Infertility is a condition resulting from abnormal functioning of the female or male reproductive system. This condition is defined by the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse (six months for women age 35 years and older), or by the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12% of women (7.4 million) have received a fertility service in their lifetime in the U.S., and 1 out of every 8 couples have trouble conceiving a child or sustaining a pregnancy. One-third of infertility is attributed to the male partner, one-third is attributed to the female partner, and one-third is either caused by a combination of problems in both partners or is considered unexplained infertility.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture for fertility is a popular and commonly used alternative treatment for clients who wish to get pregnant. Many Denver fertility centers recommend and/or offer Acupuncture services along with clinical fertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese therapy, and it involves placing fine needles into particular body points called meridians. These points run along lines of energy, and the goal of acupuncture is to correct any imbalances of these energies in the body.
Correcting the body’s imbalance by stimulating these meridian points will improve health. Many studies show improved pregnancy rates for clients who use acupuncture, but there are no official statistically proven results. Acupuncture enhances relaxation, increases beta-endorphins, and lowers stress levels. Our fertility specialists encourage clients to see an acupuncturist for treatment. In addition, acupuncture is less expensive than many fertility treatments.
Research Supporting Acupuncture
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine conducted a meta-analysis of several clinical studies on the effects of acupuncture and IVF outcomes. This large analysis included over 1,300 women. Researchers found that acupuncture statistically improved clinical pregnancy rates, continued pregnancy, and live births.
In another study in Germany, 160 IVF clients with were evaluated. Half of these women receive acupuncture treatment before and after embryo transfer, and the other half of the women did not receive any therapy. Of the acupuncture group, 34 out of 80 got pregnant compared to only 21 out of 80 in the other group.
Many other studies have shown acupuncture to be beneficial for fertility. Of the findings, acupuncture was found to possibly:
- Improve sperm counts and quality in infertile men.
- Improve the uterus lining (endometrium) due to increased blood flow.
- Help women with anovulatory cycles and PCOS.
- Help regulate hormone levels, particularly gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
- Help women with thyroid dysfunction, which interferes with pregnancy.
- Increase the number of follicles produced during IVF.
The Acupuncture Session
Many women and men are slightly anxious during the first acupuncture visit, especially if he or she has never had this therapy before. Each person’s experience is personal, with some people reporting tingling or dullness around the insertion site, and other reporting a pleasant feeling. Once this sensation settles down, the patient reports a restful, relaxed state, which is reported as enjoyable, invigorating, and renewing.
Experts recommend the woman receives acupuncture treatment on the day of her embryo transfer if she’s having IVF. It is best to use the facility’s acupuncturist or a professional near the center, as driving a long distance in between is not recommended.
Rocky Mountain Fertility Center has affiliations with top acupuncture professionals in Colorado to assist in fertility success. By combining complementary treatment with conventional therapies, success can be improved! Call us today.