Acupuncture Used for the Treatment of Infertility
“A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities”, said Eda LeShan,
American writer and strong advocate for children. Unfortunately, not all couples enjoy this blessing.
Statistics have revealed that 20% of couples over the age of 30 experience problems in conceiving after
a year’s worth of trying. Factors such as environmental toxins, postponed motherhood, and stressful
lifestyles affect hormonal balances and contribute to infertility. Acupuncture and herbs have been used
to enhance fertility and reproductive health in both men and women. Medical literature recording the
use of acupuncture and herbs for infertility can be found in documents as old as 3 A.D. Even today,
acupuncture is one of the most commonly used methods for infertility outside the fertility clinic. Some
notables who gave it a shot are Hollywood stars including Mariah Carey and Celine Dion have
successfully delivered healthy babies with the help of acupuncture and herbs. Television host and a
popular doctor, Dr. Oz recommends acupuncture for people for a variety of illnesses including infertility.
One of the earlier and most well-known study that sparked the interest on acupuncture for infertility
was carried out in Germany in 2002. In this study, women who were undergoing IVF were divided into
two groups. The first group received acupuncture treatment before and after the transfer of embryo
and the second group did not. The pregnancy rate of the first group was 42.5% in comparison to 26% of
the other non-acupuncture group. When incorporated with the use of modern day treatments, the
overall conception rate showed a boost by 26%! In a recent study conducted at the University of Tel
Aviv, the success rates obtained by combining acupuncture and herbs with IUI (intrauterine
insemination) was 65.5% while the group didn’t use acupuncture and herbs showed only 39.4% success
Forty percent of infertility cases are caused by problems on the male side, while the other 40% on
female side and the rest 20% unidentified factors. An example of some factors causing male infertility
are low sperm count and reduced motility of the sperm, and the cause of female infertility stems from
problems such as non-ovulation and endometriosis. Acupuncture treatment addresses almost all
aspects of infertility obstacles.
Studies have shown that acupuncture aids fertility by effectively decreasing stress levels and inducing
hormonal balance. Cortisol is a substance released into the brain when people are stressed. This
substance changes the neurochemical balance of the brain and hence alters hormonal levels and
disturbs the balance of the pituitary which is vital to reproductive cycles. The fallopian tubes and the
uterus are affected by spasms induced by stress and that affect egg implantation and movement. In
men, sperm motility and count is affected by stress which may lead to impotency. Acupuncture
treatment releases endorphins in order to counter cortisol and stress effects in the brain.
Not only does it increase the flow of blood to ovaries and uterus, but, acupuncture treatment also
reduces side effects of drugs used, improves the immune system, increases motility, quantity and even
quality of sperm, increases the lining of the uterus and prevents uterine contractions.
Ovulation disorder accounts for another cause for infertility. This involves the prevention of the release
of a mature egg due to hormonal imbalances. The fetus fails to attach to the uterus without, for
instance, the required level of progesterone. Increased levels of the breast milk-producing hormone,
prolactin, also leads to infertility.
Hormonal imbalance also serves as a possible cause of male infertility by affecting the production of
sperm and motility. However, as the fertility drugs used for women stimulate ovulation by adjusting the
pituitary and hypothalamus for hormonal balance, they do not work in the same manner with men.
Male infertility needs to be treated from a different angle. But, in the case of acupuncture and herbal
infertility treatments, both men and women benefit without any side effects.
The goal of infertility treatment in Oriental Medicine perspective it not just to get someone pregnant,
but to keep the baby safely until delivery and to have a healthy baby. During acupuncture treatment,
very thin, sterile needles are used on specific points on the surface of the body. Some manipulation may
be done on the inserted needles. Moxibustion may be added to enhance the effect of acupuncture. And
herbal medicine may be employed if necessary.
The acupuncture treatment assists with a lot more than just infertility. It also treats nausea, lower back
pain, morning sickness, anxiety, pain disorders, insomnia and the aches that accompany pregnancy. Do
call us or send us an email if you want to discover more about acupuncture and how it works in the
treatment of infertility.