Acupuncture for Infertility

Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected intercourse. There are two types of infertility: primary infertility, which is infertility without any previous pregnancy, and secondary infertility, referring to cases in which there has been a previous pregnancy.


Common Causes of Infertility:

     • Ovulation issues

     • Tubal issues

     • Sperm (amorphic, low count)

     • Idiopathic infertility

     • Age-related factors

Some less common causes include uterine problems, endometriosis, previous tubal ligation, previous vasectomy and drugs.


Preventing Female Infertility

As a general guideline, the following steps can be taken to prevent (some) cases of female infertility:

     • Avoid strenuous exercise

     • Avoid smoking

     • Manage diseases such as diabetes and hypothyroidism

     • Follow proper weight management guidelines

     • Seek early and proper treatment of sexually transmitted diseases

     • Get regular check-ups from your physician

     • Lower caffeine and alcohol intake

     • Manage stress


Western (Allopathic) Treatment of Infertility

Treatment of infertility will depend on the cause. In western medicine, treatment for female infertility may include:

     • Surgery to treat certain problems (e.g., endometriosis)

     • Antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseases

     • Medications to cause ovulation, such as clomiphene, clomid and menotropins (Repronex)

     • Artificial insemination (placing sperm directly into the cervix or uterus)

     • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (placing individual sperm cells directly inside the    woman's eggs)

     • In vitro fertilization (fertilizing the egg outside the womb and then returning it to the  uterus)


The following are some side effects of western medical treatments used to illicit ovulation:

     • Abdominal pressure or fullness

     • Cysts on the ovaries

     • Headaches, hot flashes, mood changes

     • Multiple pregnancies, such as twins, triplets or more

     • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which causes fluid shifts in the body

     • Allergic reactions to antibiotics, including stomach upset and rash

     • Surgery carries a risk of bleeding and infection, as well as allergic reaction to anesthesia and other rare but serious complications


The Treatment of Infertility in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Functional related infertility is often stress-related, and is most common among women who work or live in stressful environments. In Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used to decrease stress in the body by regulating the sympathetic nervous system. The treatment also addresses possible hormonal imbalances and circulatory problems.

If you choose to undergo IVF, be assured that recent studies have concluded that acupuncture performed immediately before and after IVF significantly increases the chances for a viable pregnancy (ongoing studies confirm these findings.) Acupuncture reduces uterine contractions, which may contribute to the failure of IVF treatments, before, during and after IVF. Acupuncture can also increase blood flow to the uterus, which creates a very favorable environment for pregnancy to occur. Minimally, a treatment should be performed 1/2 hour before implantation and 1/2 hour after. In order to achieve maximum benefit, weekly treatments are recommended at least two months prior to the start of IVF.


How Acupuncture can Enhance Fertility?

     • Improves sperm parameters

     • Improves pregnancy rates of natural conception and IVF treatment

     • Regulates menstrual cycles

     • Regulate hormones by reducing stress

     • Reduces miscarriages

     • Lessens uterine contractions after embryo transfer

     • Improves blood flow to ovaries and uterus

     • Improves ovarian function; encourages production of follicles; enhances their quality

     • Improves thickness of uterine wall lining

     • Aids relaxation

     • Lessens side effects of fertility medication

     • Enhances immune system









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