Integrating for Fertility’s Sake

Must read

Atlanta – The benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine in treatment for an infertile couple can be found in early Chinese medical literature dating back to 11 A.D. Not only do these techniques assist in regulating the menstrual cycle and invigorating the sperm, but they also serve to enhance the function of the whole body.


The Integrative Medicine Consult  published an article on infertility titled “Acupuncture May Improve Success Rate with IVF.”  The article revealed that during their controlled study using acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer, “42.5 percent (34/80) of the acupuncture group experienced clinical pregnancy, whereas just 26.3 percent (21/80) of the control group had a positive outcome.”  It is believed that acupuncture may help to not only relax the patients but may also relax the uterus allowing for fewer uterine contractions at the time of transfer, thus improving implantation outcomes.

Today, more and more doctors are readily recommending acupuncture to be combined with Western medicine because first, they feel it can do no harm and second, some believe it may help implantation by increasing blood flow to the uterus.

According to a study conducted at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, acupuncture worked as well as the drug Clomiphene in inducing pregnancy. Studies have also proven that in vitro fertilization procedures are more successful in patients who get acupuncture treatment.

Chinese medicine is a holistic medicine and it recognizes the connection between mind and body. Chinese medicine explains that there are seven emotions which can cause disease.

For example, stress, resentment and anger can damage the qi (energy) of the liver. This can affect the blood and the reproductive system causing fertility problems. Acupuncture can restore the smooth flow of the liver energy by relaxing the mind and body. Once the body and soul are in harmony, pregnancy has a better chance to occur.

Strengthening a woman’s constitution is another way to treat infertility. Certain herbal formulas are well known to build both qi and blood, thereby strengthening the body and preparing it for conception. This is especially useful in women who have habitual miscarriages.

According to ancient Chinese texts, the herbs help the fetus “stick” better to the uterine walls and prevent it from slipping.

For instance, in the Zhejiang Journal of Chinese Medicine (2007;7:405), Shi Jian-Jun, et al., published an article titled “Clinical Observations on A Four-Step Method for Regulating Menstruation on Improving the Adverse Effects After Clomiphene Induction of Ovulation.”

Proper dietary and exercise habits are also very important for the preconceptive mother and father. Eating foods that are cold in nature (such as salads, raw fruits and vegetables, ice cream, etc.) can impede the implantation of sperm in the uterus. The uterus is like the Earth; for a seed to grow, the earth should be warm and fertile.

Just like nothing grows on the ground during winter, so also if the uterus is cold, the seed cannot be implanted. Eating warm foods, such as lamb, may help people who have a low basal body temperature.

Acupuncture has numerous potential fertility-boosting benefits, according to New York Weill Cornell physician- scientists who published an article in a recent issue of “Fertility and Sterility.”

The article reports that acupuncture treatment has the following potential fertility-boosting benefits:

• Increased blood flow to the uterus and therefore uterine wall thickness, an important marker for fertility

• Increased endorphin production, which, in turn, has been shown to effect the release of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)

• Lower stress hormones responsible for infertility

• Impact on plasma levels of the fertility hormones: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), and Progesterone (P)

• Normalization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, a key process in fertility

• A positive effect for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal imbalance present in three percent of adolescents and adults.

Chinese medicine has the tools to diagnose constitutional deficiencies and treat them successfully. A proper combination of acupuncture, herbs and/or diet is the main mode of treatment that will provide good preparation for the woman prior to getting pregnant. This will ensure the woman a safe and a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby and a quick recovery.

The facts are here and so is the buzz.

Several acupuncturists today work with Reproductive and Infertility Specialists so that couples can have the benefits of modern medicine and ancient medicine together at the same place.

Leena Sikand Cook
+ posts

Leena Cook, L.Ac.,  is a licensed Acupuncturist and Certified Herbalist in NC and GA.  She taught at Acupuncture Schools for over 10 years and is a published author.

More articles

Latest article