Acupuncture Vs Infertility
Acupuncture has shown promising results in studies of both men and women who suffer from infertility. While further research must be performed to conclude the effectiveness of acupuncture in conceiving, it is an treatment option that couples can explore to boost their fertility.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that is performed by placing thin needles in strategic points of the body. Usually, five to 20 needles are placed into the skin at different points of the body. The purpose is to balance the flow of energy or life force, also referred to as qi or chi, that flows through pathways in the body. Some physicians believe that acupuncture stimulates nerves and connective tissues in the body. While some individuals may feel energized after treatment, others feel more relaxed. Women who suffer from infertility usually undergo acupuncture treatment for three to four months prior to IVF.
Studies in Women
A study conducted in 2002 by German researchers concluded that acupuncture is an effective way to improve the chances of a woman conceiving after IVF (in vitro fertilization). A total of 160 women were involved in the study. Half of the women received acupuncture treatments 25 minutes before and after an embryo transfer. Out of the 80 women who received acupuncture, 34 became pregnant, while only 21 in the control group conceived. Conclusions from the study noted that 42.5% of women became pregnant with acupuncture treatments, while only 26.3% of women in the control group became pregnant.
Studies in Men
In the July 2005 issue of Fertility and Sterility, a study was published that showed a marked improvement in the quality of a man’s sperm when he received acupuncture treatments. Twenty-eight men were given acupuncture treatments for five weeks, while 12 received no treatment. Conclusions from the study noted that the sperm of the men who received acupuncture treatments showed fewer structural defects in the sperm and an overall increase in the number of normal sperm in a man’s ejaculate.
Acupuncture can create increased blood flow to the uterus, which may create a thicker lining of the endometrium. It may also relax the muscles in a woman’s body, which may increase the odds of an embryo being able to implant into the uterus. While acupuncture may not effectively help all men or women with infertility, it does not appear to cause any harm. Even if it does not improve an individual’s fertility, it can help decrease stress and anxiety, which will help improve the individual’s overall state of mind.