Acupuncture for Fertility Treatment

We’re pleased to announce our inclusion as a provider to help women suffering from pregnancy loss, infant death, and issues around infertility and miscarriage. We are part of the Pregnancy Loss Directory, a group of providers nationwide providing resources for infertility, termination, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and infant death.


IMG_9287Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after having unprotected sex for one year or more. At Roxborough Community Acupuncture we’ve helped many women become pregnant with and without the additional support of medical infertility specialists. In fact, we’ve done the highly successful “German Protocol” (read more about that below) on site at both Main Line Fertility and Abington Reproductive, as well as in our office in Roxborough. We understand what it is like going through the roller coaster of emotions that women (and men) encounter while undergoing IUI and IVF treatments.

Many fertility doctors, OB/GYN’s, and mid-wives refer patients to us who are trying to get pregnant or undergoing IUI and IVF treatments. And for good reason, acupuncture has been shown to significantly increase the chances of success of natural, as well as, medically assisted, fertility attempts.

Here is a testimonial from a few of our patients:

WebMD has this to say about acupuncture and infertility treatment:

“It (acupuncture) can allow you to cross the line from infertile to fertile by helping your body function more efficiently, which in turn allows other, more modern reproductive treatments, like IVF, to also work more efficiently,” says James Dillard, MD, assistant clinical professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and clinical adviser to Columbia’s Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“Indeed, in a study of 160 women, published April 2002 in the reproductive journal Fertility and Sterility, a group of German researchers found that adding acupuncture to the traditional IVF treatment protocols substantially increased pregnancy success.”

The Web MD article is referring to the study commonly known as “The German Protocol”, in which two different sets of acupuncture points are used before and after an IVF transfer.  Read more about the German Protocol here on Pub Med.  The bottom line is that Acupuncture before and after an IFV transfer has been shown to nearly double the chance of a successful conception.

The Male Factor

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, “In approximately 40% of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole or a contributing cause of infertility.”  Although men often are reluctant to seek help, acupuncture can be used to help with issues such as low sperm count, sperm motility, and poor quality sperm, as well as anxiety, stress, low energy, and even issues like low sex drive and erectile difficulties.

If you are struggling to conceive on your own, or if you are currently seeking help from a fertility specialist, adding acupuncture treatment into the equation can help you feel much more relaxed, help create the right conditions for conception to occur, and significantly improve the chances of successful IVF/IUI treatment.

We welcome you to call and set up an appointment to come in and start the process or ask us your questions.  We’re here to help.  And we do it affordably!

FAQ’s

Can Acupuncture Be Used To Treat Infertility?

Absolutely!  Modern Western medical studies have been done to show the positive effects that acupuncture can have on the treatment of infertility.  And, Chinese medicine has thousands of years of experience in this realm.

When Should Acupuncture Treatment Begin?

Acupuncture treatment can be started at any time during the process, but ideally would be started a few months prior to trying to conceive either naturally or with medical assistance.  The reason for this is that acupuncture can help correct imbalances and lower stress levels that may prevent a successful attempt at conception.  This helps quicken the time frame, may help avoid the need for more expensive and invasive procedures, and can dramatically ease the stress and anxiety of months of unsuccessful pregnancy attempts.

Patients can also benefit, from receiving treatment during the first and third trimester for support around the baby’s development in the womb, during the first trimester for issues like morning sickness, nausea, back pain, etc.  And again at the end of the pregnancy, many women find acupuncture helpful to turn a breech baby, help start labor, calm Braxton-Hicks contractions, and deal with swelling in the hands and feet.

Infertility And Acupuncture: When Should I Stop?

Many patients choose to stop treatments once they become pregnant, while others, especially those with a history of miscarriage and associated anxiety chose to continue treatment throughout the pregnancy.  There are many benefits to continuing treatment because acupuncture can help reduce stress and anxiety and promote well-being throughout the pregnancy.

Are The Acupuncture Points Different After An Insemination, IVF,  or Donor-Egg Transfer Than Before?

Yes, we use these points from the German Protocol as follows:
Pre-transfer–PC6, SP8, LR 3, Du 20, ST29 ear–shen men, uterus, endocrine, brain
Post transfer–ST36, SP6, SP10, LI4, ear–shen men, uterus, endocrine, brain

The study describes the actions of the Spleen (SP) and Stomach (ST) points as creating “better blood perfusion and more energy to the uterus”, which means increased blood flow to the uterus.

LI4 is useful in “inhibiting the uterus motility” which helps relaxes a uterus that may be in spasm after transfer procedure.

At RCA, we offer a Three Month Program for fertility patients where they are treated constitutionally for 3 months prior to their embryo transfer.  We then suggest they get these 2 treatments done on the day of their embryo transfer.   We, of course, will work with any patient who seeks help, but we highly recommend beginning 3 months before attempting IUI or IVF treatments.

Are there any risks associated with using acupuncture during pregnancy?

Aside from the usual minimal risks that acupuncture poses (including bruising of the skin and/or slight bleeding, weakness, fainting and rare, mild aggravation of symptoms existing prior to acupuncture treatment) acupuncture is supremely safe.  There is little to no risk of infection when all needles are sterile. RCA uses only one-time use, sterile disposable needles. We do not reuse needles, even at different areas of the body for the same person.   We always avoid the “Forbidden Points” during pregnancy, which are the same points we will use to help stimulate labor if a woman is past her due date.

RESOURCES

Here are some great resources to understand more about the conception process, common issues with fertility and how acupuncture can support getting and staying pregnant:

Cervical Mucus Method for determining ovulatory fertility – http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cervical-mucus-method/basics/definition/prc-20013005

Basal body temperature for natural family planning – http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/basal-body-temperature/basics/definition/prc-20019978

Infertility – an overview – http://www.asrm.org/Booklet_Infertility_An_Overview/

Acupuncture for Infertility – http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/acupuncture.htm

Acupuncture for Infertility – http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/features/ancient-art-of-infertility-treatment

 

Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11937123

 

Male fertility

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13020/6-surprising-things-that-can-wreak-havoc-on-male-fertility-sex-drive.html

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Dave's Hours:
Monday: 10:00-1:00 & 4:00-7:30
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The "S" Bridge over the Schuylkill River at Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA, built in 1884.