Acupuncture, in the last few decades, has become the focus of extensive scientific research and innumerable clinical trials with regards to its effects on improving fertility, both naturally and in conjunction with IVF. The majority of evidence demonstrates that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can significantly improve a couple's chances of conceiving as well as sustaining a healthy viable pregnancy to full term. But the million dollar question is – how?
Traditional explanations refer to acupuncture and Chinese medicine's ability to restore balance and improve vitality in the men and women seeking treatment. They emphasise that TCM is a holistic system of medicine that treats each person individually to address their unique health concerns, and that it is by nurturing their optimal state of health that conception can more easily occur.
As beautifully poetic as this sounds, most Western patients would like their explanation with a bit more 'science'. So, in the rest of this article, I will summarise some of the main areas of research regarding acupuncture and fertility, from a scientific perspective.
One question that is of great concern, especially to women attempting to conceive later in their lives, is what can be done to improve the quality of their eggs. Unfortunately, neither Western medicine or Chinese medicine can do anything to increase the number of eggs in the ovary. However, TCM can influence a range of factors that affect the quality of the eggs that are there, when they are in their final stages of maturation, four months prior to ovulation. The final maturation stage just prior to ovulation is highly critical, as this is when most chromosomal errors occur, during a process called meiosis. Optimising the environment within which egg maturation takes place, with acupuncture as well as with diet and lifestyle changes, leads to higher fertilisation rates, more viable embryos, and a greater chance of successful implantation & healthy pregnancy (1).
Just like every organ, tissue and cell in the body, the ovaries and follicles (which contain the eggs) require a good blood supply containing the right nutrients and the right hormone signals to function optimally. In older ovaries, the blood flow to the follicles is reduced at the later stages of their development, which can compromise their viability. Acupuncture has been shown to promote the growth of new blood vessels in the ovaries, as well as increase the flow of blood, and thus the delivery of optimal nutrition and oxygen to the developing eggs (2, 3). Research has shown that eggs released from follicles with optimal oxygen content and blood supply have greater fertilisation rates and development potential (4).
Acupuncture and Fertility
Acupuncture and Anxiety
Acupuncture and Stress
Acupuncture and Depression
Acupuncture and Immunity
Serving the Blue Mountains - Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Blaxland East, Warimoo, Winmalee, Yellow Rock, Hawkesberry Heights, Valley Heights, Springwood, Faulconbridge, Mount Riverview, Linden, Woodford, Hazelbrook, Lawson, Bullaburra, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba