Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year.  At least 10-15% of American couples are considered infertile. It is important that both partners get tested because 40% of infertility is due to male factors. Depending on the cause, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be of great assistance in optimizing the body to conceive naturally as well as providing support care during In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures.

Treatable Infertility Causes in Women

  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Elevated prolactin (hyperprolactinemia)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Early menopause (premature ovarian failure)
  • Benign uterine fibroids
  • Pelvic adhesions
  • Other causes of infertility in women include use of certain medications, thyroid disorders, overuse of caffeine, certain cancers and associated treatments, and other serious medical conditions

Traditional Chinese Medical Treatment to Treat Infertility

Acupuncture, frequently combined with herbal medicine, has been used for centuries to treat several causes of infertility.  Treatment consistency as well as compliance with herbal medicine and changes in lifestyle can also greatly affect success rates.

Research has shown that Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine:

  • Regulate the menstrual cycle
  • Regulate hormones by reducing stress
  • Improve blood flow to the ovaries & uterus
  • Improve ovarian function – encourages production of follicles & enhances their quality
  • Improve the thickness of the uterine wall lining
  • Reduce uterine contractions after embryo transfer
  • Reduce the chance of miscarriage
  • Lessen the side effects of pharmaceuticals
  • Enhance the immune system
  • Improve quality of oocytes (at least 3 months of treatment)

Acupuncture and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Several clinical studies have shown the efficacy of acupuncture when combined with IVF procedures. Acupuncture, when administered 25 minutes before and 25 minutes after embryo transfer can almost double pregnancy success rates.  For best results, It is advisable to begin acupuncture treatments 3 months before an IVF procedure.

Treatable Infertility Causes in Men 

  • Sexually transmitted diseases- gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Fevers and infections- mumps occurring after puberty
  • Surgery of the reproductive tract- undescended testes, hernia repair, disorders of the prostate gland, cancer, and damage to the vas deferens
  • Varicose veins- in the scrotum (varicocele)
  • Medications- including those for depression and/or high blood pressure
  • Exposure of the testes to high temperatures- tight & unventilated clothing, excessive hot tub use, workplace condition
  • Use of tobacco, marijuana, or alcohol
  • Medical conditions
  • Genetic or hormonal problems
  • Injury to the testes