Acupuncture, Fertility and IVF

In my Bristol acupuncture clinic at the moment I’m having a sudden spurt of women and couples coming to see me for fertility related issues, so I thought it would be a good time to share some interesting research on the subject…

…but first a story from my own experience that says it all!

‘Janet’ came to see me with unexplained infertility. She and her partner had been trying for a baby for over 3 years, with no luck, and all tests had come back normal. She wanted to try acupuncture as a last resort, and we agreed on a treatment plan. Only 6 weeks later, she was pregnant, and went on to have a healthy baby boy!

I didn’t hear from her again for 2 years, when she got in touch saying that they’d been trying for a second baby for almost a year, but once again nothing was happening. this time, only one month of treatment was needed for her to fall pregnant again, and her family was completed 9 months later with the arrival of a daughter…

While the results aren’t always that clear cut, it’s a good example of the effectiveness of acupuncture for fertility related issues (and also, see this post for a discussion of male infertility)

Anyway, back to the recent studies…

Acupuncture And IVF – the latest study was a plecebo controlled trial of 84 women who had already had 2 failed IVF attempts. On the third attempt, the success rate was 35.7% for those who had acupuncture, and 7.1% for those who didn’t. For me, this makes acupuncture a no-brainer as IVF is a pretty stressful and involved process (not to mention extremely expensive if you’re paying for it yourself!) so a massive increase in the chance of it working has got to be worth it.

Acupuncture And Ovulation – The drug clomifene (Clomid) is often used to stimulate ovulation, but a recent study showed that acupuncture was far more successful – 76.3% for acupuncture rather than 48.1% for the drug.

Acupuncture And Live Birth Rates – Finally, 2 more studies have showed a significant increase in live birth rates for women having acupuncture alongside IVF.

Using acupuncture for infertility is not a new idea, and it certainly has relevance today with so many couples struggling to conceive naturally. Acupuncture balances the hormonal system, regulates the menstrual cycle and reduces stress, so it’s ideal for all manner of fertility problems.

Of course, using acupuncture alongside IVF treatment definitely IS a new idea, but it makes perfect sense. When used in this way, acupuncture helps to reduce the side-effects of the IVF medication, as well as increases the chances of success.

So, for fertility issues, whether diagnosed or not, and whether choosing to have Western treatment or not, always consider acupuncture – the effects can be considerable!

(For more information about my acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice in Bristol and South Wales, visit this page: Chinese Medicine Consultations)