ACUPUNCTURE & CHINESE MEDICINE FOR FERTILITY ANTIGONISH & NEW GLASGOW
In a study of in vitro fertilization, the research team compared patients who received various Chinese herbs (in certain combinations) to those without. They found that Chinese herbs helped increase the success rate of fertilization by thickening the endometrium and improving the fertility and embryo qualities (7).
Most couples will conceive a child within one year, especially within the first months of trying. A couple is considered to have infertility problems when they are not able to achieve pregnancy after one year of attempting to conceive. It does not mean that they will never get pregnant in the future.
Female infertility may be caused by period abnormalities, advancing age, a history of sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
The most important cause of male infertility is low sperm production. If a male partner used to have an infertility problem with the previous partner, a semen analysis should be performed to identify the causes.
Around the world, about 15% of couples were found to be infertile. Of these, male infertility accounted for nearly 30% of the cases (1).
Problems with conceiving can create stress for the couple and can strain the relationship. Each month can lead to increased emotion s such as anxiety, frustration and anger. Seeking support through this process is important.
How is infertility diagnosed?
To diagnose infertility problems, a doctor may do a history taking and examine both partners. A thorough history taking usually includes these issues: how long you try to have a pregnancy, how often you have sex with your partner, any pain during intercourse, history of previous pregnancies, history of sexually transmitted diseases and so on. Then a vaginal ultrasound would be done to detect uterine, ovary and tube structural abnormalities. Also, the function of ovaries would be evaluated by this imaging.
Hormone levels in the blood of both partners should be measured for possible hormone imbalances to identify an ovulation problem and abnormal sperm production.
Lastly, a semen analysis is essential to examine male fertility. In this test, a doctor can tell the qualities of semen such as semen volume, sperm moving, sperm count, and its shape.
Current infertility treatment from a modern medical perspective
Treatment depends on the causes.
For women, these include medications to help stimulate the ovaries to release eggs; a tubal surgery if it is damaged or blocked; uterine fibroids removal or laparoscopic surgery if endometriosis is the cause.
For men, a doctor may suggest introducing concentrated semen to a woman. If it does not work, other methods should be performed, namely, “in vitro fertilization” in which fertilized eggs are placed in the uterus; or “intracytoplasmic sperm injection” in which the doctor injects one sperm into one egg. If fertilization is successful, the doctor inserts it into the woman’s uterus.
The Chinese Medicine Approach to Enhancing Fertility
Chinese medicine developed over thousands of years through, observation and trial and error. The aim of Chinese medicine for fertility is to achieve optimal health naturally. This means regulating the menstrual cycle, reducing stress hormones, regulating blood flow and boosting the function of the organ system. Traditionally both partners are treated to boost reproductive health.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture for fertility research
In a meta-analysis, the authors investigated the efficacy of acupuncture in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome undergoing in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. They found that women receiving acupuncture had a 1.33 fold increased the chance of getting pregnant and a 2.03 fold increased the chance of having children compared with those without treated with acupuncture (4). Qian and colleagues also proved that electrical acupuncture increased the rate of getting pregnant in patients who underwent in vitro fertilization (5). Acupuncture also showed some benefits when performed at the follicle phase and implantation phase and at a particular time before and after transferring an embryo during in vitro fertilization (6).
In a study of in vitro fertilization, the research team compared patients who received various Chinese herbal medicines (in certain combinations) to those without. They found that Chinese herbs helped increase the success rate of fertilization by thickening the endometrium and improving the fertility and embryo qualities (7).
It must be noted that although these trials and reviews showed a positive effect, reviews prior showed evidence to be unclear. Even though the research is promising, more positive research is required.
Who Can Have Chinese Medicine for Fertility?
Anyone can make an appointment without a GP referral for acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Many people travel for acupuncture and to pick up herbal medicine.
Can You Have Acupuncture While Undergoing IVF?
Yes acupuncture for IVF support is encouraged. Treatments should be performed at certain times in the process which will all be discussed during your initial appointment.
What Can you Expect in an Acupuncture Session for Fertility?
- As soon as you make an appointment either online or a phone call to reception, you will receive an automated email welcoming you to the practice and giving you links to patient forms to fill out etc.
- When you arrive at the clinic you’ll be welcomed with tea and time to relax before treatment.
- When you come in for your assessment, Paul will go through your health history based on Chinese medicine questions.
- Your wrist pulses will be examined and tongue observed.
- Acupuncture points and possible Chinese herbs will be selected based on the Chinese medicine diagnosis and a treatment plan formed.
- Acupuncture is performed with sterile, single use needles and retained in place for over 30 minutes, allowing you to relax.
- We will discuss the process so that you will feel comfortable to obtain the best outcome.
- After acupuncture we’ll go through the treatment plan so you feel confident in the path forward.
Chinese medicine techniques that may be included in an acupuncture session?
- Chinese herbal medicine
- Heat therapy
- Dietary therapy
Can I claim insurance for an Acupuncture session in Antigonish or New Glasgow?
If you have private health insurance in Antigonish, you may be able to claim your acupuncture session. Check with your health fund provider for more information. Bring your health insurance card along to the session.
How to proceed with acupuncture and Chinese medicine for Fertility
A series of acupuncture / Chinese medicine appointments are encouraged to track and optimize the cycle. Both partners should come in for an initial visit so that a health assessment from a Chinese medicine perspective is performed.
Making a booking for acupuncture for fertility Antigonish & New Glasgow. Go to the online booking page and make an appointment today.Book Online
- Agarwal A, Mulgund A, Hamada A, Chyatte MR. A unique view on male infertility around the globe. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2015;13:37.
- Collins HP KD. The health of Australia’s males. Health Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2011.
- Fertility and infertility . 2011 . Available from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/womens-health-policy-toc~womens-health-policy-experiences~womens-health-policy-experiences-reproductive~womens-health-policy-experiences-reproductive-maternal~womens-health-policy-experiences-reproductive-maternal-fert.
- Jo J, Lee YJ. Effectiveness of acupuncture in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome undergoing in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2017;35(3):162-70.
- Qian Y, Xia XR, Ochin H, Huang C, Gao C, Gao L, et al. Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2017;295(3):543-58.
- Shen C, Wu M, Shu D, Zhao X, Gao Y. The Role of Acupuncture in vitro Fertilization: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2015;79(1):1-12.
- Guo J, Li D, Liu C, Ji X, Li R, Du X. Effects of Chinese herbs combined with in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation on infertility: a clinical randomized controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. 2014;34(3):267-73.