Why use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for issues surrounding fertility? Acupuncture offers a natural approach to treating infertility, with little to no side effects. It is a relaxing, nourishing treatment aimed at helping your body to remedy itself, preparing it for pregnancy. Research shows that by adding acupuncture and herbal medicine one has increased chances of conception, which is important for those about to undergo the expense and physical demands of IVF.

Visit our women’s health section for more information on specific conditions related to fertility.

How It Works

The way acupuncture treatments enhance fertility can be viewed in two ways, according to the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and from a more Western medicine perspective

Understanding TCM

In Chinese medicine in order to conceive a woman must have sufficient ‘blood’ and ‘qi’ and they must be in right relation to one another. In the first half of the menstrual cycle, the body is working on creating a nourishing environment for the ripening egg, this is considered the ‘blood phase’. A woman must have sufficient nutrition and rest in order to create the blood needed. The second half of the cycle is all about movement, this is considered the ‘qi’ stage. The egg must be released and pass along the fallopian tubes, it must be fertilized, and then implant and grow. In this phase we want to make sure that nothing is blocking this movement. By looking at the cycle closely we are able determine the relationship between the qi and blood, and help to balance them and increase chances of conception.

Western Medicine

There has been a lot of research into how acupuncture can improve fertility in both women and men. It is believed that acupuncture can help balance the reproductive hormones and limit the interference from stress hormones, promoting fertility. It has also been shown to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, promoting follicle production and endometrial health. For those undergoing IVF, it can help reduce the unwanted side effects of medications while enhancing the effectiveness of IVF. Male fertility can also be effectively treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine, increasing the sperm counts on all levels. It is well documented that a few well placed needles can have a remarkable effect on reproduction therapies.

Fertility Research

General Infertility

Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture

Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Urban Waldenstrom, Sven A. Andersson and Matts Wikland
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Acupuncture Normalizes Dysfunction of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis
Bo-Ying Chen M.D., Professor of Neurobiology
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Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Experimentally Induced Polycystic Ovaries
Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Thomas Lundeberg, Urban Waldenstrom, Luigi Manni, Luigi Aloe, Stefan Gunnarsson, and Per Olof Janson
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Role of acupucture in the treatment of female infertility
Raymond Chang, M.D., The Institute of East-West Medicine, The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Pak H. Chung, M.D., The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility.
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In Vitro Fertilization

Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy
Wolfgang E. Paulus, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Mingmin Zhang, M.D., Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. Erwin Strehler, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Imam El-Danasouri, Ph.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. and Karl Sterzik, M.D. Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut
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Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial
Lars G. Westergaard, M.D., Ph.D., Qunhui Mao, M.D., Marianne Krogslund, Steen Sandrini, Suzan Lenz, M.D., Ph.D., and Jørgen Grinsted, M.D., Ph.D.
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Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer
Caroline Smith, Ph.D., Meaghan Coyle, B.Hlth.Sc. (Acup.), and Robert J. Norman, M.D.
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Effect of transcutaneous electrical acupuncture point stimulation on endometrial receptivity in women undergoing frozen-thawed embryo transfer: a single-blind prospective randomised controlled trial
Zhenhong Shuai, Fang Lian, Pengfei Li, Wenxiu Yang; Oct 2014
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Male Infertility

A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia.
Fertility and Sterility, Volume 92, Issue 4, October 2009, pp. 1340-1343.
Stefan Dieterle, Chunfang Li, Robert Greb, Felix Bartzsch, Wolfgang Hatzmann, Dongmei Huang. A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia., Fertility and Sterility, Volume 92, Issue 4, October 2009, pp. 1340-1343.
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Conclusion(s): Acupuncture treatment can improve idiopathic male infertility. A general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultrastructural integrity of spermatozoa, was observed after treatment of acupuncture, although specific sperm pathologies that could be particularly sensitive to this therapy were not specified.