Infertility is a common problem in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says about 10% of women (6.1 million) between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
You may have heard the word “infertility” but do you know exactly what it means? Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. If a woman is 35 years of age or old, infertility is defined by not being able to get pregnant after six months of trying. Also, women may be infertile if they are able to get pregnant but unable to stay pregnant. Men and women are equally affected by infertility.
Acupuncture has been used as a fertility aid as far back as 3 A.D. Today, many couples are using acupuncture alone or in conjunction with Western medicine.
The principles of Oriental medicine state that your health is determined by the quality of Qi, or vital life energy, and your blood. When both are circulating as they should, your body is balanced, nourished, functioning properly and those things can all enhance fertility.
Research shows acupuncture helps regulate the menstrual cycle, improves sperm count and motility, can reduce the stress associated with infertility. It can also increase the change of pregnancy for women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), decrease the chance of miscarriage and normalize hormone and endocrine systems in the body.
In the February 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal, a review that involved 1,366 women undergoing IVF and found that they were 65% more likely to become pregnant when they combined the IVF procedure with acupuncture. Researchers believe acupuncture stimulates the neurotransmitters that trigger the production of the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle and a woman’s ovulation. They believe acupuncture stimulates blood flow to the uterus and that it also helps the body relax.
Studies show acupuncture can also help infertile men, showing a link between acupuncture treatments and improved sperm production and motility.
Such treatments are usually scheduled for three consecutive cycles, totally 12 weeks. Every patient is different, so treatment will be personalized to your needs.
Jen wrote her master’s thesis on the acupuncture treatment of infertility. She has always been passionate about helping women achieve their dreams of becoming mothers.
Some benefits on fertility:
- Improve the function of the ovaries to produce higher quality eggs
- Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the health of the uterine lining
- Relax and de-stress
- Prevent uterine contractions post IVF embryo transfe, helping the embryo to successfully implant
- Reduce the side effects of IVF medications
- Strengthen the immune system and increase energy levels
- Improve sperm count, motility, morphology and reduce sperm DNA fragmentation
- Increase chances of conceiving
- Decrease chances of miscarriage
- The relationship between fertility and weight management:
- 12% of females with primary infertility are overweight
- 70% of fertility problems resolve with weight loss
- So be sure to check out our weight loss support group if you think this applies to you