Categories > Fertility Health

Who Wants Normal Sperm, When You Can Have Virile Sperm?!?

Author: Christina Pistotnik

Guys, do you really just want to be ‘normal’? Seriously though wouldn’t you rather be outstanding, virile, and fertile!?! RUUR!!!!

We are constantly talking about the women and the woman’s side of fertility but let’s get real, we all know that it takes two to make a baby. So let’s talk sperm quality!

There is a bit of a crises going on that not many are talking about and that is sperm are on the decline folks! A more recent study involving semen count was published in the journal of Human Reproduction Update and it provides evidence that men’s sperm counts have taken a huge hit over the years.  How huge of a drop do you ask? Well, it showed that semen have dropped by 53% since 1973 (1). These findings were not only close to home either they were of global proportions!

The decline is so bad that WHO (world health organization) has decreased the parameters of what is considered a ‘normal’ semen analysis (2) . Here is a look at what is considered healthy parameters have declined over the years.

Semen Parameters 1987 1992 1999 2009/2010
Volume (mL) 2.0 ml 2.0 ml 2.0ml 1.5ml
Concentration 20 Million/ml 20 Million/ml 20 Million/ml 15 Million/ml
Total count 40 Million 40 Million 40 Million 39 Million
Motility (% progressive) 50% 50% 50% 28%
Vitality (% live) 50% 75% 75% 59%
Morphology (% normal) 50% 30% 15% 3%

Well, Crap! What can I do to improve my virility then?

The answer is having a healthy diet full of anti oxidant rich foods, getting regular exercise, and of course going for acupuncture treatments! All three of these have the ability to positively change your epigenetics (DNA expression). I’m not going to go deep into the role of epigenetics but it basically determines weather the inside of your cells (ie sperm) is healthy or not.  It makes sense that good food and exercise = healthy cells but did you know that acupuncture does too? A 2005 study showed that men receiving regular acupuncture treatments had improved sperm quality especially in the form of sperm cell structure (3).  Things that you should stay away from that negatively affect epigenetics include environmental toxins (chemical and pollution), excess alcohol, and drug exposure.  

In honour of Men’s Health week this week practitioners at Whole Family Health are offering 50% off men’s initial fertility consultations. Make your appointment for virile sperm with one of our expert fertility acupuncturists for treatment and advice today!

The internationally known urologist Dr. Paul Turek is a male fertility specialists and is also a strong believer in the role of epigenetics. He recommends that all men trying to conceive change more than just their underwear but do a complete overhaul of their lifestyle. His website is one of my favourite male fertility resource that I regularly refer my male patients to visit because it offers a plethora of knowledge to help men trying to conceive and it is hilariously and appropriately named Don’t Cook Your Balls (DCYB). There is also a very helpful test you can take and receive a brief fertility assessment with tips on improvements you can make.

Having access to information and tools like the ones on DCYB, making healthy lifestyle choices, limiting exposure to environmental toxins and having regular acupuncture treatments can put more than that extra pep in your step but give your little swimmers the virility they need to become a father.


  1. Levine et al 2017. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis.  Human Reproduction Update 1-14.
  2. Menkveld, R. 2009. The new 5th WHO manual semen parameter reference values-do they help or hinder? Andrology Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tygerberg Academic Hospital and University of Stellenbosch.
  3. Pei J et al 2005. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility 141-7.

Happy Men’s Health Week!

We are all so happy at Whole Family Health, to have been mentioned in this Edmonton Journal Article on the challenges of dealing with Male Factor Infertility!

We love to help and support couples going through this process, and we recognize that it is hard for everyone, regardless of what the diagnosis is.

40% of infertility cases are due to male factor, and about 20% of cases are due to combined male and female factor. So infertility affects men and women relatively equally.

June 10-16th is also Canadian Men’s Health Week!

We would like to honour and support men, by offering 50% off Initial Men’s Reproductive Health Consults that are booked during this week until June 16thContact us for more information.

Stay tuned for more blog information this week on how you can improve Male Fertility with supplements and acupuncture.

Happy Men’s Health Week!
Dr. Alda Ngo

If you would like more information or to book in for a discounted Initial Men’s Reproductive Health Consult this week, contact us:
by Email: or
by Phone: 780.756.7736

Success Story

“I think when us guys hear the words “fertility issue,” we tend to look for ways to fix what’s broken. My wife and I have been through the grinder and every test conceivable (<-yeah it’s a pun) for Western medicine. There was no easy fix for what was quickly starting to look like an “infertile couple.” Our last option was surrogacy but we still needed healthy eggs from my wife and good sperm from me to proceed. We asked around about what we could do to increase our chances of having success with creating healthy embryos.

“We went for a few months of treatment & in tandem with a fertility clinic, created several healthy embryos as a result.”

Acupuncture was mentioned a few times so we gave it a whirl. It really was the best advice anyone gave us. We went for a few months of treatment and, in tandem with a fertility clinic, created several healthy embryos as a result. We now have a little girl that has just turned one. We can’t thank Alda and the rest of the team enough for helping us. They can truly make a difference.

Lastly, I encourage all couples to BOTH go for acupuncture.  So often I see women at the fertility clinic on their own. I think it’s important for both partners to be there and go through the experience together. “

-Clint H

Mat’s Story

Here is also another dear patient’s video, sharing his experience as he and his partner went through fertility treatments:

The Fertility Diet

By Paige Wyatt

What do I eat if I’m trying to conceive?

Real talk for a minute.

Diet. Ugh! I hate that word. Diet is defined as the action of restricting oneself of certain foods to lose weight. The word definitely takes on a negative connotation for me. Instead I’d like to look at the body in a different way.

Food = Fuel

If we think of food in this way, we can deduce that the food we eat gives our body and cells the energy that it needs to physiologically function. That’s essentially why we as a species needs to eat. Eating nutritiously doesn’t just help us to conceive and grow a healthy baby, it also helps keep us alive and optimally functioning.

Ever heard that old saying “you are what you eat”? Well this is without a doubt, absolutely true! The food we eat provides energy to our cells so that they can carry out their physiological functions in the body.

So, imagine with me for one second the cells in our bodies. Now imagine a pizza pop. Although delicious, it’s not very nutrient dense, high in unhealthy fats, and minimal vitamins and minerals. Now imagine feeding those cells with those said pizza pops for every meal. Think of how you feel after a pizza pop; lethargic, foggy minded, maybe a stomach ache? Think of how your cells may feel. Possibly the same? Now imagine you’re eating a giant bowl of steamed organic veggies, sweet potato, and a perfectly cooked moist free-run, hormone free chicken breast (anyone else hungry?).

Now think of the sperm and egg cell that is relying on this nutrition and Qi to create an embryo and eventually a baby!

Have I gotten your attention?

The Role of Food in Chinese Medicine

Food plays a big part in our digestion, the ‘center’ and one of the main Energy Pathways and Organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. All our ‘Qi’ or ‘energy’ is made from the foods that we eat in our Spleen and Stomach. The Stomach contains the food and rottens and ripens it to make Qi. This Qi is then sent to the Spleen where it is transforms and transports the Qi to the organs in our bodies so they can carry out their physiological function. The energy our lungs need to breath is created by these nutrients. Our immune system, our heart, and even our reproductive organs rely on this Qi too. Food consumption and what we put IN to our bodies is essential to make adequate good quality Qi for these organs to function properly and optimaly.  Nutrition is essential in Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be used to treat conditions therapeutically as well. Although certain fertility nutrition and lifestyle is recommended not one suggestion may apply to everyone.

Okay, we get it! So, what do we eat?

Here at Whole Family Health nutrition recommendations are generally made on a case by case basis. A practitioner will go over and sometimes recommend to fill out a food diary to see what you consume in a day, and offer therapeutic suggestions in regards to your overall health and Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis.  Foods will be chosen and recommendations made to optimize fertility, and balance hormones.

Haven’t booked in for an Initial Consultation yet?

Below are general nutrition guidelines and recommendations you can incorporate into your life to optimize fertility.

Recommendation #1: Eat Alkaline rather than Acidic

                Did you know Acidic Cervical Mucous may become hostile to sperm?

Food sources: Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, limit red meat, and unhealthy oils.

Recommendation #2: Get Plenty of Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) linoleic (omega 6) and alpha-linoleic (Omega 3s – EPA and DHA) are essential to every cell in the body.

Omega 3s encourages blood flow to tissues including the uterus, boosts immunity and reduces immune cells (killer cells) which prevent implantation as well as fights inflammation. Omega 3s are also key in the releasing of the egg during ovulation. EPA and DHA are essential to fetal brain development.

Good sources: Fish, fish oil, non-hydrogenated cold-pressed oils (flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed), eggs, soy products, raw nuts and seeds, dark green veggies, kale, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, cabbage, turnips, rutabaga, brussels sprouts.

Recommendation #3: Eat Organic and Hormone Free whenever possible

                Conventional meats and animal products contain synthetic estrogen which can have a negative effect on our endocrine systems. Processed food eliminates most of it its natural vitamins and minerals.

Recommendation #4: Add more Cruciferous Vegetables

                These vegetables contain DIM (diindolylmethane) which is a plant-based chemical that stimulates more efficient use of estrogen in the body by increasing the metabolism of estradiol- a form of estrogen. These are great for estrogen dominant conditions including weight gain, breast & uterine cancer, low libido, PMS, Endometriosis and fibroids.

Increase your bioflavonoids found in many organic fruits and vegetables which help the formation of healthy blood vessels.  This can help the uterus prep for implantation and prevent miscarriage.

Good sources: Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radish, turnip.

Recommendation #5: Eliminate Caffeine and Alcohol

Keep caffeine intake below 200 mg each day. This is equal to about 12 fluid oz of coffee.

Alcohol should be avoided altogether when trying to conceive. Even modest amounts can delay conception.

Remember everyone is different and it is always best to come for an Initial Consultation with one of our Registered Acupuncturists in order to find out what health plan and nutrition guideline works best for you!

Exercise Guidelines For Pregnancy

By: Paige Wyatt

Living a health lifestyle has never been more important than while you’re pregnant. Not only are you now responsible for your overall health and well being, but also that of your unborn baby. What we eat, how much we sleep, how much water we drink, our mental and emotional stress, as well as how much we exercise need to be taken into consideration for a healthy pregnancy.

The new 2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy has shed a new light on recommendations for prenatal physical activity. Not only can we help to reduce complications during pregnancy but it can also optimize health and wellbeing for both mother and child.

Previous concerns over fetal health during pregnancy have long been a deterrent for prenatal physical activity. The thought of exerting ourselves and potentially increasing our chances of miscarriage, stunting gestational growth, inducing preterm labour, and harming the fetus has caused a lot of expecting mothers to reduce and stop their exercise program. Less than 15% of women are engaging in the recommended prenatal exercise.

But, here’s the truth; these concerns have never been proven by research. Instead we’ve seen a rise in pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, gestational hypertension and large for date babies, which may be the cause of rising maternal obesity.
Physical activity is now being looked at as a preventative and therapeutic measure to reduce pregnancy complications.


• All women without contraindications should be physically active throughout pregnancy
• 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week
• Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week
• Aerobic and resistance training achieved greater benefits
• Pelvic floor muscle training (eg. Kegels) may be performed on a daily basis to prevent urinary incontinence
• Exercises should be modified to reduce supine position


Women who exercise during pregnancy have a reduced chance of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, cesarean delivery and operative vaginal delivery. Exercising while pregnant can also help reduce post partum recovery time, decrease depression and stress levels, as well as overall weight gain.


No. These guidelines are intended for women who do not have any pregnancy complications. Although exercise exhibits many health benefits there are certain conditions that are considered absolute contraindications. EVERYONE should be thoroughly evaluated by their OBGYN before beginning an exercise program to ensure there are no medical conditions.
Absolute contraindications are as follows:
• Ruptured membranes, premature labour
• Unexplained persistent vaginal bleeding
• Placenta previa after 28 weeks gestation
• Preeclampsia
• Incompetent cervix
• Intrauterine growth restriction
• High-order multiple pregnancy (eg., triplets)
• Uncontrolled type 1 diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, or uncontrolled thyroid disease
• Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory or systemic disorder


According to the new guidelines there is never a better time to start exercising than the PRESENT. Even if you have never exercised before it is recommended to start. If you’ve never exercised, starting gradually and slowly increasing your intensity and frequency is recommended.
Although the more activity you do, the greater the benefit, even small amounts of physical activity have been proven to be beneficial. Exercise can be for everybody! Take a prenatal yoga class, go for a brisk walk, go for a swim, take an aerobics class or get your sweat on by stationary cycling.
Keep in mind that there may be periods of fatigue and discomfort as your body changes throughout pregnancy, and certain activities may need to be modified as pregnancy progresses. Remember, IT’S OKAY TO REST!


  1. 1. Take it easy! A good indication that you are not overdoing your workouts is by using the “Talk Test.” If you are able to carry on a conversation while exercising it is likely that you are not overexerting yourself.
  2. 2. Always make sure you maintain adequate hydration- drink water before, during and after exercise.
  3. 3. Avoid physical activity in excessive heat and humidity (eg. hot yoga). A thermo-neutral environment is recommended.
  4. 4. Avoid activities that involve a risk of falling, or physical contact that may induce risk of fetal injury (eg. horse back riding, non-stationary cycling, extreme hiking)
  5. 5. No scuba diving.
  6. 6. No high altitudes.
  7. 7. Seek obstetric advice if considering exercising above the recommended guidelines.
  8. 8. Listen to your body and if you experience any symptoms while exercising such as persistent shortness of breath, severe chest pain, regular and painful uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding, persistent loss of fluid from the vagina, persistent dizziness, and faintness that does not resolve with rest STOP physical activity and consult a health care provider.

In summary the new 2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy has recommended moderate-intensity exercise during pregnancy to help reduce pregnancy complications and optimize health for both mother and baby.

My Favorite Resource For Pregnant Mothers To Be

By Christina Pistotnik

The time between that positive pregnancy test and holding your newborn in your hands can be filled with a mixture of emotions. On one hand you are so excited that you are going to be a mother but on the other hand you can’t help but feel anxious because it is hard to know what you can and cannot do. Some of you invested time, energy, and financial contributions in order to get to this place, and of course you want to do everything you can to safely maintain this pregnancy.

One of my favorite resources that I refer to and suggest to newly expectant mothers is called Motherisk. It is a Canadian site and program facilitated by the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and they provide evidence-based information about what is and is not safe during pregnancy. I really enjoy it because it is easy to use and contains a vast array of information all on one site. Plus they have a toll free number (1-877-439-2744 ) that you can call and speak directly to a nurse that will help you out with any concerns you may have.

Having reliable resources and specialists to support you during pregnancy is important because it can help ease uncertainty surrounding an important time in your life.

What about acupuncture, is it safe during pregnancy?

Since the majority of my patients start seeing me while in the process of trying to conceive, I get this question quite a lot in my practice and the answer is; Yes, acupuncture is a safe and effective form of treatment in pregnancy. This is because it utilizes the body’s own healing process to help maintain pregnancy by keeping the uterus calm and stabilizing progesterone which keeps the lining secure until the placenta takes over. Plus it helps to minimize uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms which include; nausea and vomiting, aches/ pains, insomnia, and energy issues.
Plus, an added bonus when receiving acupuncture treatments is that it has a very calming affect on the body. Therefor, it can help with stress and anxiety that you may be experiencing during this time.

As an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and pregnancy, I am happy to safely treat you for any of your pregnancy concerns. Call Whole Family Health to book your appointment or learn more about our Fertility Services today!

Moving Forward From Pregnancy Loss: 4 Things That Help

October is Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month, and in honor of heartbroken parents, blessed little lost ones, and all dear folk touched by this grief, we recognize this all too commonly shared experience.

We all process this kind of loss in our own way, and in our own time. One of life’s humbling mysteries – sometimes there is an explanation, and other times there is not. Either way, we are left to grapple with that which we don’t have control over, and to practice with somehow making peace with it, while sorting out how to move forward.

Often losses can be isolating, held close and private, locked in the silent hope of the first trimester. Hopefully to be spoken of later, perhaps when a little less emotionally raw.

While later term losses or stillbirths may be collectively grieved; empty-armed parents, navigating how to move forward at the mercy of often unpredictable waves of emotion. Moving through a life unchanged and yet forever changed – buoyed or sunken by the community’s varying depth of understanding and expectation.

It is said that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage by age 35, and once we start talking about it, we realize that everyone knows at least one person who has suffered a loss- if they haven’t experienced one themselves.

What does life after loss look like? There is no right or wrong way to grieve, we all do it in our own way and in our own time. Some of us are de-railed for a short time, and others of us never quite ‘get over it.’ Some of us need potato chips, while some of us need long walks, or both. Whatever it may be, allow the time and space to be with it in whatever way works best.

Here are some things that will help in the wake of pregnancy loss:

1. Breathe. Studies show that Mindful breathing exercises shift us out of fight or flight and activate our pre-frontal cortex- which is responsible for higher executive functioning. This supports our recovery from traumatic events and helps us to be present with and to integrate these experiences in a healthy way.

Mindfulness allows us to have the perspective we need to see our way through difficult times, without avoiding or being completely high-jacked by the negative impacts of the associated stress. Accessing resources like a Mindfulness class or a Mindfulness App like Headspace have far-reaching benefits.

2. Nourish and renew. Pregnancy loss and stillbirth can be draining both physically and emotionally. Eat replenishing foods, that are nutrient-rich and tonifying. Try to stay away from refined and processed foods, while gravitating toward a whole foods diet.

Stick to warm and cooked meals, especially in the colder seasons. These are more easily digested, and your body doesn’t have to work as hard to metabolize them. Bone broths, which are rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals are easily absorbed, rehydrating, and fortifying.

3. Follow up. Follow up with your doctor. Especially if bleeding or pain persists or if your energy levels are slow to recover. Your doctor can run standard blood-work to check on hormone and iron levels after a loss. He or she can also determine if there is any indication for ultrasound imaging to ensure that no pregnancy products remain and/or that healing from any procedure is going smoothly.

If you have had more than one loss, your doctor will likely want to run a Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Panel, to rule out any potential contributing physiological factors.

4. Acupuncture. Acupuncture promotes blood flow, regulates inflammation, supports hormone balance, and decreases stress. It helps with recovery from both spontaneous miscarriage, procedures and stillbirths, as well as supports regulation of your cycle after loss.

Treatment plans are individualized, based on factors relevant to your particular case, and can include regular acupuncture, customized Chinese herbs, and a review of recommended supplements, diet and exercise.

If a Western diagnosis has been identified, and/or Western Medical treatment is necessary, we make modifications to support this process. The primary aim is to help your body re-set. Should you plan to create and carry another healthy pregnancy, then we also help to prepare for this, while supporting the mental-emotional process and doing what we can to prevent another loss.

Pregnancy and infancy loss is not uncommon, and the more we speak to it, the better
we are able to understand and support one another. Bless the hearts of those who know
this kind of loss first-hand and bless the hearts of those who love and support them.


Dr. Alda Ngo

For more information on how we can support recovery and prevention of pregnancy
loss, please feel free to contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

How You Can Create a Healthy Baby with Whole Family Health

There is a reason that a baby is referred to as the “miracle of life”. Sometimes, it can seem unbelievable that a little human grows inside of a woman. The idea that at just five weeks into pregnancy, your tiny bun already has a brain, spinal cord, and heart can be even more difficult to imagine.


But, it’s true. And even at this very beginning stage of life, health is important.


Did you know that an entire blueprint of a child’s future health can be derived from mom’s health during pregnancy? That’s right. A mother’s health (even before conception) influences the health of her fetus.


What does this mean? It means that the best way to ensure your child is healthy doesn’t start after they are born, or even during pregnancy. It starts with your preconception preparation!


First things first


It’s no secret that young adults are experiencing more hectic, stressful lifestyles as workloads double and financial stress increases. Today’s generation are also victims of convenience, able to order fast food to their doors and no longer needing to walk or use a bicycle as much as in days gone by. Not to mention the increased use of pesticides, and more exposure to radiation from appliances and devices.


So, what is being done to combat these negative effects? Especially during preparation for pregnancy? Well, it starts with understanding that health starts with you. How you treat your body, what you put into it, and how you relieve stress all play vital roles in the outcome of your child’s health. By taking ownership and putting a process in place to optimize your mind and body for child-bearing, you are taking the first step.


How can Whole Family Health help?


We combine traditional Chinese medicine and regular acupuncture treatments with nutritional and lifestyle guidance, as well as mind-body stress reduction techniques to increase your fertility naturally.


We take a holistic approach to restoring fertility by focusing on your entire health and wellness; we offer fertility acupuncture, fertility massage, nutritional advice and more. The reproductive system is connected to and affected by all the other systems. By treating the entire person, we identify and remove hormonal, physiological, and even emotional issues impacting fertility, bringing you into balance and enhancing your ability to conceive.


Interested in how we can work with you to improve your health and increase the likelihood of conception? Contact us today!



4 Board Certified Fellows of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine at Whole Family Health

Congratulations to Christina Pistotnik RAc, DAc, HHP, FABORM and Monica Patt RAc, HHP, FABORM on your recent certification with ABORM! (more…)

Integrative Fertility Symposium 2016 Highlights

Our team just got home from the 2016 Integrative Fertility Symposium and wanted to share some highlights. (more…)

Massage Therapy Improves IVF in Patients Undergoing Blastocyst Transfer in a Cryo-Cycle

Massage Therapy is increasingly used to relieve physical and mental discomfort and is suggested as a safe therapeutic modality, without any significant risks or any known side effects. (more…)

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