Can acupuncture and Chinese herbs help increase my fertility and help me to conceive?
This is perhaps one of the most frequent questions we hear in my acupuncture clinic here in Brisbane – “can I use acupuncture for fertility?”
There are many reasons as to why couples might encounter trouble falling pregnant – endometriosis, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), autoimmune disorders, male infertility (poor sperm count, motility or morphology), irregular periods, or ovulation issues (anovulation)(1-4).
Most people have visited their doctor or gynaecologist and will have some sort of diagnosis. Others may just be aware that their periods are very irregular or painful, and that they have been having unprotected intercourse for more than a year, and are still having trouble conceiving. When people talk about acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for fertility, what we are talking about is using acupuncture and Chinese medicine to regulate Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang. This involves your practitioner making a diagnosis using Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. A recent Systematic review (5), considered the gold-standard in scientific research, indicated that successful assessment of the menstrual cycle in TCM terms, was key in the treatment of female fertility issues.
We use TCM principles to assess menstrual cycles in our efforts to bring your body back into a balance between Yin and Yang. Perhaps a better way to say it is – less stressed, better sleep, more energy and less obstructions within the acupuncture channels relating to your fertility. We also talk about it in terms of vital substances – Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang. In cases of unexplained infertility, we look to restore a balance of these substances such that your reproductive health may improve. You can read more on how we use acupuncture and Chinese medicine in cases of unexplained infertility here.(1-4).
A word on the research of acupuncture and fertility:
Whilst there still remains the need for more large-scale controlled trials to clarify the role and effect of acupuncture and fertility (6), we do have recent recent research indicating that acupuncture may improve the menstrual health of those women who are experiencing delays in falling pregnant (2,5). We are still trying to knuckle down on the mechanisms by which these improvements occur, but research has identified some plausible mechanisms as to how acupuncture may support Women’s health and so, fertility :
- by regulating reproductive hormones (8,9)
- by improving blood flow to the reproductive organs (10,11)
- by increasing endometrial receptivity 12
When considering the research on Chinese Herbal Medicine, a recent Systematic Review (5) concluded that by regulating the menstrual cycle over a 4 month period, that chances of pregnancy rose two-fold. So, it seems we do have some support to offer couples wanting to increase their chance of falling pregnant.
Why work with me?
I am an experienced acupuncturist and have gained considerable experience in using acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Aside from running a busy clinic here in Brisbane, I have held lecturing positions in acupuncture and supervised undergraduate students in the Health Science – Acupuncture degree at the Endeavour College of Natural Health.
I give you time. I allow 60-75 minutes for your first consultation to unpack your journey so far, and to develop a way forward.
Follow up treatments are 50-60 minutes.
My clinic is conveniently located in Stafford within the fringe of Brisbane’s city – there is easy street parking available.
I am registered through AHPRA to prescribe Chinese herbal medicine mixed to suit you. This means I can mix and prescribe Chinese herbs to exactly suit your energy requirements.
Have questions about how acupuncture may help you?
Use the contact form below to ask a question or to make an appointment. Alternatively, call us now on 3357 3205. I look forward to helping you on your road to health.
1 Betts D 2006 ‘The Essentail Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth’, The Journal of Chinese
2 Cochrane S et al, March 2014 Volume 2014: 6 Pages 313—325 International Journal of Women’s Health
3 Liang, L. 2005 ‘Acupuncture & IVF Increase IVF success by 40-60%’ Blue Poppy Press Boulder, Colorado USA
4 Lyttleton J The Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine Elsevier China 2013 pp 173-229
5 Ried K, Stuart K. Efficacy of traditional Chinese herbal medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2011; 19(6): 319-331. PubMed
7 McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
8 Stener-Victorin E, Wu X. Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture in the reproductive system. Auton Neurosci. 2010 Mar 27.
9 Lim CE, Wong WS. Current evidence of acupuncture on polycystic ovarian syndrome. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Mar 16.
10 Huang ST, Chen AP. Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun;20(3):211-5.
11 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.
12 Zhong Y et al Acupuncture in improving endometrial receptivity: a systematic review and meta analysis . BMC Complementary and alternative medicine 2019 March 19:61