Fertility: the benefits of acupuncture​

Studies have reported that acupuncture can modulate female hormone levels, improve menstrual disorders, alleviate depression and improve pregnancy rates.

Benefits

Regulate periods

Ideally the cycle will be 26-30 days long each month, and the period free from pain, spotting, and pre-menstrual symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating and irritability. It should be neither too heavy or too light, lasting for 3-5 days. The quality and quantity of the period indicates the size and state of the endometrial lining.

Improve ovulation

Ovulation should occur midway through the cycle (Around day 14 of a 28-day cycle). Acupuncture may help to restore ovulation or regulate an early or late ovulation. Learning to record and read your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) chart can monitor the progress and success of ovulation.

Improve egg health

Acupuncture works to regulate the hormones to ensure each process of the Woman’s menstrual cycle is carried out efficiently and effectively, and on time. Hormones are responsible for helping the eggs to mature. Acupuncture may enhance the health of the eggs that are being released by increasing blood supply and nutrients to them.

Increase fertile mucus

The mucus mid-cycle is vital to facilitate the journey of the sperm through the fallopian tubes. It should be of different qualities and consistency throughout each stage of the cycle, for example, like egg-white when you are most fertile. Tracking your mucus, along with charting your temperatures is a good way to see if you ovulate and when the best time to try and conceive is.

Improve sperm quality and numbers

Sperm numbers have declined rapidly in the last 30 years, contributing massively to the increasing number of couples having problems conceiving and having babies. Regular acupuncture, supplements and herbs, along with some lifestyle changes can make a big difference to sperm (and overall health). Sperm health is a direct correlation to a person’s overall health. Sometimes small changes such as drinking more water and eating more greens can have a big impact on health and sperm test results.

Read about falling sperm counts on Stuff

Optimum semen results for natural conception

Total Motility: >50-70%

Progressive motility: >45-65% (swimming in a forward direction)

Morphology: 30-50% (normal forms)

Concentration/count: >50-120 million per ml

Volume: 2-5 ml

Acupuncture for IVF

Improve chances of positive IVF outcome

Acupuncture can be useful anytime along the IVF journey to improve blood flow to the reproductive organs, aid relaxation, reduce stress and combat unwanted side effects of medications.

A meta-analysis of 7 clinical trials, using 1366 woman in which acupuncture was used to support embryo transfer during IVF has concluded that it improves rates of pregnancy and live birth. They compared acupuncture given within one day of embryo transfer, with sham acupuncture, or no additional treatment. The analysis showed that combining real acupuncture with embryo transfer was associated with significant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy rate. Women who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer procedure and 91% more likely to have a live birth.

(Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Mar 8;336(7643):545-9.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2265327/

Pre-and post-transfer acupuncture is done before and after the procedure, and then around 4 days after embryo transfer. Acupuncture benefits include mental and physical relaxation, and is thought to increase blood flow to the uterus, nourishing the endometrium. If it needs to be done in another city, then I can refer you to a qualified and experienced fertility practitioner. Treatment aims to move the Qi and blood required for the action of implantation, and calm the uterine environment and aid in relieving any physical discomfort related to the procedure.