Icono localizacion simbolo acupunturaMany of my patients have tried acupuncture as part of their fertility treatment. Some of them ask if it will help them get pregnant. I always tell them there is no scientific evidence that convinces me it can. However, I also don’t think it can hurt.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment that proponents say helps the flow of energy in a woman’s body to facilitate a more fertile and healthy reproductive system. Inserting needles at various points in the woman’s body, called the pathways, the acupuncturist is directing the flow of qi (pronounced like “chi”).

The needles don’t hurt. Many participants say it has a calming effect, restoring their sense of well-being. Acupuncturists say this is because the needles help remove energy where there is too much to areas where there isn’t enough. It is with this redistribution of qi that acupuncture is said to increase fertility, for both men and women.

A German study in 2002 showed a small increase in the pregnancy rates of women who had acupuncture versus the ones who didn’t. Their scientific explanation for the results was that the blood flow increased to the uterus, and that helped the embryos implant. The sample was of 120 women, however, and another study has not confirmed these results at this time.

Other studies have indicated that acupuncture is helpful in treating male infertility, by improving the swimming ability and the overall count of a man’s sample. The improvement, however, was not enough in the men’s samples to get them over the threshold we fertility experts are looking for to achieve conception successfully.

Acupuncture reduces stress. Stress management is an important part of fertility treatment. While I am not convinced that stress affects the results of your scientific treatment, I am convinced it makes the treatment cycle less pleasant for the couple. For this reason, I always want my patients to find something that makes them feel less stressed while they are in fertility treatment.

For many patients, acupuncture can do that. Some scientific research also shows that it can reduce stress levels in the participants. The study out of Cornell University, also in 2002, reported a definite link between acupuncture and the brain’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones, a definite plus when you are trying to relieve stress.

There is not enough scientific evidence to say that acupuncture can help you get pregnant. However, it can help relieve stress while you are in fertility treatment. If it helps my patients feel better while they are trying to build the family they always dreamed of, then I see no reason why they shouldn’t have the treatment. It certainly isn’t going to hurt their chances.

Sources:

Kim, MD, Dr. Helen. “Can Acupuncture Boost My Fertility?” www.babycenter.com. Web. 5 March 2015.

Bouchez, Collette. “The Ancient Art of Fertility Treatment.” www.webmd.com. 6 March 2015.