Acupuncture and Fertility
Here at the Estuary Clinic Topsham, Exeter we specialise in acupuncture for fertility. Experienced acupuncturist Lisa Roberts MBAcC has been helping couples to have a baby for over a decade. With post graduate training in gynaecology and the use of acupuncture Lisa has experience in helping with a wide range of issues from supporting fertility treatment and IVF cycles to help with unexplained infertility, miscarriage, male fertility, irregular cycles, PCOS and endometriosis.
Member of the British Acupuncture Council
BSc Hons BA Hons MBAcC SYRT
ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE treatment
Chinese Medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat menstrual cycles and is a popular treatment choice for fertility (Smith 2010*). Whether you are with the fertility clinic and about to begin clomid, IUI or IVF or whether you have acupuncture alone to enhance fertility, treatment is planned according to your individual case.
Treatment is also very holistic and will consider your general health, stress levels, sleep, diet and lifestyle, thus a significant part of treatment is to get you feeling healthy, relaxed and with good energy.
What does treatment involve? How much treatment will i need?
The acupuncture points that we use to help with fertility in Chinese Medicine are located all over the body, common points are located on the lower leg and abdomen.
Treatment frequency is very much dependent on each individual case. Once i have met with you and discussed your case i will be able to give you an idea of the best treatment strategy for you. Often I treatment women over a few menstrual cycles. Treatment is planned and timed around both your cycle and any medications that you may be taking.
I offer a FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION to meet with you (and your partner) to discuss things in more detail before deciding if acupuncture is the most suitable treatment option for you. I often work closely with our medical herbalist and nutritionalist and will refer if necessary.
I hope you have found this helpful, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions - 01392 875 770 or email [email protected].
What evidence is there?
How does acupuncture affect fertility?
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of fine needles at precise locations on the body. Current research show that acupuncture can affect most of the body systems - the nervous system, muscle tone, hormone production, circulation as well as the reproductive systems. As a result of research and greater understanding of how acupuncture does affect our health, three main mechanisms have been put forward as to how acupuncture benefits fertility:
- Mediates the release of neurotransmitters that affect the hypothalamus, and hence the pituitary, gonadotropin RF, the reproductive organs and hormones, and hence menstruation, ovulation and fertility.
- Stimulates blood flow to the uterus by inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system, leading to improved embryo implantation
- Stimulates endogenous opioids, hence inhibiting CNS outflow and stress hormone levels. [Anderson and Rosenthal 2014; Cochrane et al 2014*].
IVF and Acupuncture: study published in British Medical Journal
'The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) welcomes the preliminary results of a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 trials, involving 1,336 women undergoing IVF. This study suggests that when acupuncture is given in conjunction with embryo transfer, it increases the chance of women becoming pregnant by 65%, in comparison to sham acupuncture or no additional treatment'
'It confirms what many of our practitioners and their patients have found, namely that acupuncture can be helpful in this area.'
'At the BAcC, we recognise that our practitioners are treating more and more women for a wide range of fertility issues, including menstrual irregularities and the inability to conceive, and our research committee has a comprehensive research study under way, analysing members' treatment of fertility related conditions.'
OTHER EVIDENCE THAt Demonstrates how acupuncture may be BEneficial for fertility
Most research focuses on IVF and clinical trials to date suggest that acupuncture may be useful in the embryo transfer stage of IVF, resulting in increased pregnancy rates and a greater number of lives births (Cheong 2008, Manheimer 2008, Kong 2009, Chen 2009, Smith 2006, Westergaard 2006*). There have been exceptions where only a reduction in anxiety was reported (Domar 2009*).
Evidence shows that acupuncture may help with fertility by:
- regulating fertility hormones (Anderson 2007*)
- increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs (Ho 2009, Anderson 2007*)
- increasing egg production (Jin 2009*) and improving oocyte quality (Chen 2009*)
- enhancing luteal function (Huang 2009*)
- normalising coritsol and prolactin levels on IVF medications days (Magarelli 2008*)
- reducing stress (Anderson 2007*)
- promoting embryo implantation (Liu 2008*)
*Please visit the British Acupuncture Council website for further information on how acupuncture can help and references www.acupuncture.org.uk.