Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks


Acupuncture for Infertility:
Acupuncture Increases the Success of In-Vitro Fertilization

By Lynda Harvey, OMD, LAc
& Brian B. Carter, MSci, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine. He teaches at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, and is the author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

It's frustrating that there have been limited treatment options. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is costly, uncomfortable, and doesn't always work. Those who've already tried it four or five times understand. But now you can increase your chances of IVF success with fertility acupuncture.

Results of a New Study on Acupuncture and IVF

Until recently, women have had no proven method to improve their odds with each IVF attempt.

New hope has been provided by the encouraging results of a well-designed, German study on acupuncture-assisted in vitro fertility.

The 160 participants were divided into two groups, each receiving a standard in-vitro procedure (IVF). One of the groups, however, received acupuncture before and after implantation. The standard in-vitro group had a 26.3% pregnancy rate, while the acupuncture group showed a 42.5% success rate.

Fertility Success Rates
In-Vitro Fertilization
(IVF) Only
Fertility Acupuncture protocol plus IVF


Chinese Medicine:
Acupuncture Fertility, Herbal Fertility

Chinese medicine has treated infertility effectively for thousands of years. Modern studies have been aimed at understanding why acupuncture is effective. This is the first significant scientific proof that acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates.

Acupuncture is only half of the story, however. Chinese medical practitioners rely heavily on herbal medicine for infertility. One without the other is akin to having a right hand without the left; you'll be far more effective with both. The combination of herbs and acupuncture is used to assist the natural method of conception, whether the cause of infertility involves the man or the women, or both.

Chinese Herbs for Male and Female Infertility

Nearly 50% of infertility cases require some intervention with both parties. In men, Chinese herbs can raise testosterone levels and sperm count.

Chinese medicine for women can regulate hormones; stimulate ovulation and correct nutritional deficiencies that make sustaining a pregnancy difficult. The herbs make the body a "more hospitable environment" for the baby. This treatment is effective and gentle.

Considering that fertility drugs often cause dreaded side effects such as, weight gain, depression and mood swings, you may want to try Chinese medicine first.

Greater Fertility when Combining East and West

The causes of difficult conception can vary from couple to couple. There are some situations where Chinese medicine cannot substitute for traditional fertility treatment.

For the woman with a structural problem, like blocked tubes, in-vitro may be her only option. In this case, attempting to conceive naturally via acupuncture and herbs will not only waste time and money, but can create false hopes.

In this type of case, the most appropriate action is to combine Chinese medicine with fertilization procedures to better the odds. And the cost of Chinese Medicine is minimal compared to the average fee ($5000) for each in-vitro attempt.

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  1. The German study on acupuncture-assisted in vitro fertility
  2. Paulus WE, Zhang M, Strehler E, El-Danasouri I, Sterzik K. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertil Steril. 2002 Apr;77(4):721-4.
  3. Maciocia G. Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine.
  4. Wiseman N, Ellis A. The Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine.
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