As a therapist with expertise in pregnancy, obstetric and fertility care, I recommend Acupuncture and Reflexology as beneficial natural therapies when you’re thinking of starting a family. If you’ve been trying to conceive, these therapies can bring your body into balance and help increase your chances of conceiving naturally.
My treatments help couples focus on their diet, lifestyle and work-life balance, as well as helping to resolve any underlying emotional or physical imbalances that can affect fertility.
Acupuncture can be used as additional support for all stages of IUI, IVF and ICSI treatments. It can also help minimise side effects of medicines, such as nausea.
During acupuncture treatment for fertility, I aim to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Acupuncture gently encourages the balance of hormone levels and improves blood flow to the reproductive organs to stimulate healthy maturation of eggs and sperm.
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests that acupuncture given at the time of embryo transfer may have a positive influence on treatment outcomes. Clinical trials show that acupuncture, when used before and after the embryo transfer, can increase success rates of pregnancies and live births.
If you’re about to start IVF, I generally recommend my clients come to see me 3 to 4 menstrual cycles prior to commencing your IVF programme. However, if that isn’t feasible, acupuncture can still significantly help at any time and I’ll assist you to create fertile ground in order for the IVF/IUI to take place.
After an initial consultation I’ll create an individual treatment plan that best suits your needs. Treatments will generally occur once weekly up until the procedure date.
Numerous research studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating male fertility by improving sperm quality and quantity.
In one study of 40 men with poor sperm count, 28 received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks, while 12 in the control group received no treatment. In the treatment group, there was a statistically significant increase in the percentage and number of sperm, plus improved sperm motility.
In another study, 22 males with idiopathic infertility who had just failed an ICSI cycle were treated with acupuncture twice weekly for 8 weeks, followed by ICSI treatment again. This time, sperm motility was significantly improved after treatment. The normal sperm ratio and embryo quality was better, as were fertilisation rates (66.2% – compared to 40.2% before treatment).
Acupuncture treatment can begin after a man has had a sperm test if he’d like to improve his results. Even men who don’t have low sperm count or motility can optimise their health and wellbeing with acupuncture to ensure they are at their best when beginning their new family.
It takes 60 to 90 days to develop mature sperm, so treatment is usually undertaken over a 3 to 6 month period for the best results when you are trying naturally; or started before you begin an ICSI, IUI or IVF cycle.
In Assisted cycles it can be beneficial to have acupuncture on the day of, or the day before sperm collection.
Whether there is a suspected male factor in conception difficulties or not, acupuncture can help men relax and de-stress to help them ease into beginning or expanding a family. If there are concerns following a sperm test, seeing an acupuncture practitioner may help identify any adverse dietary and lifestyle habits that may be causing issues.
For information regarding acupuncture’s efficacy, please see the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) research page.