Acupuncture is an accepted fertility protocol that works by stimulating qi, a form of life energy, which must flow unhampered through the body. When qi blockages form, illness or malfunctions such as infertility occur. Acupuncture encourages fertility by moving qi from areas where it may be in excess to areas that are deficient.
Treatment is most effective for individuals experiencing a functional rather than a structural problem (irregular ovulation as compared to damaged fallopian tubes or blockages in sperm ducts). Acupuncture can increase ovarian function in women and sperm production in men by regulating the endocrine system, which aids in stabilizing hormone levels. Acupuncture normalizes the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, a key factor in fertility.
For women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), acupuncture can increase the number of egg follicles available for fertilization. Acupuncture is often utilized prior to the start of IVF medications and throughout the IVF cycle, including before and after embryo transfer. Acupuncture can reduce stress levels and promote relaxation, which can assist women undergoing stressful fertility treatments.
A combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and conventional medical interventions often result in the most effective fertility treatments. Combined with conventional medicine, acupuncture can correct problems associated with infertility including premature ovarian failure, unexplained infertility, failed implantation, and male factor (low sperm count or motility). Acupuncture can also stimulate egg production in women who choose not to use fertility medications and can increase blood flow to the uterine cavity, which can aid in implantation.
Acupuncture therapy for infertility requires treatment once or twice weekly. Consistency and timing of treatment is important for both men and women. It takes a minimum of four months of treatment to raise sperm count and motility in men and a minimum of three consecutive cycles for women to regulate hormonal levels. Some acupuncture physicians will also recommend Chinese herbs for infertility to supplement acupuncture and any other treatments. For more information about acupuncture for infertility or to schedule an appointment contact Dr. Richard Browne.