Women’s health, including IVF support and infertility acupuncture has become a huge focus for me. I’m still impressed at how effective acupuncture can be at helping to regulate the menstrual cycle in women – which is a large part of fine tuning a couples chances of becoming pregnant.
Many couples are discovering the advantages of adding acupuncture to their infertility treatments – whether they are using other ART (assisted reproductive technologies) such as IVF or not. But why?
A leading American Western-medicine based journal, Fertility and Sterility, has given an unquestionable thumbs-up to the use of acupuncture for couples trying to conceive. Fertility and Sterility publishes scientific articles based on clinical and laboratory research surrounding reproduction, endocrinology and fertility technologies. It is utilised by obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, and others ( like myself ) who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.
We, as acupuncturists, of course have known for a long time that acupuncture is our way of helping to communicate with both male and female reproductive organs. By communicate I really mean stimulate. So for women, it allows us to stimulate the uterus and ovaries by increasing blood flow to the organ(1,2). In men, it allows us to communicate with the testes, helping to increase sperm health (3). Blokes please be reassured that I will be going nowhere near your testes with an acupuncture needle!! There are a few points above the pubic bone, which are painless, and some points around the ankle and lower back which we use to help promote healthy little swimmers – but we certainly never needle into genitals!!
The use of acupuncture pre and post-embryo transfer is another valuable way in which we can increase your chance of becoming pregnant if you are undergoing IVF or IUI treatments ( search this site for the article and references in relation to this ). Again, it’s the ability of acupuncture to ‘communicate’ with internal organs which helps increase blood flow to the uterus – which is ideal when we’re doing fertility work!
If you’re wanting to answer a few more questions about acupuncture and how it can help
increase your chances of conception, check out some other pieces I’ve written on the subject here.
If you ‘re wanting to enquire about how I can help via email, just fill in the inquiry form below and I’lll get back to you – mostly within a day.
It seems that even Western based research, such as the one which I have highlighted below, is lending their support for the use of acupuncture in relation to infertility. This is certainly my experience in Brisbane, having treated many couples whose physician has given the green light for them to receive acupuncture during their ART treatments.
Below is the abstract from a Chinese Medical journal that I subscribe to which reports on the findings from the journal Fertility & Sterility.
“A review of the medical literature on acupuncture and female fertility published in the journal Fertility and Sterility has shown that acupuncture can help reduce stress, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and normalise ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
As such, women struggling to get pregnant may want to add acupuncture to their roster of fertility-boosting treatments, according to study author Dr. Raymond Chang of Cornell University. Stress is known to adversely affect ovulation, and therefore it is logical that acupuncture would assist normal ovulation through the release of beta-endorphins. Many previous studies examined the benefits of acupuncture when added to other fertility treatments. Recent reports have shown that women who incorporate acupuncture into their in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment are more likely to become pregnant than those who use IVF alone, and that women who used acupuncture without any other fertility treatments were just as likely to conceive in the same period of time as women who took a fertility drug. (Fertility and Sterility 2002;78:1149-1153). ”
http://www.jcm.co.uk/research-archive/article/acupuncture-increases-ivf-success-242/ viewed 15.10.11 )
Some useful additional links:
1 Magarelli, PC, D Cridennda, M Cohen. Fertil Steril. 2009 Dec;92(6):1870-9 Fertility and Sterility
2 Stener-Victorin E, et al Hum Reprod 1996; 11:1314-1317. Human Reproduction
3 Chen A et al, Jnl Acup Tuina Sci 2011 Vol 9, Number 4, 219-222 Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science
4 Betts D 2006 ‘The Essentail Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth’, The Journal of Chinese
5 Liang, L. 2005 ‘Acupuncture & IVF Increase IVF success by 40-60%’ Blue Poppy Press Boulder, Colorado USA
6 Maciocia G Obstetrics & Gynecology in Chinese Medicine Elselvier China 2005 p7-84
7 Lyttleton J The Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine Elsevier China 2013 pp 173-229