Infertility and TCM
(Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Acupuncture increases chances of success in IVF by 65%
Women undergoing IVF were 65 percent more likely to become
pregnant when they combined the procedure with acupuncture, a recent study has shown.
The remarkable success
rate occurred across seven acupuncture trials involving 1,366 women in a systematic review and meta-analysis published in
a February, 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal.
Acupuncture was delivered
either just before or just after embryo transfer – the moment when the embryo fertilized in the laboratory must attach
itself to the wall of the womb to establish a pregnancy.
The research was carried out by scientists from the University
of Maryland in America and the VU University Amsterdam in Holland. Researchers claim that because acupuncture costs only about
$75 per session compared to $6000 to $10,000 per cycle for IVF, it would be a cost effective, safe and efficient way of boosting
success rates in fertility treatment.
It is thought that acupuncture stimulates the neurotransmitters that trigger
the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, which controls the menstrual cycle and a woman's ovulation.
is also thought to stimulate blood flow to the uterus and boost the production of endogenous opioids, inducing the body to
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects 6.1 million American
women and their partners or about 10 percent of the reproductive age population. Approximately one-third of infertility cases
can be attributed to male factors, and about one-third to factors related to the female partner. For the remaining one-third
of infertile couples, infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners, or in about 20 percent of cases,
The most common reasons for male infertility include azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced) and
oligospermia (few sperm cells are produced). In some instances, sperm cells are malformed or they die before they can reach
the egg. Many people do not know that acupuncture has been shown to improve sperm quality, as detailed in the July 2005 issue
of the journal Fertility and Sterility.
The most common female infertility factor is an ovulation disorder. Ovulation
is the process which occurs 13 to14 days after the first day of bleeding. In this part of the menstrual cycle, the high level
of estrogen secreted by the ovaries triggers a release of luteinizing hormone (LH). This surge in LH causes the egg to be
expelled into the fallopian tube. Other causes of female infertility include blocked fallopian tubes, which can occur when
a woman has had pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis (a sometimes painful condition causing adhesions and cysts).
Congenital anomalies (birth defects) involving the structure of the uterus and uterine fibroids are associated with repeated
A normal menstrual cycle ranges from 25 to 30 days, with the average cycle lasting 28 days. During the
first five days (with day 1 being the first day of bleeding), the estrogen level is low and the follicle-stimulating hormone
(FSH) level rises, stimulating a dominant follicle that later ruptures and releases an egg during ovulation. As estrogen rises,
FSH falls, and LH peaks to cause ovulation on Day 14. During the last 14 days of the cycle, called the luteal phase, the walls
of the follicle collapse and form the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes large amounts of progesterone, which helps
prepare the uterine lining for implantation of the fertilized egg. Acupuncture before and after embryo transfer can significantly
improve the pregnancy rate in women undergoing Assisted Reproduction Therapies (ART) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF),
as seen in the April 2002 issue of Fertility and Sterility.
Chinese medicine, which consists primarily of acupuncture
and herbal medicine, can treat infertility in women due to its effects on progesterone, FSH, LH, and estrogen levels. For
female patients, an acupuncturist will ask detailed questions about your menstrual cycle, such as whether it is typically
early, late, or alternates between being early and late, as well as pre-menstrual symptoms. For male patients, questions may
focus on genitourinary issues. For men and women, other questions relate to how your body is working in general, including
digestion, breathing and temperature preference. The answers to these questions will allow your acupuncturist to make an accurate
diagnosis in terms of Chinese medical theory. Once the diagnosis is made, the acupuncturist will choose specific points in
which to insert the needles, and will choose specific Chinese herbs to create a customized herbal formula.
a qualified acupuncturist that can also recommend herbal medicine may help you attain a healthy pregnancy. The National Certification
Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine administers examinations to acupuncture school graduates upon completion
of their masters degree. Upon passage of these exams, state licensing boards then scrutinize each applicant before awarding
the acupuncture license.
By Lindsey Seigle L.Ac.
Guest Columnists Special Feature: Acupuncture.com
Rev.Melanie Myers L.Ac.
"It has been a true blessing helping women with Infertility issues,
seeing them get pregnant
following baby and momma care through term of pregnancy.
With TCM, Women prepare thier body to not only become
pregnant but to be able to carry a baby with no miscarriages.
Let me help you to do the same.
To set up an
appointment so we can discuss your options,
Acupuncture & Natural Therapies/ Melanie Myers
Providing services in the following areas:
Stafford, Caroline, Woodford, Thornburg,Spotsylvania, King George, Fallmouth, and more.
©2007 Melanie Myers, All rights reserved