A common and devastating condition that many people are coping with today is infertility – for couples trying to start or expand a family, the stress and frustration of dealing with infertility can be devastating and can make conceiving even more difficult. While by no means a “cure all” for infertility, acupuncture has been clinically shown to help increase the chances of success for some fertility treatments and can help treat conditions associated with fertility issues like hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
I am often asked about information regarding infertility and acupuncture – and there’s a LOT out there. My recommendation and opinion is that people closely review the literature and studies to really understand the facts. Here are a few resources and studies that I find helpful:
The American Pregnancy Association cites acupuncture, along with Chinese herbal medicine treatments as a centuries-old treatment for infertility. The Association offers some tips and information about acupuncture treatments to increase fertility here.
WebMD discusses acupuncture’s role in treating infertility and how it has been shown to increase the chances of success for in vitro fertilization here. WebMD also cites a recent medical study, illustrating the beneficial results of acupuncture for women undergoing IVF:
Indeed, in a study of 160 women, published April 2002 in the reproductive journal Fertility and Sterility, a group of German researchers found that adding acupuncture to the traditional IVF treatment protocols substantially increased pregnancy success.
Also, it’s important to note that not only women benefit from acupuncture when trying to increase fertility. In fact, a 1999 study published in Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine showed that men struggling with low fertility due to reduced sperm activity that received acupuncture treatments showed a significantly higher and improved fertility index (total functional sperm fraction, percentage of viability, total motile spermatozoa and integrity of axonema) than men who did not receive acupuncture treatment.
So, if you are trying to conceive, acupuncture can be a beneficial treatment, but please take the time to learn more about exactly HOW it can help and to determine if it’s a fit for you. It will be important to discuss your expectations and timelines with a licensed acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner to be certain that their treatment recommendations and protocols match up with your time and budget.