Acupuncture treatment for fertility: Is it effective?
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
By: Aram Hong (First-year Eight Branches student)
Are you looking for the right treatment for your infertility? Or for a healthier fertility journey?
The concern about a holistic approach to treating infertility has grown over the past years and about 8-12% of couples in the world are facing problems with infertility. In these modern times, the percentage is getting bigger (Zhu et al. #1). And yes, Acupuncture treatment for infertility can be greatly beneficial.
In general, infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year or longer of unprotected sex (“Infertility | Reproductive Health | CDC”). Possible problems are identified as abnormal sperm, low sperm motility or count in men. In women, it can be polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS), hyperprolactinemia, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalance, poor egg quality, etc.
The view from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of infertility is blockage of Qi, blood flow, vacuity or stagnation of energy. This view is based on the concept of ‘the body is whole’ and by treating these issues, our overall health will be achieved as well as a healthier fertility journey. In addition, there are many types of research done that show the result of acupuncture treatment.
The research from 2018 shows the great result of acupuncture treatment for infertility. The male patient had a small amount of progressively moving sperm cells. The female patient had ovarian endometriotic cysts on both ovaries. After 7 times of acupuncture treatments on both male and female patients, the cysts on the female patient were gone and got pregnant successfully. Results of her blood test also showed a balanced hormone level as well as an increased HCG hormone level.
New York Weill Cornell physician-scientists reported that Acupuncture has numerous potential fertility-boosting benefits as well. Acupuncture treatment can increase blood flow to the uterus as well as endorphin production, lower stress hormones responsible for infertility, impact plasma levels of the fertility hormones, normalize the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, a key process in fertility, affect women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS), a hormonal imbalance. (Robinson)
"Acupuncture, which is nontoxic and relatively affordable, holds much promise as a complementary or alternative fertility treatment," -Dr. Raymond Chang of New York Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“Infertility | Reproductive Health | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm. Accessed 17 October 2022.
Robinson, Kathleen. “Acupuncture has numerous potential fertility-boosting benefits according to New York Weill Cornell physician-scientists | Cornell Chronicle.” Cornell Chronicle, 29 April 2003, https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2003/04/decline-human- fertility-linked-global-warming-columbia-presbyterian-study-shows. Accessed 18 October 2022.
Zhu, Jihe, et al. “Acupuncture Treatment for Fertility.” Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. v.6(9), 2018 Sep 19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC6182526/.