Acupuncture and in particular Chinese Medicine is a proven technique for increasing conception rates. Massachusetts is one of 16 states that require insurance companies to cover ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) which is a cost we all incur. The cost for a single IVF cycle is at minimum $10,000. The goal of ARTs is to have a baby, but ignores the health of the mother and father. A much more cost effective approach that improves the well being of all involved is Chinese Medicine which includes acupuncture, herbal medicine and diet. ART is necessary in cases where conception naturally is not possible. However in the vast majority of cases by utilizing Chinese Medicine alone a couple will conceive a healthy baby – especially for couples with ‘unexplained’ fertility. Most often Chinese Medicine diagnosis will uncover imbalances that are hindering conception. Appropriate treatment with nutrition, acupuncture and herbal medicine will correct imbalances thereby having healthier mother and supporting conception, implantation, carrying pregnancy to term, and a healthier postpartum.
One of the mechanisms whereby acupuncture may help with conception is by reducing stress. There is little doubt that inserting needles into someone causing positive physiological responses that are beyond one just lying on a table listing to relaxing music. Also we’ve heard stories where a couple ‘tried and tried’ to get pregnant, but then gave up or went on vacation and got pregnant. A recent study concluded (full text here) that “Acupuncture may be a useful intervention to assist with the reduction of infertility-related stress.” It certainly depends on each individual. Some people just cannot turn off their minds to calm their nervous system (which is a major cause of ‘unexplained infertility’) enough to let the needles do their job (it is subtle energy). The individuals may benefit from other mind-body awareness exercises such as biofeedback and deep tissue massages or just a vacation with their loved one to a warm and sunny place. But for the majority of fertility patients acupuncture is a wonderful tool to assist the conception process whether they are choosing to use ART or conceive naturally.
Yours In Health,
Licensed Acupuncturist, Licensed Dietitian, Chinese Herbalist