If you are having difficulty getting pregnant, and if you have already tried your GP, fertility specialist, and IVF from NHS but to no avail, trying natural fertility options can be an effective way of improving your chances. One such natural fertility treatment option is acupuncture.
Acupuncture works best when a functional problem is the cause of infertility, specifically when endometriosis, ovulatory problems or hormonal imbalances are the cause for not getting pregnant.
However, it is much more tricky to use acupuncture treatments when structural problems, such as an improperly formed epididymis or a blocked fallopian tube, are the cause of infertility. In the latter case, advice from your GB needs to be sought and acupuncture should be used as an assistance rather than a replacement of western medicine.
Acupuncture and Female Infertility
Acupuncture infertility treatment can be applied either on its own or in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, such as IVF.
A report published in the journal Fertility and Sterility (2002) found the pregnancy rate in the group receiving acupuncture group was 42.5%, compared to the group which did not receive the therapy, where the rate was 26.3%.
A 2004 study conducted by the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Center in Colorado found that 51% of women who underwent both IVF and acupuncture treatment at the same time became pregnant, while only 36% of those who only underwent IVF did. The latter group also had higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth (20%) compared to those women who had received acupuncture (8%).
Acupuncture and Male Infertility
Acupuncture can also be used to treat men’s fertility problems, including erectile dysfunction or sperm health problems, such as low sperm count.
Recently a study was published in journal Fertility and Sterility describing the effectiveness of acupuncture on male fertility. This study suggests once again that acupuncture has positive effects in treating male infertility: it improves a number of normal sperm and reduces sperm defects.
Study was conducted on a study group of 28 men, all diagnosed with idiopathic infertility. Study group received acupuncture twice a week over a period of 5 weeks. Needles were inserted 15 and 25 millimeters, depending on the region treated. Control group did not receive any treatment.
During treatment needles were manipulated for approximately 10 minutes, and then they were left in place for another 25 minutes.
According to the research, semen samples were collected from both study and control group after a 3-day period of sexual abstinence, one sample before the acupuncture treatment began and one sample after the last treatment.
According to the study results, motility levels increased significantly in semen samples in the men receiving acupuncture. In the control group median motility levels increased from 32% to 37% in the control group, while in the study group that received acupuncture, the median motility levels increased from 44.5% to 50%.
Additionally, the number and percentage of healthy sperm also increased. After the 10th acupuncture sessions, the median percentage of healthy sperm had increased more than four-fold.
Moreover, significant changes were noted in sperm structure and quality in the group that received acupuncture treatment: the median percentage of normal acrosome shapes increased for 16%.
In conclusion, acupuncture appeared to improve the overall quality and structural integrity of sperm, which could, according to researchers lead to acupuncture treating male infertility.