A significant body of research has found that acupuncture treatment can have a positive effect on those trying for a baby and aid the conception process. Traditional acupuncture aims to promote fertility by treating underlying health issues that may cause disruption to the body’s natural balance. Thereby supporting you to create the optimum environment for conceiving and nourishing a baby.
Acupuncture can be used to increase your chances of conceiving, whether you are planning for a natural or assisted conception; IUI, IVF, ICSI, IMSI and FET. Fertility focused acupuncture treatment can help to reduce tension, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormone levels, regulate the menstrual cycle and help improve the quality of eggs released and lining of the uterus. Additionally, conditions such as polycystic ovaries (PDF) and endometriosis (PDF) have also been shown to improve with acupuncture.
The positive effects of fertility focussed acupuncture are thought to include:
- Reduce stress which is known to have an adverse effect on fertility hormones
- Regulate the menstrual cycle and promote regular ovulation
- Increase egg production and improve oocyte quality
- Support assisted conception and relieve the side effects of drugs
- Enhance the vitality of sperm with positive effects on sperm count, morphology and mobility
- Improve the thickness of the uterine lining to promote successful embryo implantation
- Reduce the chance of miscarriage
In addition to the traditional acupuncture diagnosis process women may be asked to chart their menstrual cycle using Basal Body Temperature (BBT) to further refine each treatment.
The British Acupuncture Council has published the following Fact Sheets to give accurate and unbiased information about research evidence and how acupuncture may be beneficial – PDF files:
Female Infertility Male Infertility Acupuncture to Support Assisted Conception Endometriosis PCOS Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhoea) Premenstrual Syndrome Anxiety Stress
More information can also be found on the Acupuncture for Fertility Network (AFN) website.
A comprehensive selection of Research and Reviews relating to Acupuncture for Fertility and Assisted Conception Support can be found on the website of Jane Lyttleton, an Australian practitioner of Chinese medicine who is the author of “Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine” published by Elsevier.
A prospective, randomised controlled clinical trial was conducted with 84 infertile patients who had at least two unsuccessful attempts of IVF. Acupuncture was performed on the 1st and 7th day of ovulation induction, on the day before ovarian puncture and on the day after embryo transfer.
The clinical pregnancy rate was 35.7% in the acupuncture group, significantly higher than that in the control group (7.1%) and the sham group (10.7%). The research concluded that “In this study, acupuncture and moxibustion increased pregnancy rates when used as an adjunct treatment in women undergoing IVF, when embryo implantation had failed.”
Results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 trials, involving 1,336 women undergoing IVF suggests that when acupuncture is given in conjunction with embryo transfer, it increases the chance of women becoming pregnant by 65%, in comparison to sham acupuncture or no acupuncture treatment.
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