Acupuncture and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
” … most of the existing studies suggest a positive effect of acupuncture in infertility treatment. Firstly, acupuncture may improve ovulation by modulating the central and peripheral nervous systems, the neuroendocrine and endocrine systems, the ovarian blood flow, and metabolism. Secondly, acupuncture can improve the outcome of IVF-ET, and the mechanisms may be related to the increased uterine blood flow, inhibited uterine motility, and the anesis of depression, anxiety and stress. Its effect on modulating immune function also suggests helpfulness in improving the outcome of IVF-ET. Finally, the studies suggest that acupuncture plays a positive role in male infertility, the mechanism of which is not yet clear.” – Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, May 2011
Acupuncture is used to improve fertility and raise the probability of IVF and IUI success in several ways:
- Improve the uterine lining thickness. A major cause of infertility and IVF failure is a thin uterine lining, or inadequate blood flow to the uterus. Clinical experience scientific research demonstrates stimulates blood flow to reproductive organs and in numerous cases increases thickness of the uterine lining.
- Improve the quality of eggs and increase the number of follicles. The most important factor in IVF success is obtaining adequate high-quality eggs.
- Increase the likelihood of implantation. A study done in Germany found that women undergoing IVF became pregnant at a rate of 26%. When acupuncture was done before and after the transfer procedure, the success rate climbed to 43% – a 60% improvement in outcome.
- Improve quality of sperm. Several studies show that acupuncture improves sperm count, sperm motility, and the percentage of normal sperm.
- Stress reduction. Acupuncture relieves stress during the IVF process and achieves relaxation. This makes the process easier and increases the probability of success.
- Relieve side effects. The drugs used during IVF and IUI often produce side effects. Acupuncture may reduce or eliminate those side effects.