At the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness we have been treating male factor infertility for many years based on the knowledge of 3000 years of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture and herbal medicine in conjunction with certain vitamins and amino acids promote significant change in pathologic sperm. We have had excellent results in improving sperm count, improving morphology and motility as well as reducing sperm DNA fragmentation percentages.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. In the typical IVF Center, doctors will note that sperm quality is important in that in its pathological state in may not be able to penetrate the egg and facilitate fertilization. This can be overcome with intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI. While fertilization with ICSI is possible and often occurs, a good embryo quite often is not produced and pregnancy does not ensue.
A ‘good’ embryo is created by combining a ‘good’ egg and a ‘good’ sperm. Embryos created with poor quality sperm are, in my opinion, based on thirteen years of clinical experience, one of the main reasons for failed IVF cycles including those undergoing donor egg transfers even though fertilization with ICSI is facilitated.
Frequently the doctor will report that the embryo is “beautiful”, yet the cycle fails. You can no more judge the quality of an embryo by visualization than one can judge the health of a person by visualization. For example, the healthiest looking man can be HIV positive. Or, the healthiest looking woman can have breast cancer. One cannot judge a book by its cover.
The best and most reliable means of improving fertility outcomes either as a result of intercourse, IUI or IVF is to first improve the quality of the components that are responsible for the creation of the embryo; sperm and egg.