13 Dec

You may not know or be aware of this unless you have recently decided to try for a baby or facing some form of fertility issue, but we are facing a very serious problem when it comes to reproductive health, not just in the UK but, globally.

Statistics and research have shown a 50% decline in healthy sperm production over the last forty years, and it’s not changing any time soon.

What Does That Mean?

Simply put, men today are producing half the amount of healthy sperm that their grandfathers did. A scary though, but why is that?

What are the causes of Male infertility?

  • Idiopathic.
  • Varicocele.
  • Infections
  • Endocrine problems.
  • sexual dysfunction.
  • Systematic disease.
  • Anti-sperm antibodies.
  • Testicular tumour.
  • Toxin exposure.

Scientists have been undertaking research and have concluded factors relating to environment, diet, and lifestyle all play a role in the decline of healthy sperm.

See below:

  • Smoking.
  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
  • Exposure to plastics.
  • Diet heavy in processed foods.
  • Recreational drug use.
  • Alcohol.
  • Over-use of Saunas, steam rooms, and hot baths.
  • Tight underwear.
  • Being overweight.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Stress.
  • Medications.
  • STD’s.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Undiagnosed infections.

If you’re reading this, you may be thinking, crikey, that’s a pretty grim prognosis, but it’s not all bad. Sperm can renew itself and does so around every ninety days (3 months).

This is great news, but that does not mean you can relax and hope that the sperm will regenerate enough to produce a healthy amount to conceive you can help it along by making choices and changes.

How Do You Do That?

It is becoming more evident of late that there has been a lack of investigations when addressing male fertility issues, with the emphasis on tests and investigations that have predominantly centered around the woman.

However, male fertility has become a hot topic of discussion with Rhod Gilbert sharing his fertility issues in a TV program #standupinfertility and is the face of #HIMFertility. 

Usually, the first test men are provided with when they look into their fertility is the semen analysis test. This test measures:

  • Sperm count - ( How many there are).
  • Motility - Are they moving -not moving - alive or dead.
  • Morphology - Does it look like a healthy sperm should?

What can affect your semen analysis test?

  • Poor sleep.
  • Antibiotics.
  • infections.
  • Timing.
  • Elevated stress levels.

Sperm counts vary from day to day, and some factors affect semen analysis tests. If you have been told after having one semen analysis test you need ICSI this may be untrue and misleading. There is more that can be done before discussing any IVF options. 

Further Tests and investigations.

  • Physical examination. 
  • Full clinical history.
  • Semen analysis test ( more than one).
  • Ultrasound.
  • Hormone testing.
  • DNA fragmentation test - TUNL - SCSA - COMET
  • ROS testing.
  • genetic testing.
  • Surgery.
  • Sperm function tests.
  • Lifestyle and diet.

Booking an appointment with an andrologist (male reproductive health specialist) will look into why there may be issues with the sperm, are there any infections or blockages such as varicoceles Varicocele | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE which is a bunch of varicose veins in the testes which can restrict healthy sperm production as well as the quality of which the standard semen analysis test does not detect.

I recommend that all men trying to conceive should have a DNA fragmentation test - TUNL assay - SCSA ASSAY or a COMET test that can assess the DNA damage in every individual sperm. This is essential as sperm DNA damage has been linked to failed fertilisation, poor embryo development, implantation failure, and sadly even miscarriage.

If you have had or are considering having a semen analysis test, then I do recommend having the sperm comet test because both tests can provide you with a full and comprehensive understanding of your sperm health when trying for a baby.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Take a good multivitamin - Selenium, zinc, omega 3, and Vit D are just a few to consider
  • Cut the carbs (white)
  • Avoid or reduce sugary snacks
  • Base your diet on a Mediterranean one of fish, lean meat, seeds, nuts, and lots of vegetables
  • Reduce the amount of plastic you use. There is strong evidence that shows the damage that chemicals used are having on the health of sperm - see link on endocrine disruptors.
  • Don’t cook your balls, keep them cool. They're outside your body for a reason. Reduce the use of hot baths, steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs.
  • Reduce stress - see the link below on how stress impacts male fertility.
  • Ditch the junk food.
  • Remove your mobile phone from your trouser pocket. ( Research states that electromagnetic fields and low-level radio frequencies can affect sperm by over heating.

Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can have positive outcomes concerning the health of your sperm.

Association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and semen quality parameters in male partners of couples attempting fertility | Human Reproduction | Oxford Academic 

Acupuncture and Sperm Health 

Combining acupuncture treatments with healthy lifestyle changes. Research has suggested that having regular acupuncture treatments may statistically improve the quality of sperm.

Stress levels can be high when trying to conceive and acupuncture can help to regulate hormone levels and keep them at the optimum level.

Having a good understanding of the relationship between the hypothalamus >pituitary & adrenal axis, an acupuncturist can apply a treatment that can encourage healthy and sufficient blood flow to the testes and reproductive organs so that there are no issues. For example, blood that cannot move and becomes stuck or slow can result in overheating in the scrotal area or the growth of varicoceles.

A recent evaluation has given a positive suggestion that acupuncture may help in the improvement of the morphology and motility of sperm. 

Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility - Fertility and Sterility (fertstert.org)

For more information or to book a consultation: 

☎️ 07825212463
Visit the website www.mcqueacupuncture.co.uk
Find us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/mcqueacupuncture/

Click the link below for the male fertility information sheet.


1. Endocrine disrupters, semen quality, and anogenital distance - ScienceDirect

2. Lifestyle and fertility: the influence of stress and quality of life on male fertility (nih.gov)

3. Role of genetics and epigenetics in male infertility (wiley.com)

4. Oxidative stress and male infertility | Nature Reviews Urology 


Acupuncture for IVF and assisted reproduction.

by Irina Szmelskyj & Lianne Aquilina.

Countdown by Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D. et, al.

* The email will not be published on the website.