Acupuncture is believed to help with fertility by regulating the hormonal and physiological systems in the body. By increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, acupuncture reduces stress/anxiety, helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve ovulation, and increase the thickness of the endometrial lining – all of which can improve the chances of successful implantation of a fertilized egg. Learn more about acupuncture for fertility by speaking with our women’s health specialist today!
Acupuncture is believed to have positive effects on in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes. According to a systematic review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer was found to increase the rate of clinical pregnancy by 65% (Smith et al., 2010). Another study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine found that the combination of acupuncture and IVF increased the live birth rate by 42% compared to IVF alone (Wildschut et al., 2000). These findings suggest that acupuncture may be an effective complementary therapy for improving the success of IVF treatments.
Devin has been in the Health and Wellness field since 2007, where she started as a massage therapist specializing in injury management, sports, and prenatal massage. She decided to further her education and attended Five Branches University in San Jose California; there she studied acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, medical qi gong, and asian bodywork. She graduated with a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2017 with an additional certificate in orthopedic medicine and gynecology.
As a student, she was invited to intern at the Reproductive Science Center in San Ramon and completed 1 year of additional training in acupuncture to support fertility and people undergoing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IVF. In 2019 She was asked to join an integrative health team that provided acupuncture assistance to those undergoing IVF at the top reproductive health centers in San Francisco, while continuing to maintain and grow her own private practice in Silicon Valley.
Devin also has a set of young twins, and in 2020 she moved back to Portland to be closer to family. She joined the Portland Wellness Care team in 2022 and we are excited to have her knowledge and experience.
Fertility & Acupuncture: Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, acupuncture is believed to help with fertility. It can improve the functioning of the reproductive system by regulating hormones, improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, and reducing stress and anxiety.
The optimal time to start receiving acupuncture for fertility depends on several factors, including the underlying cause of infertility, the individual’s medical history, and the type of fertility treatment being pursued. It can take many months of trying before there is success, fertility “issues” aren’t considered until after 1 year of trying to conceive without success; however, there is no harm in starting to receive acupuncture the moment you decide you want to conceive.
In general, it is recommended to start receiving acupuncture 3 to 6 months before undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), to help prepare the body for conception and improve the chances of success. However, some individuals may benefit from starting acupuncture earlier, especially if they have been trying to conceive for an extended period of time or if they have a specific health condition affecting their fertility.
The timing of acupuncture for fertility may depend on a woman’s menstrual cycle. In general, some acupuncturists recommend starting acupuncture treatment a few weeks before trying to conceive, and continuing treatment throughout the first trimester of pregnancy.
For women who are trying to conceive, acupuncture may be performed around the time of ovulation to help support the implantation of a fertilized egg. During the menstrual cycle, acupuncture can also help to regulate hormones and improve the thickness of the endometrial lining, which is important for a successful pregnancy.
The number of acupuncture sessions needed for fertility can vary depending on several factors, including the underlying cause of infertility, the individual’s medical history, and the type of fertility treatment being pursued.
In general, we recommend receiving acupuncture treatments once or twice a week for several months leading up to assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). The number of sessions may be adjusted based on the individual’s response and progress.
Additionally, we recommend receiving acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer to improve the chances of implantation and increase the likelihood of pregnancy, ideally one session before and one session immediately following the transfer.
The amount by which acupuncture can increase fertility is not well established and can vary greatly among individuals. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture may improve the chances of conception and pregnancy, particularly when used in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
For example, a systematic review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer increased the rate of clinical pregnancy by 65% (Smith et al., 2010). Another study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine found that the combination of acupuncture and IVF increased the live birth rate by 42% compared to IVF alone (Wildschut et al., 2000).
Yes, acupuncture can help regulate the menstrual cycle and bring on ovulation in some cases. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with menstrual irregularities or ovulatory disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
In my experience, yes. One example, I had a patient who was using IVF come to me after a stimulation cycle with only 3 viable embryos and none of them implanted. She then came for acupuncture 2x/wk for 1 month and then they tried another stim cycle, this time she had 8 viable embryos to work with. She had successful implantation of 2 embryos on the first try. These results are not guaranteed, but an example of how fast acupuncture can have an effect on the egg quality.
Acupuncture works by regulating hormones and improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, which can help improve the overall health of the ovaries and enhance the quality of the eggs produced. Additionally, acupuncture can reduce oxidative stress, which can have a positive impact on egg quality.
Yes, acupuncture can have an effect on the endometrial lining, which is the inner layer of the uterus that provides a supportive environment for implantation and early pregnancy.
Acupuncture can help regulate hormones, improve blood flow to the reproductive organs, and reduce oxidative stress, all of which can have a positive impact on the health and thickness of the endometrial lining. Additionally, acupuncture can reduce stress and anxiety, which can have a positive impact on the menstrual cycle and fertility.
Generally after 1 year of trying without success, history of miscarriage, advanced maternal age, trying to get pregnant after prolonged use of hormone birth control, irregular periods.
Acupuncture helps to prepare the body and mind for pregnancy, it can also aid with specific issues like balancing hormone or increasing blood flow to the uterus. Both partners can benefit from receiving acupuncture while trying to conceive.
Depending on the history of the patient, they may start with hormone medication such as clomid or femarra, which can often have side effects that acupuncture can help with.
Next step might be Intracervical insemination (ICI) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). If this is unsuccessful they may choose to move forward with Invitro insemination (IVF) which requires 2 phases. The first phase is the stimulation phase, where they are given fertility drugs like follistim and menopure to stimulate the body to produce many eggs.
Acupuncture can help increase the follicle count, egg quality, and also aid with the side effects of hormone medications. After the retrieval, they see how many of those eggs successfully become embryos and then they usually freeze them until they are ready to for 2nd phase; which is the embryo transfer.
Depending on how many follicles made to the 5th day of embryonic development is the number of chances you have, before another stimulation cycle may be needed. Acupuncture can increase your odds to nearly 40-50% per cycle. Odds of success are dependant on age, egg quality, health history. The odds of success increase slightly with each step they take, ICI to IUI to IVF.
When people are deep into their fertility journey, it can be a very stressful, emotional, and expensive process.
Changes in diet, exercise, mentality, stress levels, vitamin and nutrient supplementation, decreasing alcohol/recreational drugs.
Also, I help couples better understand their physiology and where their fertility window is and how best to take advantage. Sometimes couples just need help “aiming” better.
Some insurances cover fertility and IVF treatments. Most insurances will cover the pain related to fertility treatment (headaches, abdominal pain, and low back pain being most common).
Male infertility: Sperm Count, Morphology & Motility
There is some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may help to increase sperm count in men. A number of studies have investigated the effects of acupuncture on sperm quality, including sperm count, motility, and morphology.
One study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2010 found that acupuncture improved sperm count and motility in a group of infertile men. Another study published in Andrologia in 2013 found that acupuncture improved sperm quality, including sperm count and motility, in a group of men with idiopathic infertility.
Men’s Fertility FAQ’s
Low sperm count (oligospermia) is a common cause of male infertility. The following are some of the factors that can contribute to low sperm count:
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