Fertility Treatment with Acupuncture

What does sticking a bunch of needles in my body have to do with getting pregnant?

As it turns out, plenty. Though there isn’t much research to support acupuncture as a cure-all for what ails us, studies have shown its effectiveness in treating certain types of infertility.

Acupuncture and Fertility

So what do needles and energy lines and Chinese medicine have to do with fertility?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, careful acupuncture treatments can improve blood flow and improve ovarian and follicular function. Improved blood flow means better circulation for the ovaries and uterus, making them stronger and healthier. This improves the chances that the uterine lining will support the egg to full-term.

It’s also possible that the general effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry can contribute to better fertility. A review of the research on WebMD describes the link between brain hormones and conception:

  • Acupuncture increases the production of endorphins, a chemical tied to menstrual regulation.
  • Acupuncture can improve hormone production by stimulating the areas of the brain tied to our hypothalamus and pituitary gland (two of our biggest hormone producing organs). These hormones can improve egg production and affect ovulation.

Should I Try Acupuncture?

With these benefits in mind, we’re brought to our final question: is acupuncture right for you?

The answer, as always, depends—though there is plenty of research to support acupuncture’s effectiveness at improving blood flow and regulating hormones, it’s not a panacea for all infertile women. Research generally indicates that acupuncture improves fertility in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproduction therapies rather than for women who go it alone. The benefits are limited mostly to the secondary effects of acupuncture on the reproductive system. Hence, it’s hard to argue that acupuncture therapies can’t at the very least support a more comprehensive fertility treatment plan.