Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine offer solutions for many couples trying to conceive naturally or in conjunction with IVF or IUI procedures.
“When the Soil is prepared the seed will grow”
The saying “When the soil is prepared the seed will grow” eloquently describes how Chinese medicine approaches fertility issues. This means that couples need to prepare themselves before they start trying for a baby. Looking at general health, diet and lifestyle is a must. High stress levels, poor quality diet, lack of sleep and excessive lifestyles can create imbalances in our system which can affect fertility. Poor sperm count or sperm motility, irregular menstrual cycle, poor uterine and ovarian blood supply can all be caused by the above factors. Addressing the underlying imbalance allows the body to resume its natural fertile state.
How acupuncture can help
This is where acupuncture and Chinese medicine come into their own. They take into account a person’s lifestyle and diet and address the underlying imbalances that affect fertility.
Acupuncture enhances fertility in the following way:
– Regulate menstruation and ovulation
– Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better eggs
– Regulate the hormones to produce a larger amount of follicles
– Increase the blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining
– Relax the patient and decrease stress and anxiety
– Prevent uterine contraction
– Reduce side effects of IVF medications
– Strengthen the immune system
– Improve sperm count, morphology and motility to create better quality and quantity of embryos
– Decrease the chance of miscarriage
– Reduce uterine contractions post IVF embryo transfer
How we support IVF patients
Ideally we would like to see patients come in once a week for 3 months before the start of the IVF so we can “prepare the soil”.
If this isn’t possible we recommend patients come in to see us as soon as they start the IVF cycle. When you are taking the follicle stimulating drugs we would like to see you twice a week. We schedule a treatment before egg retrieval. We also schedule a treatment before embryo transfer, ideally a day before or on the day just before transfer. Finally we ask patients to come in for treatment within 24 hours, or as close as possible, after embryo transfer, so that we can focus on preventing uterine contractions.
The most common infertility conditions are:
– Unexplained infertility
– Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
– Endometriosis and fibroids
– High FSH levels
– Ovarian cysts
– Recurrent miscarriage
– Advanced maternal age
– Male fertility: low sperm count and/or low sperm motility
Research on Acupuncture and Fertility
In 2002, a landmark German study concluded that acupuncture could enhance the success rates of IVF procedures by almost 50%. In 2006 the medical journal Fertility and Sterility published two additional independent studies that replicated these results. And in 2004 a study published in Fertility and Sterility concluded that acupuncture could assist poor IVF responders achieve similar pregnancy rates to normal prognosis patients. Most recently, a 2014 study not only made consistent findings on acupuncture’s effectiveness in increasing IVF success rates (by 42%), but also concluded that acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine alone was a potent tool in assisting patients to conceive naturally.