Achieve natural conception
- How can acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine influence infertility? *
Study shows that acupuncture appears to have a neuroendocrine effect, affecting a three-way axis between the two areas of the brain involved with hormone production (the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands) and the ovaries, a constellation that ultimately affects egg production and possibly ovulation.
Secondly, by increasing production of endorphins,which is the body’s natural feel good brain chemical, acupuncture could help regulate the menstrual cycle.
Thirdly, acupuncture could change the blood supply to the ovaries, possibly dilate the arteries and increase blood flow, so that ultimately the ovaries could receive greater amounts of hormonal stimulation. In 2000, a report in the journal Medical Acupuncture suggest acupuncture may directly impact the number of egg follicles available for fertilisation in women undergoing IVF.
Meanwhile, acupuncture may help when the lining of the uterus is too weak to sustain a pregnancy, which is known to increase the risk of repeated miscarriage.
For male, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have shown that they can affect hormone levels and testicular blood flow. Chinese herbal medicine, in particular, offers a significant improvement in sperm count, motility, morphology and liquefaction, it can also treat varicocele and anti-sperm antibody.
- When should the treatment start?
It takes at least 3 months for immature eggs to mature enough to be released at ovulation, and it takes the same amount of time for sperm to be developed mature. Therefore, at least 3 months should be given to prepare for conception.
Reports about Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infertility:
Acupuncture is famous for improving IVF success rate. According to The Guardian’s news pages, “acupuncture can increase the chances of getting pregnant for women undergoing fertility treatment by 65%”. The results of some research studies into this are very promising and we remain strong supporters of its use as part of a coordinated approach.
Our acupuncturists are highly experienced in treating women during the lead-up to IVF, throughout their cycle and on the day of transfer. Research suggests that the effect of treatment may be cumulative, which is why we offer a package of ten sessions.
For details, read ACUPUNCTURE FOR IVF SUPPORT .
Dr James Dillard, Dr Raymond Chang, Dr Ifeoma Okoronkwo, Dr Sandra Emmons, British Acupuncture Council (www.acupuncture.org.uk). National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence: “Guidance on low back pain” (May 2009). British Medical Journal, February 2008. Fertility and Sterility, April 2002. Fertility and Sterility, December 2002. Medical Acupuncture, Spring/Summer 2000; vol 12.