Fertility Acupuncture

Fertility issues can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Fertility acupuncture can provide hope and ease the barriers to conceiving for a couple that is having difficulty getting pregnant.

Acupuncture can help fertility by:

  • Regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Increasing blood flow to the uterus
  • Stimulating ovulation
  • Increasing sperm count and motility
  • Increasing libido
  • Reducing stress and anxiety

Acupuncture can help address fertility issues in both women and men.

Fertility acupuncture assists women by:

  • Increasing blood flow to the uterus – Proper blood flow to the uterus allows it to function properly and resolve any stagnation that has occurred, thus improving the endometrial lining
  • Improving the endometrial lining – Having a thick, nutrient-rich endometrial lining improves the chances of an ovum implanting on the uterine wall
  • Regulating hormones and the menstrual cycle – A properly functioning menstrual cycle can help women become pregnant. Acupuncture regulates the hormonal connection between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the ovaries, promoting a normal cycle
  • Stimulating ovulation – Some women ovulate irregularly, or not at all, due to low Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels. Acupuncture can help to regulate these hormones so patients begin to ovulate regularly
  • Increasing egg quality – The quality of an egg is an important factor in fertility. A woman’s ovarian egg reserve is affected by age, genetics, medical history and lifestyle choices. Acupuncture can help to produce an increased number of viable eggs for women trying to get pregnant
  • Reducing stress and anxiety – When a couple has difficulty trying to conceive, this can provoke a lot of anxiety. Stress does not help a couple trying to conceive. Acupuncture assists in regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis that causes the release of stress hormones

Fertility acupuncture assists men by:

  • Increasing sperm counts – Sperm quality increased in males with subfertility related to low sperm count after acupuncture treatments. Sixteen subfertile patients were analyzed one month before and one month after acupuncture treatments, performed at a frequency of twice a week for five weeks. Significant improvement of total functional sperm, percentage of viability and total motility was found. This suggests that men with reduced sperm activity may benefit from acupuncture treatment. 1
  • Increasing sperm motility – Sperm motility is a huge factor in getting pregnant. Sperm need to be able to move quickly to survive the environment of the uterus and reach the mature egg in the fallopian tubes
  • Improving sperm quality – A study published in Fertility and Sterility measured 28 men with low sperm count, poor motility and poor morphology who received acupuncture twice a week over the course of 5 weeks. Statistical evaluation of the data showed a significant increase in normal sperm morphology and total motility in the acupuncture group compared to men in the control group who did not receive acupuncture treatments. With the conclusion that, in conjunction with ART for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatments are a simple, non-invasive method of improving sperm quality. 2
  • Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs – Increased blood flow to the male reproductive organs makes this area function more effectively.
  • Reducing the stress of trying to conceive – Acupuncture can help to release neurotransmitters that help reduce the anxiety and stress of dealing with fertility issues. Stress hormones can adversely affect how our bodies function and impact the chances of conceiving.

To learn more about male factor fertility issues, please click here.

References:

Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson W, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B. Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality. Arch Androl 1997;39:155-61.

Jian Pei, Erwin Strehler, Ulrich Noss, Markus Abt, Paola Piomboni, Baccio Baccetti, Karl Sterzik. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 84, Issue 1, p141–147 Published in issue: July 2005 Retrieved from http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(05)00591-1/pdf

IVF & IUI Support

Many couples dealing with infertility issues have turned to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), in hopes that it will result in a pregnancy. Acupuncture treatments can be used along with reproductive technologies, such as IVF, IUI and ICSI, to boost the chances of a successful conception. When combining reproductive technologies with fertility acupuncture, my Edmonton clients have experienced impressive results in getting pregnant! There have been various studies performed on how acupuncture can help increase the effectiveness of assisted reproductive therapies to improve the best possible outcome and increase live birth rates.

  • In one study, 160 participants were divided into two groups. One received acupuncture before and after the embryo transfer. The other group did not
  • The clinical outcome documented that 42.5% of patients in the acupuncture group became pregnant
  • Only 26.3% of participants in the non-acupuncture group became pregnant
  • The study concluded that acupuncture is a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates when used in conjunction with assisted reproductive therapies

Acupuncture has been successful in assisting IVF for the following reasons:

  • Lower elevated FSH levels
  • Regulate hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining
  • Encourage implantation post embryo transfer
  • Reduce stress and anxiety associated with IVF
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries to maximize the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the follicles while they are developing
  • Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Lessen the side effects of medications used in IVF cycles
  • Improve semen quality to produce better quality and quantity of embryos
  • Decrease the chance of miscarriage

For the best possible outcome, it is best to prepare for IVF with acupuncture treatments three months ahead of time. Treatment Plans may vary depending on the type of cycle, Fresh embryo transfer or Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).

Please read more about how acupuncture can help with IVF & ICSI outcomes by clicking here.

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