Acupuncture for Fertility
Clinical studies suggest that acupuncture is helpful for couples trying to conceive and those using in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a fertility option.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on the theory that energy flows through the human body along designated pathways. Called “qi” (pronounced chee), this energy restores health. Acupuncture involves use of thin, tiny needles inserted into the skin and deeper tissues along specific body points, which are called meridians. This stimulates the release of endorphins and restores body energy.
What conditions can acupuncture help?
Infertility occurs due to certain medical conditions and structural disorders. Acupuncture can help increase pregnancy rates for couples with:
• Thyroid problems
• Repeated pregnancy losses
• Spasmed tubes
What does science say about acupuncture?
In a recent study, a team of German researchers found that acupuncture greatly increased the odds of pregnancy in a group of women undergoing IVF treatment. Of the 160 study participants, 42% of the women who had acupuncture got pregnant, compared to only 26% of those who had no treatment. The experts speculated that acupuncture increased blood flow to the uterus and relaxed uterine muscle tissue, which allowed the fertilized egg to implant.
Does acupuncture decrease stress?
Much empirical evidence supports that acupuncture is effective for stress reduction. Stress is known to interfere with becoming pregnant, so reducing the stress through acupuncture improves a couple’s odds of conceiving. Many women report that acupuncture helps with coping with stress, as well.
Does acupuncture help with male infertility?
Acupuncture has been proven to significantly improve sperm motility (ability to move) and sperm count, especially when done at regular intervals. Additionally, new research shows that the quality and health of the sperm is also improved through acupuncture. Experts found that acupuncture is also associated with fewer sperm structural defects and an increased number of sperm.
How does acupuncture improve fertility?
• Reduce anxiety and stress – During stressful situations, the hormones secreted will interfere with fertility.
• Increase blood flow – To improve the chances of the embryo implanting to the uterus wall, acupuncture increases blood flow.
• Regulate ovulation – Acupuncture can normalize the endocrine system and body hormones, especially for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
• Stabilize the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis – This plays a major role in fertility and regulates the menstrual cycle.
When should a woman visit an acupuncturist?
Most fertility specialists do not treat patients unless they have tried to conceive for a full year. The woman should start seeing an acupuncturist before she wishes to get pregnant, especially when there are fertility concerns. Seeing the acupuncturist early on allows for regulation of the menstrual cycles. We recommend starting acupuncture at least 3 months before intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
According to research, the benefits of acupuncture for women include:
• Improvement of ovulation in people with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
• Increased rates of pregnancy during IVF treatment cycles, notable when acupuncture occurs on the day of embryo transfer.
• Reduced anxiety and stress levels.
• Increased blood flow to the uterus, which helps thicken the endometrial lining.
• Regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRH), which improves ovulation.