Acupuncture for fertility

Did you know Traditional Acupuncture can
help you conceive naturally and boosts IVF success rates?
Tell Me More

Introduction

Traditional acupuncture can help increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally by regulating periods and improving sperm quality. And acupuncture during IVF has been proven to increase rates of pregnancy and live birth.

In the UK, traditional acupuncture is a relatively recent addition to the options available to you. But there is nothing new about it. Acupuncture is a branch of Chinese Medicine that has been used in the Far East for thousands of years, to help people prepare for pregnancy and parenthood.

Acupuncture is becoming a popular choice for people who are planning to start a family – you might already know someone who had acupuncture to help get pregnant. Many fertility clinics work with local acupuncturists to support IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies.

Every month, women of reproductive age experience the cycle of hormones within their bodies. Ensuring a woman’s menstrual cycle flows smoothly has a direct impact on her ability to conceive.

Although many women dread their monthly bleed, Chinese medicine doesn’t consider painful, heavy periods to be normal. A large part of a traditional acupuncturist’s training focuses on helping women experience trouble-free periods, right through to menopause. Balancing hormones to restore regular periods is especially helpful after using contraceptive drugs and devices, such as the Pill or IUD.

As well as regulating hormones that affect the menstrual cycle1, research shows how traditional acupuncture increases blood flow to the ovaries and uterus that can help increase the chance of an embryo implanting.2

Traditional acupuncture has also been shown to successfully tackle the causes and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can be a cause of infertility3.

The main focus of traditional acupuncture is to encourage your body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. So, as well your monthly cycle, a traditional acupuncturist will ensure everything else – such as digestion, sleep and immunity – are in harmony too.

Acupuncture also helps boost natural fertility by affecting the sympathetic nervous system4 to calm the body and mind and leave you feeling relaxed. Stress disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA)5 as well as reducing the libido. So reducing the physical effects of emotional stress is very important when trying to get pregnant.

These links will take you to the latest research studies about acupuncture for female fertility, PCOS, dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, assisted fertility, premenstrual syndrome and stress.

References

  1. Stener-Victorin E, Wu X. Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture in the reproductive system. Auton Neurosci. 2010 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print; Ng EH, So WS, Gao J, Wong YY, Ho PC. The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility. Fertil Steril. 2008 Jul;90(1):1-13.
  2. Huang ST, Chen AP. Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun;20(3):211-5; Stener-Victorin E, Humaidan P. Use of acupuncture in female infertility and a summary of recent acupuncture studies related to embryo transfer. Acupunct Med. 2006 Dec;24(4):157-63.
  3. Lim CE, Wong WS. Current evidence of acupuncture on polycystic ovarian syndrome.Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print]; Stener-Victorin E, Jedel E, Mannerås L. Acupuncture in polycystic ovary syndrome: current experimental and clinical evidence. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 Mar;20(3):290-8.
  4. Huang W et al. An investigation into the effectiveness of traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA) for chronic stress in adults: a randomised controlled pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2011; 17: 16-21.
  5. Balk J et al. The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2010; 16: 154-7.

Just as the female body follows a monthly rhythm, there is a cycle to the production of sperm too. When starting a family, men can benefit from starting acupuncture treatments three to four months in advance.

As well as helping to reduce the physical effects of stress, research suggests acupuncture can increase testosterone levels and improve sperm quality, quantity and motility6.

Here is a link to research on how acupuncture can help boost male fertility.

References

  1. Stener-Victorin E, Wu X. Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture in the reproductive system. Auton Neurosci 2010 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print]

A growing body of evidence suggests acupuncture can enhance the success of IVF treatments7.

A ground-breaking research study in 2002 analysed the results of acupuncture administered shortly before and after embryo transfer. The pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group was nearly double the group that did not have acupuncture8. In 2008, the British Medical Journal published a review of several more clinical studies of acupuncture during IVF, that suggests traditional acupuncture can help increase rates of pregnancy and live birth9.

Many fertility clinics have acupuncturists on staff to provide acupuncture during embryo transfer. Or they refer patients to local acupuncturists with experience of using acupuncture during IVF.

Use the postcode search box below to get details of professional acupuncturists who can help you near you.

References

  1. Anderson et al. In vitro fertilization and acupuncture: clinical efficacy and mechanistic basis. Altern. Ther. Health Med. 2007;13(3):38-48
  2. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Wolfgang E Paulus, M.D., a, , Mingmin Zhang, M.D.b, Erwin Strehler, M.D.a, Imam El-Danasouri, Ph.D.a, Karl Sterzik, M.D.a Fertility and Sterility. Volume 77, Issue 4, April 2002, Pages 721–724
  3. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39471.430451.BE (Published 06 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:545

All traditionally trained acupuncturists help women and men naturally prepare for parenthood and can complement any other form of clinical therapy you’re receiving.

Some traditionally trained acupuncturists also attend specialist fertility training after they finish their first degree in acupuncture, to understand the clinical background to assisted reproductive technologies.

Your local traditional acupuncturist will be happy to discuss how acupuncture can help you in a free consultation over the phone. Use the postcode box below to get the contact details of professional acupuncturists near you.