This ‘Question and Answer’ with an acupuncturist describes how acupuncture for fertility helps men produce sperm and women get pregnant. Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for male and female infertility — and it affects men and women differently.
Acupuncture & IVF: Increase IVF Success by 40-60% is a fantastic resource that will give you more insight into acupuncture and infertility. This is just a brief interview with an acupuncturist, but we don’t go into too much depth here. But, you’ll learn enough to know that acupuncture can positively affect your chances of getting pregnant with in vitro fertilization…
“In the past year, two of my clients using in vitro fertilization and acupuncture have become pregnant,” says acupuncturist Nancy Winlove-Smith. “Both women had been trying to get pregnant for several years, and succeeded when they decided to incorporate acupuncture and dietary changes into their fertility treatment plan.”
And, here’s my “Q and A” with Winlove-Smith about how acupuncture affects male and female infertility. If you’re thinking about acupuncture because you don’t want to take more fertility meds, read 13 Tips for Getting Pregnant Without Taking Fertility Drugs.
An Acupuncturist’s Tips for Getting Pregnant
Nancy Winlove-Smith is a Certified Contemporary Medical Acupuncturist, a Professional Member of the Ontario Herbalist Association, and an Integrative Health Consultant.
What’s the connection between acupuncture and female infertility? That is, what effect do those needles have?
The insertion of needles for women are specific to the reproductive organ sites. The needle’s function is to increase blood flow by bathing the area in additional nutrients and hormones found in the blood stream. The result can be measured by the increase in follicle and egg production which has been confirmed by a number of my clients. Some women have anatomical differences that can interfere with optimal blood flow when positioned near or touching other internal structures found in the pelvic region. Diet also plays a crucial role: if the blood supply does not contain quality nutrients, the eggs produced may not be of good quality. Acupuncture is only one part of the process to a successful conception, and my clients always receive dietary recommendations.
Does acupuncture work for male infertility?
Acupuncture is effective for men too, but studies on Vitamin E have shown similar results. The majority of men prefer to take a supplement, as opposed acupuncture. My experience is that women do have success with acupuncture for fertility and pregnancy, but there are too few studies or accounts from men to say for certain that acupuncture is more successful than other treatments for male infertility.
Does acupuncture affect men and women differently?
Yes, because women have distinct anatomical structures in the pelvic region; which can be stimulated through the skin above the pelvic area. Men’s reproductive organs are contained, for the most part, outside of the body so you don’t needle directly into those areas. Male reproductive systems are interconnected to the urinary system and needle insertion in the pelvic area is bringing blood supply that is being directed to both the urinary and reproductive organs. The obvious anatomical differences between men and women result in limitations when treating men as opposed to women.
Again, diet places a key role in men and women! It’s like being a great chef….if you are forced to use spoiled ingredients, the food still won’t cook properly no matter how good you are.
Does attitude affect the ability to get pregnant after infertility?
Attitude is VERY important. If you’re stressed about the procedure or have a fear of needles, your body will produce chemicals that will inhibit the relaxation response. Your blood vessels won’t relax enough to become dilated and allow increased blood flow. Without that extra blood flow…results are unlikely. I always screen my clients to make sure they respond positively to acupuncture; if they do not, I recommend they do not invest any money into the procedure. I have advised potential clients that acupuncture is not a suitable option.
Are there negative effects of acupuncture?
Slight bruising could be a negative effect, but this is not usually a major concern as long as there are no other medical conditions present. Every person considering acupuncture should consult their physician first to make sure they do not have any health condition that may be complicated by acupuncture, such as diabetes, uncontrolled thyroid conditions, bleeding disorders, or hepatitis. Negative effects can occur if you have certain medical conditions that you have not followed up on or have not disclosed to your acupuncturist.
What would surprise people to lean about acupuncture and fertility, or acupuncture in general?
Many people don’t know that one third of the population does not respond to acupuncture. A well trained acupuncturist should be able to recognize within a couple of treatments whether they need to reassess. In that case, they should advise you that acupuncture may not be your best option.
To learn more about acupuncture and pregnancy – including recent research on acupuncture for fertility – read Acupuncture for Fertility and Your Chances of Pregnancy.
If you have any thoughts on acupuncture for infertility, please comment below. I can’t offer medical advice, but you’re welcome to share your thoughts!