally had:
- almost twice the sperm concentration compared with men conceived after ICSI (ratio 1.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1 to 3.2)
- more than twice the total sperm count (ratio 2.3, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.1)
- more than twice the total motile count (ratio 2.1, 95% CI 1.2 to 3.6)
A leading researcher commented on the study:
“In showing, as a group, that the ICSI sons have starkly abnormal semen quality compared with normal, non-ICSI-derived sons, the results suggest strongly that male fertility problems severe enough to require ICSI may be inheritable. Importantly, the results are a reminder to us that ICSI is not a treatment for male infertility, but simply a way of bypassing a problem and leaving it for the next generation to deal with – something my generation seem horribly adept at doing.”
-Prof Richard Sharpe, an expert in male reproductive health at the University of Edinburgh
This study demonstrates why I want to help correct any issues with male fertility. Western technology can bypass the issue, but your child may end up with those issues as an additional cost to society. Acupuncture, Nutrition and Herbs can in many cases improve male fertility issues so that ICSI is no longer needed. Every male should want to have sperm as healthy as possible when fathering a child.
Yours in Healthy Pregnancy and Baby,
George Mandler CNS LDN LicAc FABORM