Can acupuncture be used to treat infertility?
As early as 3,000 years ago, doctors of Chinese medicine discussed the diagnosis and treatment of reproductive disorders and infertility – for both men and women. Historically, the Chinese have placed great emphasis on family, and so the best minds in Chinese medicine were usually sought out to help those struggling with infertility. Recent scientific studies support the utlization of fertility acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine as a treatment for infertility, and other reproductive disorders. This growing body of evidence demonstrates that fertility acupuncture can improve fertility rates by enhancing physiological processes related to fertility. Additionally, it is shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.
When should acupuncture treatment begin?
Acupuncture is similar to physical therapy in that it is a process oriented method of medical intervention. It is better to do more than less. Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. This period of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect.
In a study by Stener-Victorin et al from the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fertility Centre, Scandinavia and University of Gothenburg, women are encouraged to receive acupuncture treatments pre and post embryo transfer. Clinical observations from the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medical interventions. However, conception does sometimes occur when acupuncture and herbal medicines are used without traditional medical interventions.
When should I stop getting acupuncture?
Typically most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. Therefore, treatment of patients may often last through week twelve to help prevent miscarriage.
What types of fertility patients typically get acupuncture?
Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. (Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture). Acupuncture is often combined with herbs to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.