Does Acupuncture Work for Fertility?

Acupuncture for Fertility – Compared to some decades ago, infertility rates are growing. Currently, the CDC claims that 19% of women get an infertility diagnosis after a year of failed attempts to get pregnant. Male factor infertility is responsible for approximately half of all infertility cases. Throughout the USA, 10% of men are diagnosed with infertility.

Your doctor may diagnose infertility no sooner than after a year of attempts to get pregnant. If conception doesn’t happen within this time, you may have fertility problems and should seek the professional consultation of a fertility specialist.

While there are many fertility treatment methods, infertile couples, especially those struggling for years, turn to alternative medicine to boost their chances for success. Acupuncture tends to be among the most effective and popular supportive methods of stimulating fertility in both men and women. It is often used as a means of physiotherapy to enhance the effectiveness of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, intrauterine insemination, and other assisted reproductive methods.

Things to Know about Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a practice that comes from ancient China. It is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been practiced for over 6000 years. It involves sterile needles, which should be inserted into specific points throughout the body to stimulate the flow of the Qi, which is the Chinese name for energy.

Studies have shown that acupuncture for fertility stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that either inhibit or activate the signals your brain gets from the other body parts. This way, the procedure helps to control most body functioning processes.

What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Infertile Couples?

The effect of acupuncture for fertility on infertile couples’ pregnancy rates is impressive, especially in those undergoing IVF. Acupuncture has been shown to significantly increase pregnancy and live birth rates in women receiving it compared to those who didn’t. A randomized controlled trial involving 72 women undergoing IVF treatment showed that the pregnancy rate among the patients receiving acupuncture was almost 50% higher compared to the control group – 63.9% and 33.3%, respectively.

Among the main medically reviewed and proven health benefits of this ancient practice there are:

  • the ability to reduce stress levels in women taking fertility treatments.
  • the ability to increase blood flow to the pelvis.
  • the ability to positively influence the hormonal balance of a woman and decrease the levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone, which interferes with normal conception.
  • the ability to increase sperm count and motility in men.

Let’s take a closer look at how acupuncture works for infertile couples undergoing IVF treatment.

Acupuncture for IVF

The two primary tasks for fertility specialists involved in IVF treatment are to help a woman grow eggs of the quality and quantity appropriate for fertilization. If speaking about the male partner in the IVF-treated couple, the quality of the sperm also matters much for receiving a viable embryo.

In either case, along with the standard reproductive medicine technologies, couples may also go for acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment to enhance the quality of their reproductive cells.It is generally recommended to start visiting an acupuncture specialist at least three-four months before the IVF round.

By stimulating the acupuncture points in the body, the acupuncture specialist can improve the blood circulation to the ovaries. This allows for enhancing the egg-growing process, ensuring all the nutrients get to every cell. In men, the enhanced supply of blood to the testicles helps the production of healthy sperm.

Aside from the positive effects on the ovaries, sufficient blood supply to the uterus allows the growth of a thick layer of endometrium, which works positively for growing the chances of successful embryo transfer and attachment.

How Long Does Acupuncture Treatment Take?

The production of sperm in men and the growth and maturation of the follicles in women require some time. It’s essential to understand that acupuncture is not a magic wand, and it needs time to make your body change its previous settings and start working as it should. So you shouldn’t expect immediate results.

Couples that want to conceive without medicinal intrusion need about three months of therapy to reach their goals. Some case reports claim that undergoing acupuncture sessions once a week for three months can result in a healthy pregnancy and live birth. However, the frequency of the procedure may vary up to thrice a week for maximum benefit.So the perspectives are very promising.

Patients planning on IVF need approximately the same time to prepare their bodies for pregnancy. Still, in severe cases, the therapy should better be initiated half a year to four months before the actual embryo transfer.

The duration of the acupuncture treatment plan is chosen individually. Some specialists recommend continuing acupuncture until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. Such advice is related to the fact that the risks of miscarriage are peaking during the first three months of expecting a baby. Therefore, acupuncture will help to prevent early-term pregnancy loss.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Many people fighting infertility are worried about the safety of acupuncture. And it’s understandable. There are several contraindications to acupuncture treatment:

  • seizure disorder;
  • the use of permanent pacemakers;
  • the intake of blood thinners;
  • blood disorders that interfere with blood coagulation;
  • skin infections.

If you have none of these, you can treat infertility with needles. But if you choose to continue with it after conception, you should know that some acupuncture points should be avoided not to trigger a miscarriage. Needling in the abdominal and lumbosacral region of your spine are contraindicated in such patients.

It’s essential to find an acupuncturist specializing in infertility treatment. Such a specialist knows precisely the peculiarities of working with pregnant patients. By the way, in the United States, acupuncturists should be licensed and registered with the American Board of Medical Acupuncture or NCCAOM to be able to legally provide their services. Make sure you work with a person who knows how to treat infertility. This is for your safety and the sake of your future pregnancy.

Acupuncture for Fertility – Bottom Line

Acupuncture, as an alternative method of infertility treatment, tends to be highly effective for boosting your chances of conception. Still, it requires time and a qualified specialist to bring you closer to your goal.

Want to Know More?