An Acupuncturist’s Tips for Getting Pregnant


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 & IVFAcupuncture & 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.

acupuncture infertility

“An Acupuncturist’s Tips for Getting Pregnant” image by the0ne25 via Pixabay, CC license

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?



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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!


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11 thoughts on “An Acupuncturist’s Tips for Getting Pregnant

  • Laurie Post author

    According to research from the University of Maryland Medical Center, acupuncture as a complementary therapy for in vitro fertilization may be beneficial, depending on baseline pregnancy rates of a fertility clinic.

    “Our systematic review of current acupuncture/IVF research found that for IVF clinics with baseline pregnancy rates higher than average (32 percent or greater) adding acupuncture had no benefit,” says Eric Manheimer, lead author and research associate at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. “However, at IVF clinics with baseline pregnancy rates lower than average (less than 32 percent) adding acupuncture seemed to increase IVF pregnancy success rates. We saw a direct association between the baseline pregnancy success rate and the effects of adding acupuncture: the lower the baseline pregnancy rate at the clinic, the more adjuvant acupuncture seemed to increase the pregnancy rate.”

    The researchers say that more study is needed to examine if acupuncture might be a useful add-on procedure in IVF clinics with lower baseline rates, including considerations of safety and cost-effectiveness. Although acupuncture is a safe procedure, research has not determined whether any benefits on IVF success rates resulting from adding acupuncture are worth the extra costs involved with administering acupuncture.

    The whole research summary is called “Mixed results for acupuncture to improve in vitro fertilization rates “, and can be found at http://somvweb.som.umaryland.edu/absolutenm/templates/?a=2386&z=41

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Frustrated,

    Maybe I should write an article about acupuncture not being successful in improving male or female infertility! It didn’t work for us either.

    I think the success of acupuncture really depends on the cause of the infertility. For instance, it may not help with serious fallopian tube damage due to endometriosis…but it could help with stress and FSH levels (like with your wife!).

    How do you know when it’s time to give up on a particular fertility treatment? That, too, might make a helpful article…I don’t know the longest someone has gone before they either got pregnant or gave up….if someone else does, I welcome the information! That’s a good question.

    Laurie

  • Frustrated

    I wish I had a success story in regards to Acupuncture and TCM, but I don’t. It hasn’t helped us and we’ve tried for over six months (we went for three months before that with a different practitioner). It’s expensive and, of course, there are no guarantees. It’s still cheaper than IVF or IUI or any of the Western approaches. My skeptical nature has a hard time with it, too, which I’m sure doesn’t help. It did lower my wife’s FSH level dramatically, but she is older and so far nothing else has changed. My wife believes in it and wants to continue treatments. I am having a hard time justifying the cost at this point and since we are single-income family, I’m not sure how much longer I can do it. Anyone know the longest someone has gone before they either got pregant or gave up. You don’t hear much about the people who gave up with TCM. I tend to only find success stories.

  • arthritisguy

    Acupuncture is really a good alternative medicine technique for common ailments such as allergies, minor headaches and pains. I have been practicing acupuncture for 4 years now.

  • Apple

    Acupuncture definitely is helping my husband infertility! He had 1 million sperm count, 5%morphology,30%motility to start with. After 3 months of acupuncture and drinking Chinese herbal tea twice daily, his semen test has jumped to 10.5 million,10%morphology and 43%motility. He is still doing acupuncture and the tea to achieve 20 million plus. We will see when he does the test again next month.

  • Laurie PK

    Thanks for this, Iris. I’m not sure if “most” physicians prescribe acupuncture to couples having problems with infertility. None of my fertility doctors have!

  • Laurie PK

    I’m sorry the acupuncture didn’t work for your infertility issues…how disappointing.

    Thanks for sharing here – it’s good to hear how and if acupuncture helps! And you’re right: often taking control and trying SOMETHING helps people coping with infertility.

  • Bruce

    I tried accupunture and traditional Chinese herbs after I was diagnosed as infertile (azoospermia). I did this for six months. The accupunture felt good, very relaxing, and I thought I could feel the effects in my groin. It was a positive experience because throughout the six months and the following two and a half months before retesting I had hope and felt optimistic. Unfortunatly, there was no change in my condition. That was crushing but at least I tried something and took a bit of control from a otherwise beyond control situation.

  • Laurie PK

    Nancy just emailed me, and said something I think it’s really important to remember:

    “There’s lots of stuff on fertility on the internet….some good advice, some not so much,” she said.

    When you’re researching male or infertility on the internet, make sure you’re reading good advice. How do you know? I’m going to investigate that now, and write a post about it…if you have any suggestions for recognizing bad versus good fertility information, please share it here!