About 15 percent of couples experience fertility problems. This is defined as not getting pregnant after 12 months of trying, or after six months if the female partner is over 35.
Often, the cause of a couple’s infertility can be identified. Hormonal imbalances that interfere with ovulation and scarring of the fallopian tubes — frequently associated with underlying conditions like endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome — are among the most common causes of female factor infertility. Men, meanwhile, may suffer from hormonal deficiencies, structural anatomical abnormalities, or have chronic medical conditions like diabetes that can influence their sperm count and health.
In many other cases, labeled “idiopathic infertility”, doctors never find out why a couple is having trouble conceiving. If the couple’s older, age is going to be one contributing factor.
Fertility Acupuncture Treatment — What to Expect
A whole host of fertility tests may await you if you and your partner are in this boat. These tests could be followed by an equally intimidating cascade of fertility treatments. This could include medications like Clomid to invasive procedures like in vitro fertilization.
Couples who aren’t ready for all that, or who are already riding the infertility treatment train but also want to boost their odds of having a baby as much as they can in other ways, may explore acupuncture for fertility. How does this work, and what can you expect?
What is fertility acupuncture?
Acupuncture — in which a practitioner uses needles to reach key points to treat patients’ symptoms — has been a mainstay of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. Although it’s not founded on the principles of modern science, there is robust scientific evidence on the effects of acupuncture. Scientific evidence suggests that acupuncture can successfully improve the health and quality of life of people with specific medical conditions. Those include back pain, headaches, osteoarthritis, and chronic pain in general.
Acupuncture is administered by a skilled and licensed doctor of Oriental medicine. The doctor performs the acupuncture with sterile, single-use needles, and it is considered very safe. That means that even if acupuncture doesn’t help you, it is very unlikely to harm you.
“Fertility acupuncture” is obviously meant to increase fertility, and this is achieved in various ways. Research on the efficacy of fertility acupuncture is mostly based on small sample sizes, but there is some evidence that:
- Acupuncture can boost the odds of ovulation in women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
- (Laser) acupuncture may improve the chances that an embryo will successfully implant while a couple is receiving IVF.
- Acupuncture can reduce stress. Stress can have a detrimental impact on your chances of conceiving, as well as on pregnancy outcomes. This is another great reason to explore acupuncture.
- Fertility acupuncture treatment isn’t just for women. Small studies have shown that acupuncture can potentially improve semen quality as well as help men with varicoceles.
What to expect from an acupuncture session
A modern acupuncture clinic is likely to be quite luxurious and provide a relaxing environment. You won’t even always have to travel there separately, as it’s not unusual for fertility clinics to have acupuncturists on their staff. You’re best off arriving in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that are easily removed; many modern clinics will ask you to wear a hospital gown. It’s also best if you have neither a full nor a completely empty stomach.
As with most other medical appointments, your doctor of oriental medicine will start by asking you questions about your health, and there will likely be quite a lot of paperwork to fill out.
After that, you will lie down in the position your acupuncturist recommends, and they will swab the skin over the acupoints where sterile needles will be placed before beginning. Needles will likely remain in place for approximately half an hour, and although you may feel them being placed, this shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Always inform your practitioner if you experience any pain, but this is rare — and most people find acupuncture surprisingly relaxing.
Fertility Acupuncture in Southlake
All in all, your session will likely take at least an hour. You can expect to be advised to have at least one appointment every week, for multiple weeks.
Know that it’s quite common to be extremely relaxed, or even feel a little light-headed, after your appointment. You can ride this out in the waiting room until you are ready to go home, and then put your feet up for the rest of the day.
If you have additional questions, please contact us.
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.