The ICSI controversy
ICSI or an intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection is commonly used as an adjunct to IVF when there are male infertility factors such as poor motility, low sperm count or high levels of abnormally shaped sperm.
There have been some reports that this procedure has a negative impact on the health of babies. For example, Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield was quoted in The Independent: “The problem of overusing ICSI is that there is a very small but statistically significant increased risk that some of the babies born from the technique appear to have health problems. As such the sensible thing is to only use ICSI when absolutely necessary.” This is a hotly debated topic and no conclusive evidence has been given by either side.
Boost sperm quality and avoid ICSI
We must say first that the chances of your baby having health problems due to ICSI are very small, but if you want to avoid ICSI, we can offer a range of treatments that have been shown to significantly improve sperm quality.
Research shows both acupuncture and herbal medicine affect hormone levels and testicular blood flow, which in turn can promote the production of healthy and fertile sperm.
- Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve the quality and the quantity of sperm when applied regularly over a period of weeks. Acupuncture of the man at the time of the women’s ovulation was shown in one study to greatly enhance the sperm’s activity.
- The secretion of key enzymes into the prostate fluid improves liquefaction time, and certain herbs have been shown to affect this.
- Herbal medicine may improve the physiological integrity of sperm membranes, and thus improve motility, concentration and survival time.
When should the man start treatment?
Sperm takes 70 days to form inside the testes before they are ready for ejaculation. Therefore treatment of many male infertility factors is best planned to last at least three months.
Some aspects of the male fertility are also much to do with semen quality (semen is the fluid that sperm is contained in that provides nutrients to the sperm and increases motility), and these can be positively affected far more quickly than sperm morphology. Our experience is that some couples get results more quickly than three months. Nonetheless 3 – 6 months is a sensible period in which to expect best results.