Acupuncture for Infertility
Fertility issues are becoming increasingly commonplace in the United States as more and more people are postponing parenthood until later in life. It is often recommended to seek help with fertility issues if pregnancy does not occur after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse if you are age 35 or younger or after 6 months if you are 36 or older. Other reasons to seek help with fertility are irregular menstrual cycles, inconsistent or no ovulation, and male factor fertility issues. Factors of modern living such as more advanced maternal and paternal age, high stress, and unprecedented levels of environmental toxins all contribute to the statistic of approximately 7.3 million women in the U.S. experiencing some form of infertility.
In China, couples have long turned to acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as a natural form of treatment to boost fertility and ultimately achieve a successful pregnancy. In the West, this type of therapy is increasingly gaining popularity, both used on its own and in conjunction with assistive reproductive techniques, such as IVF and IUI, and for good reason. Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and effective way to treat infertility without side-effects. In addition to abundant anecdotal evidence that acupuncture can help couples conceive, a recent review of several well-conducted studies concluded that acupuncture can increase the success rate of IVF by 65%.
While the stresses of daily living can adversely affect fertility, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help restore it by influencing the reproductive and endocrine systems of the body. In women, the reproductive cycle is made up of various phases that each play an important role in overall fertility. By improving functions of the reproductive organs and endocrine system and addressing any imbalances in these phases, acupuncture can help create a more ideal environment for conception and a successful pregnancy. In men, environmental and constitutional factors can contribute to lower sperm quality, and acupuncture can help address those factors and improve sperm quality. Specifically, acupuncture can help a couple achieve a successful pregnancy by:
- Improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, such as the uterus and ovaries
- Increasing the thickness of the uterine lining
- Normalizing levels of and improving responsiveness to reproductive hormones
- Promoting deep relaxation and decreasing the negative effects of stress, which can be a huge hindrance to fertility
- Regulating menstrual cycles and ovulation
- Helping to address gynecological issues such as PCOS, edometriosis, and fibroids, which can negatively affect fertility
- Helping to address thyroid problems, which can contribute to infertility
- Increasing the success rate of IVF by boosting the number of follicles produced, improving the quality of the uterine lining, and encouraging implantation
- Addressing male factor infertility by improving sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology
As the reasons for infertility problems vary from individual to individual, so too will the treatments. Our acupuncturist who specializes in infertility, Angie Ng, is experienced and has a high success rate when it comes to treating fertility issues. She will carefully go over your health history to uncover contributing factors to infertility from a holistic Chinese Medicine perspective and come up with a highly customized treatment plan to address each person's unique fertility issues. In addition to acupuncture, the use of herbal therapy, meditation/energy breathwork, and diet/lifestyle changes may be incorporated into a patient's treatment plan to promote optimal fertilty.
In addition to seeking acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, patients can be more proactive in promoting their fertility in other ways, such as eating a healthy diet that promotes fertility, becoming more familiar with their menstrual cycles, and managing stress. Below are some resources to help you take a more proactive role in your fertile health.
- Acubalance Fertility Diet links to Acubalance Wellness Center website for tips on healthy eating to optimize fertility.
- Basal body temperature (BBT) charting is a useful way to gain insight into your menstrual cycle and a good tool, other than ovulation predictor kits, to predict when you are ovulating.
- Glow is a fertility, period and ovulation tracker app for your mobile device.
To read more about acupuncture for fertility, please see the articles below.
When seeking acupuncture therapy, it is recommended to see someone who is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.). Licensed Acupuncturists are experts in their field and have received thousands of hours of training in acupuncture. "Certified" or "Registered" acupuncturists, or those who practice "dry needling", on the other hand, are often practitioners who have taken a crash course in acupuncture and have as little as 100 hours or less of training. Be sure to see a Licensed Acupuncturist to get the best care and the best results!
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