• Infertility

  • Acupuncture can increase your chances of success. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are undergoing an IVF or IUI cycle, acupuncture and Chinese medicine has been helping people with infertility for hundreds of years.

    Benefits of Infertility Acupuncture

    Just recently, many clinical trials have been able to confirm that acupuncture helps to treat infertility. The trials demonstrated a significant increase in pregnancy rates with the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown not only to enhance pregnancy rates   but was also found to improve semen quality (specifically morphology and motility) as well. Since the health and vitality of a developing embryo takes both healthy eggs and healthy sperm, acupuncture is a great adjunct to add to help you achieve optimal reproductive health.

    For Her:
    • Improve ovarian function to produce higher quality eggs
    • Regulate hormonal balance to produce a larger amount of follicles
    • Increase uterine blood flow and thicken uterine lining
    • Reduce medication side effects
    • Prevent uterine contractions post IVF embryo transfer
    • Decreasing chance of miscarriage
    • Supporting health and balance during pregnancy
    • Help with stress and relaxation

    For Him:
    • Improve sperm count, morphology, and motility
    • Reduce sperm DNA fragmentation
    • Help with stress and relaxation
    • Treat pain or other urological health concerns
    • Support health and balance  

     

     

    Frequently Asked Questions about Infertility Acupuncture

    How long will I need treatment for fertility issues?
    The typical acupuncture protocol consists of 10 - 15 sessions given over a three-month period of time. Herbal medicine is taken daily for at least three months. Other factors such as age, health, medical history or if you have had previous fertility treatments may determine a shorter or longer treatment time.

    What acupuncture schedule do you recommend specifically for IVF or IUI?

    We work with many local Ob/Gyn offices and fertility clinics. We will coordinate care depending on your treatment schedule with your physician's office. For specific timing please see below in our treatment schedule section. If you are coming for general preconception acupuncture, we will see you weekly for one complete menstrual cycle and then determine the best timing for acupuncture support.

    What types of acupuncture do you offer for male factor infertility?

    We have all different treatment options for men. Sometimes we just see them for one visit only on the day of their donation or just before their partner's ovulation. Other times if there is a complicating factor such as significant morphology or motility issues we recommend treatment once a week for 1-2 months.

    Why do you recommend a minimum of 3-months for treatment?

    A woman's eggs are recruited at least 100 days before they are ovulated. This means that the quality of your eggs in any given cycle is determined during the 3-6 months before that cycle. Three months allows us to have adequate time for your treatments and healthier life style habits to take affect and to provide the best environment for the eggs and sperm.

    Does acupuncture treat "unexplained infertility"?

    Yes! From the Chinese medicine way of analyzing and evaluating the body there is usually an imbalance that can be addressed and help toward the goal of conceiving even when there is no western medicine explanation. 

    What else can I do?
    There are many great ways to optimize fertility and enhance your overall health. We will go over additional risk factors, diet and lifestyle changes, mind-body techniques, acupuncture and herbal formulas for balancing hormones and boosting your health and well being. You can also go to our Resources page for other local specialists and information on infertility.

    Treatment Schedule

    There are different acupuncture treatment options and support plans to designed to help you. Below is a list of possible options and suggested timing for each. After your initial visit we will discuss what we feel would be the most successful plan to achieve your reproductive goals.

    • Preconception Treatment Program
    • Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer
    • Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF
    • Acupuncture three days after egg collection if going to blastocyst (day five) embryo transfer
    • Acupuncture for frozen embryo transfer (FET) including donor eggs
    • Acupuncture for IUI Support
    • Early Pregnancy Acupuncture

    Preconception Acupuncture for Reproductive Health

    Goal: Treatment to increase your health and wellness before you conceive.  Chinese medicine effectively treats a wide variety of women's health issues to optimize your fertility. If you are just starting on your fertility path or have gone through several failed IVF cycles, Chinese medicine can offer a wonderful way to enhance your reproductive health as you try again. Or if you have tried several methods and have decided you need a new pathway, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can offer you another option for treatment.
    Schedule: Treatments are determined by your menstrual cycle or for specific support times during menstrual cycle phases. (for example some women need extra support at ovulation) Ideally treatment plan should be for weekly acupuncture for 3 months for optimum fertility support. 

    Acupuncture for IUI / IVF

    Day of Embryo Transfer Acupuncture

    Goal: Treatment schedule follows clinical trials that demonstrated acupuncture improves blood flow to uterus and ovaries and hormone regulation, may affect follicle development and implantation. Higher pregnancy rates (as much as 65%!) were seen in these trials combining acupuncture with IVF.
    Schedule: 1 treatment immediately before embryo transfer and one treatment up to 24 hours post embryo transfer.

    IVF Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF

    Goal: To manage any side effects, decrease anxiety and stress while reducing fatigue and discomfort. Treatment schedule used that follows clinical trials to improve blood flow to uterus and ovaries and hormone regulation to affect follicle development and implantation. Higher pregnancy rates were seen in these trials.
    Schedule: Optimal treatment time is 2 treatments per week for the 4 weeks before embryo transfer and a pre and post embryo transfer treatment.

    Acupuncture three days after egg collection if going to blastocyst (day five) embryo transfer

    Goal: To help to speed healing and reduce any inflammation or bleeding and to increase uterine receptivity for transfer day.   
    Schedule: Acupuncture treatment within 48 hours after egg retrieval 

    Acupuncture for frozen embryo transfer (FET) including donor eggs

    Goal: Similar treatment to medication phase of IVF, by increasing blood flow to uterus and ovaries and hormone regulation to assist in implantation.
    Schedule: 2 treatments per week for 2-4 weeks before transfer, plus pre and post transfer treatments. 

    Acupuncture for IUI Support

    Goal: Regulate hormones, assist in ovulation, improve uterine blood flow to enhance uterine lining and assist in implantation.
    Schedule: Weekly acupuncture until day of IUI, the pre and post IUI treatment. 

    Early Pregnancy Acupuncture Weeks 1-12
     (First Trimester Acupuncture)
    Goal: To reduce the chance of miscarriage and assist in successful implantation by enhancing circulation to the uterine lining.
    Schedule: Weekly treatments from ovulation to week 12 of pregnancy. 
      

    Male Factor Infertility Acupuncture

    Acupuncture Treatment Plans for Men

    Our suggested treatments for men are based on both historical acupuncture and recent clinical trials showing the improvement in sperm parameters with acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments have been shown to increase sperm motility and count, and decrease abnormal forms. Acupuncture has all been shown to help with other reproductive health issues such as erectile dysfunction, prostate concerns, libido, and pain or urinary problems.

    Men's Fertility Acupuncture

    Goal: To increase sperm motility and decrease abnormal morphology, protocol based on successful clinical trials showing positive improvements in semen analysis post-acupuncture..
    Schedule: Weekly treatments from ovulation to week 12 of pregnancy. 


    Acupuncture for poor sperm morphology and motility.
    Goal: To increase sperm motility and decrease abnormal morphology. Protocol based on
    successful trials showing improved semen analysis after acupuncture.
    Schedule: Weekly treatments of acupuncture and herbs. 


    Acupuncture for IVF / ICSI Prep
    Goal: To reduce the chance of miscarriage and assist in successful implantation by enhancing circulation to the uterine lining.
    Schedule: 2 weekly treatments for 6 weeks prior to IVF schedule 


    Acupuncture on day of sperm donation (IVF or IUI)
    Goal: To reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing pelvic blood flow.
    Schedule: 1 treatment before donation. 

     

    Infertility Acupuncture Research
    Below is a listing of clinical and laboratory research on Acupuncture and reproductive health. There are more studies being conducted on this exciting new avenue of research. The studies below have all appeared in the journal Fertility and Sterility. Ten of them found that acupuncture performed close to the time of embryo transfer improved chances of pregnancy. Three reported no effect, and one found a negative effect (which was put down to the fact that the patients had to drive across town after their embryo transfer to reach the acupuncture clinic).