How can acupuncture help you tackle infertility?

Spotting infertility is child’s play. If you have been having unprotected sex for a year and have not conceived, or if you are over 35 and have been trying to conceive for 6 months and haven’t succeeded - you know there’s a problem and you and your partner should both see a doctor for ruling out infertility.

But, what do you do to tackle infertility? This, believe me, is the hard part ladies.

“Giving it time" will not treat infertility as it's a medical problem that has to be confronted head-on. 

You could try in-vitro-fertilization- the biggest hope for infertile couples worldwide… 

It’s a messy procedure that takes a lot of money, pain, side effects, time, patience and more patience… and sometimes it fails.

Or you could try IVF along with acupuncture to improve your chances of producing a healthy embryo and carrying the pregnancy to term!

I’ve met women who’ve gone through excruciatingly painful fertility treatments to induce ovulation and then zilch- they still don’t have a viable egg or if they have a healthy egg, something goes wrong and they don’t have a viable embryo even after numerous IVF cycles.

And then, I have seen women getting IVF treatment complemented  with acupuncture therapy to enhance their fertility, and they conceive after just one or two cycles.

IVF is modern science and acupuncture is centuries-old Chinese system of healing, and both are coming together to give infertile couples a stab at parenthood. 

How does acupuncture work?

This centuries-old “needle therapy” stimulates your life- energy called “Qi”, to move freely in the energy channels or meridians of the body.

Acupuncture stimulates and moves Qi by removing any blockages in the body which give rise to a disease or dysfunctions like infertility in the first place.

By restoring the flow of Qi, an acupuncturist is able to balance the female hormones responsible for ovulation and conception in your body.

This therapy is especially helpful in women with PCOS who suffer from a hormonal imbalance which prevents ovulation.

An acupuncturist moves the Qi from areas where it may be too abundant, to areas that are deficient, increasing fertility by placing the super-fine needles at key energy meridians linked to your reproductive organs.

The needles also work locally to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.

Acupuncture boosts fertility specifically in women by:

1.Boosting blood flow to the uterus. This enriches the endometrial lining of the uterus. The rich endometrial lining helps to ensure the eggs will be held to term.

Acupuncture also helps to relax the uterus and curb contractions, so blood flow increases and an embryo implants successfully.

2. Improving egg production and IVF success rates both

The therapy can also work to stimulate egg production in women who don't want to use fertility medications like Clomid to induce ovulation. The pregnancy rates for an egg-producing drug Clomid and acupuncture alone, are equal- a 50% chance of pregnancy in three months for both types of patients. 

3. Regulating the menstrual cycle

Acupuncture fertility treatment helps to regulate the menstrual cycle by regulating hormone levels at the right time.

4. Decreasing stress

Couples experiencing infertility are under immense psychological stress and acupuncture helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation as it helps in the release of endorphins, the body’s ‘feel- good’ chemicals. This relaxation response may continue for up to a week after just one acupuncture session.

What to expect during an acupuncture fertility treatment session?

When you visit an acupuncturist for the first time, she will ask you in-depth questions about your health, diet, emotional state, and your periods. 

She will take your pulse, followed by a tongue exam as acupuncturists believe that the tongue can tell a lot about someone’s health and that each part of the tongue represents a different part of the body. 

In the end, she will decide where an imbalance exists in your body which is causing infertility.

This will determine where she punctures your skin with her fine needles. Common acupuncture points include the ear, head, feet, hands, legs and the abdomen. 

Acupuncture is entirely painless. Each session lasts typically for half an hour and most experts recommend weekly treatments, and twice a week if you are over age 40. 

Do ask your reproductive endocrinologist to suggest a good fertility acupuncturist to avoid quacks.

Acupuncture is by far the safest method for treating infertility, while fertility drugs during IVF can cause harmful side effects like abdominal pain, bloating and weight gain.

All-in-all, acupuncture has gone mainstream, with more and more IVF doctors increasingly turning to acupuncture to help their patients have a baby. So, best of luck with the needle cure!

About the Author

Shikha Gandhi