Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can increase the chances of becoming pregnant. It can be useful for individuals or couples who hope for a natural conception or for those who are undergoing Assisted Reproduction Technology (ie; IVF, IUI, etc.,). Recent research has shown that having acupuncture treatment in conjunction with ART increases women’s chances of becoming pregnant. It is important to realise acupuncture can be of benefit to males to enhance fertility as it can help improve the quality and motility of the sperm. For best results acupuncture should begin at least 3 months prior to ART procedure.
How Acupuncture and TCM can enhance fertility.
- Regulates the menstrual cycle
- Regulates hormones by reducing stress
- Improves the thickness of the uterine wall lining
- Reduces uterine contractions after the embryo transfer
- Improves blood flow to the ovaries and uterus
- Improves ovarian function – encourages the production of follicles and enhances their quality
- Enhances the immune system
- Reduces the chance of miscarriage
- Improves sperm parameters ( takes at least 3 months)
- Improves quality of oocytes (takes at least 3 months)
Acupuncture and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
For the best results acupuncture should begin at least 3 months prior to ART procedure. Generally treatments are given once a week. For optimal results a treatment is given 12-48 hours before and after embryo transfer.
Acupuncture and Natural Conception
If you are attempting to become pregnant through natural means, acupuncture can benefit you by balancing the flow of Qi (energy) and blood in the body. When Qi and blood are not flowing smoothly clots, blocked tubes, premenstrual pain and endometriosis can occur.
Stress is a big factor in infertility and acupuncture can help the body relax while stress management techniques can also be of benefit. The clinic offers stress management therapists and sessions are done in 45minute sessions.
Diet & Lifestyle
Diet and nutrition are of the utmost importance to both male and females for optimal results in fertility. Dietary advice is given by qualified nutritional advisors throughout the course of treatment, as required and a qualified stress management therapist can help with breathing and relaxation techniques.
What Symptoms Acupuncture can treat in relation to Infertility
- Blocked Tubes
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle
- Premenstrual Cramps, pain and clots
- Lack of ovulation
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Low Sperm Count
- Poor Motility Rates
Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Once pregnancy occurs, medication is usually prohibited therefore acupuncture is the ideal tool to help with morning sickness, coughs, colds, headaches, back pain, constipation, tiredness and the many afflictions the human body has to deal with daily. It can also be used to induce labour and to turn breach babies if necessary.
Increased Success of IVF when done in conjunction with Acupuncture
A recent study done by Paulus in Germany surveyed 160 women who had IVF treatment. 80 of the women had acupuncture before and after transfer of the embryo and 80 did not. The group that did not have acupuncture were found to have a 26.3% success rate, while the group that had the acupuncture had a 42.5% success rate. Success was determined by those who had a successful scan confirming pregnancy at 6 weeks pregnant. This clinic includes this protocol for those women undergoing IVF treatment. If you would like to read more about this: PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&list_uids=11937123&dopt=Books
Acupuncture can increase odds of clinical pregnancy by 65% among women undergoing IVF
A team of researchers based at Univerfsity of Maryland have reviewed and analysed a large number of clinical trials involving the use of acupuncture for fertility on 1366 women. The review concluded that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation. If you would like to read more about this: BMJ Feb 2008 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39471.430451.BEv1
Acupuncture promoting ovulation
We have selected a few research articles that show the success of acupuncture in relation to treating lack of ovualtion:
Clinical observation on acupuncture for treatment of infertility of ovulatory disturbance. If you would like to read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18257182?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.
Acupuncture in polycystic ovary syndrome: current experimental and clinical evidence. If you would like to read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18047551?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.
Advances of modern studies of acupuncture and moxibustion for treatment of ovulation disorders. If you would like to read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17117581?ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.
Acupuncture can reduce miscarriages
Acupuncture During IVF linked to lower ectopic and miscarriage rate. The retrospective study included 131 women who were undergoing standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). All of these women were considered good prognosis candidates for IVF/ICSI and were given the choice of having acupuncture. 48 had acupuncture and 83 did not. In the group that had acupuncture the miscarriage rate was nearly halved. 14% miscarriages in non acupuncture group versus 8% miscarriage in acupuncture group. Ectopic pregnancies were 9% in non acupuncture group versus 0% in acupuncture group. Live birth rate for non acupuncture group was 16% versus 21% in acupuncture group.If you would like to read more: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYD/is_1_40/ai_n8968477
Caffeine Intake linked to Miscarriage Rates
A new study has found that pregnant women who consumed more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, equivalent to about two cups of coffee, had twice the risk of miscarriage as the women who consumed no caffeine at all. The findings are published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. If you would like to read more: http://www.chinesemedicinetools.com/caffeine/caffeine-intake-linked-to-miscarriage-rates
Acupuncture can help male infertility
A study of 40 men with idiopathic oligospermia, asthenospermia, or teratozoospermia has shown a general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultrastructural integrity of spermatozoa, after acupuncture. If you would like to read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16009169?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.
Another study of 19 men with semen abnormalities showed that acupuncture and moxa techniques significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm in infertile patients with oligoastenoteratozoospermia without apparent cause. If you would like to read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14695986?ordinalpos=8&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.
Another study of 22 patients was done to gague the influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology. It showed the The fertilization rates after acupuncture (66.2%) were obviously higher than that before treatment (40.2%, P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in sperm concentration and general sperm motility between before and after acupuncture. The embryo quality after acupuncture was improved, but the difference between them was not significant (P > 0.05). Acupuncture can improve sperm quality and fertilization rates in assisted reproductive technology. If you would like to read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12658811?ordinalpos=9&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.