As many as one in five couples in the United States struggle with issues of fertility, and this number continues to rise. According to the American Fertility Society, a couple is considered infertile when a successful pregnancy has not occurred after one year of trying. Many factors contribute to infertility, but they are all exacerbated by the emotional heartache of failed attempts and by the environmental and lifestyle stressors that we encounter every day.
Some select among a variety of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in their quest for a baby, while others choose a more natural path. For those who undertake Western reproductive interventions, including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), regular acupuncture treatments can significantly boost the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that acupuncture can increase the success rate of IVF by 40-60%. For those who choose a purely natural path, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine facilitate their body’s return to the balance necessary for a successful pregnancy.
To receive the full benefits of Chinese medicine, it is important to begin treatment early enough to allow at least a three month window before the anticipated pregnancy. This gives us an opportunity to bring the body’s cyclical processes into balance.
Male Reproductive Health
The importance of male reproductive health is often overlooked in fertility treatments. However, male issues account for at least one third of infertility cases, while an additional one third are attributable to a combination of male and female factors. Chinese medicine has successfully treated male reproductive issues for over 2,000 years. Recent studies have confirmed the ability of acupuncture to enhance sperm productive and quality. Stress relief is an important aspect of acupuncture therapy, as stress has been shown to negatively affect fertility for men as well as women. The best chances for conception and healthy pregnancy occur when both partners receive treatment.
The Benefits of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine promote specific ways of bringing the entire person back into better balance and harmony in order to achieve conception and maintain a viable pregnancy.
- Increase blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries, thereby improving the quality of the endometrial lining and creating an optimal environment for implantation.
- Aid in the regulation of the endocrine system in order to benefit all stages of the reproductive process and assist the productive of healthy ova.
- Address underlying conditions that affect fertility, including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and hypothyroidism.
- Alleviate stress, a major factor contributing to infertility, and correct the hormonal imbalances caused by long-term stress.
- Reduce pregnancy-related disorders such as morning sickness and edema, and decrease the likelihood of miscarriage.
- Improve sperm concentration, quality, and motility for males in order to maximize the chances for conception and healthy pregnancy.
- Minimize the side effects that many women experience with Western fertility treatments.
- Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Sami S. David, MD and Jill Blakeway, LAc
- The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis, PhD, LAc
- Fertility Wisdom: How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help Overcome Infertility by Angela C. Wu, LAc, OMD
- The Tao of Fertility by Daoshing Ni, LAc, OMD, PhD
- The Way of the Fertile Soul by Randine Lewis, PhD, LAc