02 Jun Acupuncture During Fertility Treatments
Did you know acupuncture is a proven way to optimize your fertility health? We recommend individuals and couples speak to their fertility specialists to identify whether acupuncture should be considered part of their integrative fertility care plan.
Both the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American Pregnancy Association support using acupuncture sessions along with fertility treatments.
5 Ways Acupuncture Can Support Fertility Goals
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to support overall health and fertility goals. Today, clinical trials provide the evidence western medical practitioners needed to have before we felt comfortable giving it the stamp of approval.
Here are five examples of when to use acupuncture for fertility:
1. To improve IVF rates
First and foremost, couples like to hear about specific correlations between acupuncture and improved IVF rates. In the recently updated publication, Use of Acupuncture in Female Infertility and a Summary of Recent Acupuncture Studies Related to Embryo Transfer, head researchers and authors Elisabet Stener-Victorin and Peter S. Humaidan of Denmark conclude:
“Of the four published RCTs, three reveal significantly higher pregnancy rates in the acupuncture groups compared with the control groups….acupuncture has a positive effect and no adverse effects on pregnancy outcome.”
We recommend establishing a connection with a licensed, experienced acupuncturist specializing in fertility at least a few months before your IVF or IUI treatments begin. This allows you to become familiar with the processes and build trust with the practitioner, so you feel 100% comfortable when you use it during IVF.
2. Relieve infertility-related pain and inflammation
Some of the most common causes of infertility, like endometriosis, PCOS, and fibroid tumors, are frequently accompanied by inflammation and/or discomfort. Chinese medicine and acupuncture support healthy hormone balance, which also helps to regulate these and other common causes of infertility.
Additionally, acupuncture relieves the inflammation, pain, and discomfort associated with more severe PMS. Another bonus is that many infertility patients claim that it manages the discomfort, bloating, and nausea associated with injectable fertility medications. ASRM also supports using it to treat thyroid-related infertility factors.
3. Reduce stress and depression
We cannot think of a single infertility patient we’ve met who hasn’t experienced some level of stress or depression due to their diagnosis and the ensuring fertility treatment journey. For many patients, stress, anxiety, and depression can approach unmanageable levels, all of which can impede fertility treatment outcomes.
Acupuncture is proven to relieve all of these conditions, helping to bring a greater sense of calm and ease into your life. We also recommend reaching out to an infertility counselor and reading our post, Reducing Your Stress Level.
4. Improve sperm quality
Reviews of several studies found that “…acupuncture might significantly improve sperm motility and sperm concentration, but has no significant additional impact on the pregnancy rate of couples with male infertility.” If you or your partner is diagnosed with poor sperm quality, lifestyle changes and acupuncture are worth pursuing to improve sperm count and motility. The more healthy sperm there are to work with, the higher your fertility treatment chances will be.
5. Improve sleep habits
There is a notable correlation between sleep habits and fertility rates. As a result of its effect on stress and the ability to promote relaxation, your acupuncture sessions may also improve your sleep habits. The recommendation is to obtain seven- to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. In addition to helping your body’s hormone balance, deep sleep cycles are important for establishing a healthy metabolism, maintaining healthy immune system function, and rejuvenating your weary spirit.
Find a Licensed Acupuncturist Specializing in Fertility Acupuncture
We want to emphasize the importance of using an experienced and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. There are no significant risks to using it as an adjunct part of your fertility treatment toolkit. However, the American Pregnancy Association states, “The risk of miscarriage may increase if incorrect acupuncture points are used during pregnancy. This is one reason why those choosing to include acupuncture in their treatment regimen should only be treated by an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders.”
Are you interested in working with fertility specialists who utilize the best of eastern and western medicine to support our patients’ fertility journeys? Schedule a consultation with the Fertility Center of Dallas.