When couples make the decision to have a family it is normally associated with the expectation that this will be a special time for the couple as they prepare to welcome a healthy baby into their family. When it takes longer than expected to conceive it can become stressful for the couple which adds another layer of complexity to the infertility problem.
Factors affecting fertility
Many things affect fertility including both psychological and physiological factors. Stress and anxiety play a part as do a range of physiological factors affecting both the male and female partners. It definitely takes two to make a baby and the sperm plays just as big a role as the egg and the environment in the uterus.
Western medicine’s response
Advances in IVF have been profound over the last 20 years with current rates of pregnancies per cycle of ivf ranging from 45% to 80% of couples (depending on the age of the woman) achieving a live birth after 2 years and 3 cycles. The medical process is demanding physically and psychologically on the couple, especially the woman. For those who undergo the process and miscarry or fail to conceive it is a stressful time.
However, there is a growing body of evidence that a combination of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine is helping couples to increase their fertility.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture has a long history of helping infertile couples. Research is available which demonstrates that acupuncture can help on both psychological and physiological levels.
Acupuncture stimulates the nerves, which clears the muscles and nerve channels of obstructions. The neurotransmitters then function normally which enables the body to produce and release the correct chemicals or hormones that are needed to promote emotional health and well-being.
The acupuncturist looks for obstructions of the muscles and nerve channels and the needles are placed in the muscle at the depth where the obstruction occurs. This relaxes the muscle enabling several things to happen:
- Stimulation of the nervous system restores the normal transmission of nervous impulses between the brain and the rest of the body
- Improved blood supply to the area brings the body’s naturally produced chemicals and hormones to the area that enables healing to occur
- Impurities can be removed from the area of blockage
- Balance endocrine system
- Improve blood flow in pelvic cavity
- Increase the chance of pregnancy for women undergoing in-vitriol fertilization (IVF).
Because it targets the exact area where the problem exists there is no risk of unwanted side effects with acupuncture. It is based on thousands of years of knowledge, is both herb and drug free and offers patients a viable alternative to Western treatments for depression, anxiety and stress-related conditions.
Acupuncture can help increase fertility in the following ways:
- Increased supply of blood to the uterus and ovaries can assist with healing
- The increased blood supply creates a rich environment for the embryo.
Do you want some more information?
Here are some websites which outline some of the work that IVF practitioners and acupuncturists have undertaken together.
This study outlines how acupuncture can assist with normalising hormone levels. It also improves the lining of the uterus and helps to prevent endometriosis and poly-cystic ovary syndrome (common causes of fertility problems in women). Sluggish or abnormally shaped sperm can benefit from Chinese medicine, too. http://http://www.acupunctureivf.com.au/pages/news_details.php?news_id=14
This study shows that stress management may improve pregnancy rates, minimising the stress of fertility management itself, improving the success rates of IVF procedures, and ultimately, helping to alleviate the emotional burden for women who are facing challenges trying to conceive.
Fertility rates during embryo transfer can be doubled with the use of acupuncture, a new study has found. The latest University of Adelaide trial contributes to a small but growing body of research that suggests acupuncture may help with improving pregnancy outcomes for people undergoing IVF treatment.
For men who have damaged sperm, acupuncture and Herbal medicine combined with lifestyle change can assist to reverse the damage. “Unlike eggs, which are as old as the woman herself, sperm is freshly made every three months,” says Clark. “Because of this, you can often reverse the problem quickly.”
This website has multiple examples of different studies undertaken showing where acupuncture has assisted the ivf process.