Starting a family is a huge decision, however, the process sometimes isn’t as simple or quick as one would imagine. The reality is one in eight couples are affected by fertility issues in the United States alone. That’s about 6.7 million people each year who have trouble conceiving or carrying to term.
On average, 30% of the cases of infertility can be attributed solely to the female, 30% solely to the male, 30% a combination of both partners, and in 10% of cases the cause is unknown. Thankfully, the Word Health organization recognizes acupuncture as a successful fertility treatment for both men and women!
Acupuncture is not only safe to undergo in addition to other fertility treatments such as IVF and IUI but can also be used as an affordable, holistic, stand alone therapy.
Common ways acupuncture can help increase fertility is through preconception planning, reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, balancing hormones, and addressing other root causes of both female and male infertility.
1. Preconception Planning
Our preconception care program is a step-by-step protocol designed to get a woman’s body in the best possible position to become pregnant, stay pregnant and nourish a baby for the entire pregnancy and beyond through a combination of both acupuncture, herbal medicine and minor lifestyle suggestions. Preconception Care is recommended for both natural fertility and for couples who plan to undergo assisted reproductive technology, including IUI and IVF cycles.
2. Combating Stress
As we discussed in our previous blog acupuncture is a fantastic stress reliever and it just so happens stress can severely affect both female and male fertility. This happens in a few different ways. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which can impact hormone levels as well as pituitary balance thus impacting the reproductive system. In fact, stress can even cause a woman to stop ovulating altogether! Stress can also cause spasms in both the fallopian tubes and uterus, affecting implantation of a fertilized egg. As for men, stress can affect sperm counts, motility and quality. Endorphins triggered by acupuncture can effectively fight this stress and solve these issues!
3. Balancing Hormones
By triggering the release of endorphins, acupuncture can activate the ovaries to produce oestrogen and progesterone two vital hormones for reproduction and carrying a baby to term. It can also balance sex hormones and increase libido for both women and men.
4. Improving Blood Flow
Additionally, acupuncture can increase blood flow to the womb which increases the thickness of the uterine lining which needs to be at least 8mm for implantation and pregnancy to be successful. It can also increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus to improve egg quality and around the testes to improve sperm development.
5. Addressing underlying causes
Acupuncture can also be used to treat many underlying causes which may be contributing to fertility issues. For women, acupuncture can help manage symptoms of conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis, or an over-or under-functioning Thyroid which can greatly affect fertility by reducing ovarian cysts, regulating menstrual cycles, reducing inflammation and balancing hormones. For men, acupuncture can help by improving sperm count and motility, increasing semen quantity, decreasing sperm DNA fragmentation.
6. Improving Reproductive Technology Success
Acupuncture is also a great choice for couples considering IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) or IUI ( Intrauterine Insemination) as it can increase the rate of success.
A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports, “When combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.”
Other research shows that having acupuncture and acupressure before and after embryo transfer can increase pregnancy rates by 60% and reduce the number of miscarriages by 50% (Paulus 2002 and Quintero 2004).
Additionally, acupuncture can be used to combat the side effects of assisted reproductive technology including: hot flashes, cramping, nausea, breast tenderness, mood swings, and fatigue to make your journey to conceiving as enjoyable as possible!
At the San Pedro Acupuncture Health Center we want every parent to have a happy and healthy pregnancy journey which is why we specialize in fertility. For more information about how acupuncture can help your chances of having a baby, give us a call today!