Acupuncture and Fertility
Today’s tip discusses a technique that has been used for centuries to optimize health and how it can be beneficial to you and your fertility.
The technique that I wanted to discuss with you is acupuncture. I receive several questions about acupuncture and whether I recommend it. Let’s first discuss what it is.
(excerpt from the Baby Centre UK)
Acupuncture is based on the theory that vital energy (or “qi,” pronounced “chee”) flows through the body along certain pathways. Acupuncturists try to balance this energy and restore health by stimulating specific points along the pathways with thin needles. Although it has been a staple of Chinese medicine for some 5,000 years, acupuncture has only gained acceptance in the Western medical community in the past few decades.
In 2002, a team of German researchers discovered that acupuncture significantly increased the odds of pregnancy among a group of 160 women who were undergoing IVF treatment. Forty-two per cent of the women who received acupuncture got pregnant, compared to 26 per cent of those who didn’t receive the treatment.
Since then, more research has given support to the benefits of acupuncture for women undergoing IVF. One study, also in Germany, reported that conception and ongoing pregnancy rates were higher for women who had acupuncture treatment in the the second part of their menstrual cycle (the luteal phase) following IVF or ICSI. (sample size 200 people) While a Danish study found that conception rates were best improved by having an acupuncture treatment on the day the embryos were transferred into the uterus. Their findings showed that having an additional acupuncture treatment two days later did not improve the chances of conception or ongoing pregnancy
The use of acupuncture specifically for fertility purposes with IVF is still a bit controversial as more larger scale studies are needed. However in my practice I have seen significant improvement with acupuncture in conjunction with herbs.
Acupuncture can certainly address the stress of dealing with fertility treatments and the difficulty regarding fertility issues in general. And there are suggestions that it may increase blood flow to the uterus and possibly to the ovaries as well.
Acupuncture has also been shown in smaller studies to help optimize male fertility by showing improvements in count and quality. Whether I recommend acupuncture for this would really depend on the person’s circumstance and what, if it can be determined, is the probable cause for the male fertility issues.
So I would suggest to speak to your naturopath about whether your case may warrant utilizing acupuncture and give it some thought if you are having an IVF procedure coming up. Many IVF clinics now have acupuncturists that they recommend. And if not, then word of mouth is always a good way to find an experienced practitioner.
A couple with a son had been trying for 6.5 years to create a sibling for him. She has become pregnant at 44 through IVF with twins. She is now in her second trimester doing well. These were her own eggs and not a donor. She had utilized our program off an on since she was 41 but was reluctant to take a break from IVF due to her age. As her hopes began to fade she finally stopped having procedure after procedure for a while and did our program along with Monash IVF (Gold Coast) Healthy Life Styles program. We worked primarily on her adrenals and some support of her thyroid for a good 8 months and she implemented an optimal diet and supplementation program as well as the valuable info that she learned through Monash’s program.
Monash IVF Gold Coast’s Healthy Lifestyle PRogram is a 10 week program that discusses many different areas including acupuncture, stress and fertility, diet, exercise, what to look for when shopping, IVF and herbs, supplementation, and many other areas important to your fertility. To my knowledge it is the only program of its kind in Australia.
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