The effectiveness of Korean medicine treatment in male patients with infertility: a study protocol for a prospective observational pilot study

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Abstract

Male factor subfertility has increasingly been considered the cause of infertility in couples. Many men with male infertility have sperm problems such as oligozoospermia, asthenozoospermia, or teratozoospermia. Because abnormal semen parameters are idiopathic to some extent, no standard therapy has been established to date. Herbal medicine has been reported to have beneficial properties in the treatment of subfertility, especially in improving semen quality both in vivo and in human studies. Therefore, we intend to investigate the effectiveness and safety of treatment using Korean medicine (KM) for infertile male patients with poor semen quality.

This will be a single-center, prospective, case-only observational pilot study. About 20 male patients with infertility who visit Conmaul Hospital of Korean Medicine will be recruited. We will follow the standard treatment protocol, which has shown good results in the treatment of male infertility. The protocol is composed mainly of a 10-week herbal decoction treatment; acupuncture and/or pharmacopuncture are added when needed. Semen samples, quality of life, and the scrotal temperatures of infertile men will be observed before and after the 10-week treatment with KM.

The study has received ethical approval from the Public Institutional Review Board (approval number: P01-201708-21-008). The findings will be disseminated to appropriate audiences via peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations.

Trial registration: Korean Clinical Trial Registry (CRIS), Republic of Korea: KCT0002611.

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