What do patients say about us?
Below is a patient who wrote a review in our Google + page (You could click on sidebar on top right to see full reviews. If you are using mobile device, the sidebar can be found when you roll down towards to end of page).
‘My partner and I had been trying to conceive for a number of years without success.
My health was not always great and I often felt tired and was dragging myself through life.
My sperm test results revealed a virtually non existent count (less than 100) and the doctor doing the test results analysis said ‘I had as much chance of conceiving with my partner as winning the lottery.’ Going to my GP I was told that there was nothing conventional medicine could do about it. They could only offer help on the woman’s side. There was nothing they could do for a man.
Looking desperately for an alternative I found TCM Healthcare on the internet and spoke to Prof. Au who said he thought they could help. He then arranged an appointment for me with Professor Y Li at TCM HealthCare’s Clinic in Harley Street, an expert trained in Chinese Medicine and Fertility in Beijing.
In the initial consultation the Professor asked questions and listened to my answers and explanation of my medical symptoms. He also took my pulses and looked at my tongue. His manner was always friendly and sympathetic and it was obvious he really wanted to help. He stressed Chinese medicine treats the whole body and said I should see improvements generally in my overall health along with the improvements in fertility.
I was prescribed herbs to be boiled with water which would make a hot drink to be taken twice per day. Although not the most tastefull drink I figured that it was doing me good and soon got quite used to my daily routine of drinking it morning and night.
I had follow up appointments each month during which he would reassess my condition and would then refine the herbs I was to take for the following month.
I noticed I started to have more energy and generally started feeling better all round.
After about 4 months I decided to have a second test and was genuinely shocked to see my count had increased to 20 Million. A subsequent test two months later revealed it had improved to 70 Million
After seven months my partner announced she was pregnant. Today my partner had her 11 week scan and all is well.
Thanks to all those at TCM Healthcare’.
Robert saw us a few years back with poor sperm results and went on to have a successful round of IVF. He sent this e mail to us early this year:
‘A few years ago, I saw one of your consultants before (a successful) round of IVF. Please could you let me know availability for an appointment now. Do you require a new semen analysis?’
How many men have fertility problems?
Infertility is a widespread problem. For about one in five infertile couples the problem lies solely in the male partner.
It is estimated that one in 20 men has some kind of fertility problem with low numbers of sperm in his ejaculate. However, only about one in every 100 men has no sperm in his ejaculate.
What are the symptoms of fertility problems in men?
Unlike women who have period cycles which may indicate problems, in men, more often than not, there are no obvious signs of infertility. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally appears normal to the naked eye.
Sperm problems can only be detected through a properly conducted semen analysis. It is worth noting that sperm test kits that are available in pharmacies or on the internet tend only to test sperm count. A proper semen analysis should test quality as well as quality of sperm. What is more, over the counter test kits can be unreliable, causing unnecessary distress in the case of false positive i.e. test found problems in sperm but in actual fact, the sperm in question is perfectly fine. Conversely, the test kit may say that the sperms have no problems where in actual fact, they are far from perfect.
What causes male infertility?
Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect either sperm production or sperm transport.
About two-thirds of infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made have poor quality that make them unviable.
Sperm transport problems are found in about one in every five infertile men, including men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to have more children. Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.
Other less common causes of infertility include: sexual problems that affect whether semen is able to enter the woman’s vagina for fertilisation to take place (one in 100 infertile couples); low levels of hormones made in the pituitary gland that act on the testes (one in 100 infertile men); and sperm antibodies (found in one in 16 infertile men). In most men sperm antibodies will not affect the chance of a pregnancy but in some men sperm antibodies reduce fertility.
What are the most common causes of sperm issues?
The causes for sperm issues are multifaceted, they include
- a hormone imbalance, such as hypogonadism (reduced hormone production)
- a genetic problem such as Klinefelter syndrome
- having had undescended testicles before puberty
- a structural problem – for example, the tubes that carry sperm being damaged and blocked by illness or injury, or being absent from birth
- a genital infection such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or prostatitis
- varicoceles (enlarged veins in the testicles)
- previous surgery to the testicles or hernia repairs
- the testicles becoming overheated
- excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and using drugs such as marijuana or cocaine
- certain medications, including testosterone replacement therapy, long-term anabolic steroid use, cancer medications (chemotherapy), some antibiotics, and some anti-depressants.
Some of these causes such as genetic disorders or damage caused by previous surgeries are hard to deal with. Surgery may be able to help patients with varicoceles.You may be able to deal with some of causes yourselves such as stop using drugs and reducing alcohol intake. Curiously ignored by most, one of the causes i.e. hormonal imbalance, deserves more attention.
Testicular failure and Hormonal Imbalance in Men
One function of the testes is to secrete the hormone testosterone. This hormone plays an important role in the development and maintenance of many male physical characteristics. These include muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, bone mass, sperm production, and sex drive. What follows is a brief description of how hormonal imbalance in men affect sperm production where in extreme cases, men cannot produce sperm at all. Click here if you are interested in hormone test for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Click here is you are interested in treatment for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Hypogonadism in men is a condition that occurs when the testicles (also called gonads) do not produce enough testosterone. Primary hypogonadism occurs when there is a problem or abnormality in the testicles themselves. Secondary hypogonadism occurs when there is a problem with the pituitary gland in the brain, which sends chemical messages to the testicles to produce testosterone.
Two gonadotrophic hormones are critical in men:
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released by the pituitary gland in the brain. In men, it stimulates testicular growth and helps produce a protein that plays a vital role in male fertility by aiding in the creation of normal sperm cells and maintaining them until they are ready to be released. Without normal FSH levels, it may be difficult or impossible to create normal sperm, leading to infertility.
A high FSH level in a male may mean the testicles are not functioning correctly. Causes of this may include damage to the testicles (from radiation, trauma, or alcohol abuse), genetic problems, advancing age, hormonal disorders, certain medications (like pain medications or steroids), diseases such as HIV/AIDS or Type 2 diabetes, or (in rare cases) tumors of the pituitary gland.
Low FSH levels in males may mean the pituitary gland in the brain is not functioning properly. (This is less common than high FSH.)
FSH levels can be detected using a simple blood test. Normal FSH levels in adult males are typically between 1.5 to 12.4 mIU/mL.
Luteinising hormone (LH), like FSH, is a gonadotrophic hormone produced and released by cells in the anterior pituitary gland, it is crucial in regulating the function of the testes in men. LH stimulates Leyden cells in the testes to produce testosterone, which acts locally to support sperm production. Testosterone also exerts effects all around the body to generate male characteristics such as increased muscle mass, enlargement of the larynx to generate a deep voice, and the growth of facial and body hair.
High LH levels are generally seen in a variety of diseases, including but not limited to testicular failure, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (a genetic adrenal gland disorder often causing increased or decreased levels of sex hormones), and gonadal dysgenesis (abnormal development of the gonads).
Low LH is associated with disease states such as eating disorders, hypothalamic suppression, hypopituitarism, hyperprolactinemia (often in seen a certain type of brain tumor of the pituitary gland and sometimes associated with vision changes), and sex hormone deficiency.
LH levels can be detected using a simple blood test. Normal LH levels in adult males are typically between 1 to 10 mIU/mL.
Finally, with regard to Testosterone levels, high LH and FSH levels should tell your testicles to increase testosterone production. However, if Testosterone levels remain low, the problem likely lies with the testicles’ inability to produce testosterone.
On the other hand, if you have low testosterone and your LH and FSH levels are low, the feedback loop in the hypothalamus/pituitary may not be working properly. Low Testosterone levels should increase the secretion of GnRH and thus LH. However, if Luteinizing hormone levels remain low when Testosterone levels are low, the problem is likely due to functional problems with the hypothalamus/pituitary.
The following test is a good option to go for if one suspects sperm issues are linked to hormonal imbalance:
<Male Hormone Profile> FSH, LH, Testosterone, Free Androgen Index, Prolactin, SHBG.
The fee is £150
We have extensive experience and track record in treating hormonal imbalance, what follows is a very brief outline of how conventional medicine and we can help.
Why do I need treatment?
This seems a strange question – but it is often the case that when there are issues with sperm, the man is not treated as the suggested approach is most frequently some form of assisted conception, be it IUI, IVF or ICSI. This means that the man is treated a little like a sperm bank where the sole interest will be for him to contribute some sperm. He will then be out of the picture as the focus will be entirely on the female side.
This approach has the ironic effect that the woman who does not have a problem is being treated while the man who has a problem is not.
It should be made clear from the outset that when semen issues occur, it is highly likely that they are due to health issues the man is experiencing. It is therefore vital that we understand and deal with the underlying causes. It is for this reason that treatment for men is essential.
Conventional medical treatment
You may be offered gonadotrophin injections if you have hypogonadism. They aim to help your body produce testosterone. If you have retrograde ejaculation, drugs that help your nervous system or bladder may be recommended.
Targeted antibiotics may be used to treat infections with improvement in semen parameters, and hormone replacement treatment may be offered.
If you have an obstructive problem that is causing infertility it may be possible to have a surgical procedure.
Varicocele may be repaired with surgery.
In reality however, the most common suggestion your doctor is likely to give you is often to go straight for IVF/ICSI.
What do we do to help you improve sperm count and quality?
At TCM healthCare, we have extensive experience in improving sperm parameters. These include increasing sperm count, sperm motility, increasing normal morphology and getting rid of or reducing anti-sperm anti-bodies.
If you also problem with premature ejaculation or low libido, please check out the treatment for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation page.
We also have excellent track record in improving hormones. So far, since men are not encouraged to do hormone tests, our data are mainly on the female side. See how we improve FSH in female and how we treat hormonal imbalance.
What is the success rate of the programme?
Our latest statistics show that we have a success rate of over 70% for improving sperm counts, sperm motility (natural mobility) and sperm morphology (shape). We also have an excellent track record of successfully reducing and eliminating anti-sperm anti-bodies in nearly all such cases presented to us.
What is our clinical record for improving sperm count and quality ?
Result of some recent patients for improving sperm parameters as specified by WHO (2010)
Patient N.G.* Aged 39
Month/Year May 17 Oct 17
Count per ml. (million) 8.9 31
Patient H.H.* Aged 32
Month/Year May 17 Sept 17
Count per ml. (million) 1.6 8.5
Total count 5.1 26
Total motility (%) 19 54
Prog. Motility (%) 11 45
Vitality 55 66
Morphology (%) 0 1
Patient T.Q. Aged 39
Month/Year May 17 Sept 17
Count per ml. (million) 9.7 13.8
Total count 59 109
Total motility (%) 29 42
Prog. Motility (%) 17 35
Morphology (%) 3.5 5
Patient B.T. Aged 43
Month/Year Oct 16 Mar 17
Count per ml. (million) 2.2 7.8
Total count 7.3 29
Total motility (%) 50 72
Prog. Motility (%) 46 68
Vitality 54 72
Morphology (%) 0 1
Patient D.W. Aged 43
Month/Year Oct 15 Mar 16
Total count 85 216 million
Morphology 1 3
Patient K.K. Aged 51
Month/Year May 15 Sept 15 Nov 15
Volume (ml) 0.8 0.5
Count per ml Near 0 41 million
Total count Near 0 20.5 million 70 million
Patient T.S. Aged 44
Month/Year Oct 14 Apr 15 Aug 15
Total motility (%) 3 33 69
Prog. Motility (%) 2 30 49
Patient P.T. Aged 39
Month/Year Dec 14 May 15
Total motility (%) 53 70
Prog. Motility (%) 5 51
Morphology (%) 0 1
Patient A.L. Aged 33
Month/Year Oct 14 Mar 15
Anti-sperm anti-bodies 45 21
Patient B.M. Aged 58
Month/Year Apr 14 Aug 15
Count per ml. (million) 21 55
Morphology (%) 2 4
WHO (2010) benchmarks:
Volume: >1.5 ml
Count per ml: >15 million
Total count: >39 million
Total motility: >40%
Progressive motility: >32%
Anti-sperm anti-bodies: <10
* All initials are changed to observe confidentiality
What do some reproductive specialists say about our track record and our service?
“I have been seeing some patients from TCM HealthCare. I have seen the clinical and biochemical data as patients have progressed with treatment from TCM HealthCare presented above. It has been positively interesting. We are thinking of a research project to further advance the knowledge in this area”.
Dr. Ramesan Navaratnarajah
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Senior Reproductive Consultant at a NHS Trust in London
How much are the fees?
The all inclusive monthly fees are about £400. The first phase of treatment is for 3 months. Most see significant improvements. Detailed fees’ list will be forwarded on request.
What can the treatment programme treat?
The main fertility issues men face are low sperm count, low sperm motility, poor sperm morphology and anti-sperm anti-bodies.
It is worth noting that while there may be conventional Western medical treatments available for poor sperm count where the causes are known and can be corrected by surgery and hormone therapy, where the causes of low sperm count is unknown and also when poor motility and morphology are found, conventional Western medical treatments may not be available.
Research has shown that Chinese ’dry herbs’ can help with sperm issues. Our longstanding clinical experience and an excellent track record confirm that this is indeed the case. For research papers on Chinese herbal medicine and sperm issues, please go to our fertility research section
We also treat low libido, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and impotence issues. It is well known that some Chinese herbs and plant-derived herbal medications contain natural substances which can be effective in treating these conditions.
What does the treatment programme consist of?
The treatment programme usually consists of special herbs and plant-derived remedy prescribed on a monthly basis following a monthly consultation to check progress. For men, it is likely to consist of 24 days of herbal medication taken over a period of 4 weeks with 1 day ’rest’ in each week. During the treatment programme, and on the days you should be taking the herbal medication, you will need to do so twice a day.
How often do I need a consultation and why do I have to come back?
Consultation is usually once a month in order to ensure that the herbal medication prescribed is tailor-made for you each month. Monthly consultation is required in order to gauge your response to the medication that will inform any diagnostic and prescribing adjustments for the following month.
Will the treatment programme include acupuncture?
You may also be given a course of acupuncture. If this is the case, you will usually not be required to take herbal medicine. You will be asked to come once a week as acupuncture works on the energy channels – and the treatment needs to be kept up in order maintain momentum.
How long is the treatment programme?
The treatment programme usually lasts for three to nine months, averaging about 6 months. For patients with severe sperm count or quality problems, the treatment may be longer.
How do I know whether the treatment is working?
All patients are asked to have semen analysis carried out again about half way through the treatment programme i.e. after 3 or 4 months, to ascertain if they are responding well to our treatment. Over 80% of our patients see significant improvements and they move onto phase 2 of the programme to consolidate their results. For a minority of patients (20%), our treatment may not produce obvious improvements and such patients will then still have time to try something else.
How safe is the treatment?
We only use herbal remedy approved by the UK government’s Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Taken as prescribed, they are therefore very safe.
Acupuncture is also generally considered to be a safe treatment. Needless to say, our clinician is extremely well qualified and experienced in using herbs and acupuncture.
What if I need help beyond what TCM HealthCare Fertility Clinic has to offer?
We work with some of the best fertility specialists in the Harley Street area. These include urologists and gynaecologists – and specialists at IUI, IVF and ICSI clinics. We regularly refer patients to them to ensure our patients get the best of both worlds. The comprehensive range of services offered by us and all our partners also ensure easy navigation of all services that may be required in the specialist field of fertility. Since we only work with top quality specialists, we can be sure that you get the best possible care.
Can the Clinic help women as well?
Since our inception in March 2000, we have helped women as well as men to resolve fertility issues. In particular, we have helped women with conception issues, recurring miscarriages, unexplained infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, symptoms of early menopause and irregular periods due to hormonal imbalances, to name but a few.
For our treatment programmes for women, please visit our women fertility treatment page.