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Acupuncture to Enhance Fertility

a guest blog by Marcy Lerner at, July 31, 2012

You may have tried many different things to enhance your fertility, including IVF. But have you considered acupuncture? Acupuncture can both boost fertility and help maintain healthy pregnancies.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in China, where it has been practiced for over 3,000 years. It involves the insertion of needles into specific points on the body by a trained and qualified acupuncturist. The needles target energy meridians that, according to traditional Chinese medicine, run throughout the body. By placing needles in specific spots on the body, this energy, called qi, is released, promoting better health.

Western scientists aren’t exactly sure how acupuncture works. The current theory is that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and the production of endorphins, hormones that relieve stress and promote healing.

Does Acupuncture Enhance Fertility?

Studies show that acupuncture during IVF can increase your chances of conception. For example, a study released by the British Medical Journal found that acupuncture could improve the odds of pregnancy for women undergoing IVF by 65 percent. After breaking down the stats, researchers found that there would be one additional pregnancy among every 10 women having acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture can be useful even if you’re not undergoing IVF.

According to acupuncturist Vanessa McKay, “The process of becoming pregnant can be very stressful. Acupuncture reduces stress, releases endorphins and balances hormones. If you have an irregular cycle, acupuncture treatments can balance and regulate your cycle, making it easier to conceive.

Amy Moll, an acupuncturist in Bend, Oregon, adds, “Acupuncture can help to stimulate ovulation and improve blood flow to encourage the growth of a thick uterine lining, important for implantation of the embryo.” Read more expert answers about acupuncture treatment for fertility.

Acupuncture can be done at the same time as other medical treatment, though you should inform your doctor that you are receiving acupuncture.

Does It Hurt?

You may not have tried acupuncture because you want to keep your exposure to needles to a minimum. But acupuncture isn’t painful — the needles are so skinny you most likely won’t even feel them.

How Long Do I Do It For?

Ideally, you should start your acupuncture sessions three months before beginning an IVF cycle or trying to conceive, although acupuncture can be helpful at any point during the process. When you do conceive, most acupuncturists recommend continuing acupuncture treatment through the third month of pregnancy to reduce the chance of miscarriage.

How Much Does It Cost?

The initial acupuncture consultation typically costs between $100 and $300, with subsequent sessions priced at $75 to $150. Some insurance plans cover the use of acupuncture for treating infertility.

Are There Any Side Effects?

When performed by a licensed acupuncturist, acupuncture is very safe, both for women trying to conceive and pregnant women. Professional acupuncturists use single-use sterile needles, so the risk of infection is minimal. On very rare occasions, you may experience soreness, bruising or bleeding at needling sites. Talk to your acupuncturist if you are taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.

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Comments (1)

I have used acupuncture in my comprehensive Fertility in Bloom Program to help many women that were feeling quite hopeless about their fertility situation. Negative side effects are minimal, and my patients also gain a lot of knowledge about good self care in the process.

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