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Acupuncture for Fertility

Acupuncture for fertility may benefit those going through treatment

Many women, and even men, are taking advantage of acupuncture for fertility to enhance their treatment cycles. While acupuncture has been practiced for over 3,000 years, acupuncture for fertility has recently been getting some attention by patients, practitioners and online chat rooms alike. Many feel it can be a complementary therapy to modern medical treatments. This ancient practice is overwhelmingly safe and can be performed alongside nearly all conventional therapeutics.

In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is thought to help balance qi (pronounced “chi”), an energy force that’s believed to flow through pathways in the body called meridians. The practice uses slender needles inserted at various places on the body to stimulate nerve endings deep below the surface of the skin. The therapy is thought to prompt your body’s healing response, increase blood flow and oxygen levels throughout the body, and trigger the release of important reproductive hormones, including those secreted by the hypothalamus, pituitary and ovaries.

At Fertility Answers, we recommend acupuncture for fertility for a variety of diagnoses. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, endometriosis, and issues with ovarian reserve and sperm quality. It may also promote relaxation and help relieve some of the side effects associated with fertility drugs, such as bloating and nausea.

When used during fertility treatment, acupuncture for fertility may benefit by regulating your menstrual cycle, improving your partner’s sperm count and motility, increasing blood flow to your reproductive organs, and decreasing the stress and anxiety that often accompanies treatment. When used during in vitro fertilization, acupuncture for fertility may improve the quality and quantity of eggs, increase the thickness of the uterine lining, support embryo implantation and decrease inflammation. 

What does a typical acupuncture for fertility plan look like?

During an IVF cycle, you may be interested in supplementing your treatment with acupuncture for fertility. We recommend having a consult with an acupuncturist a few months before you hope to conceive so an assessment can be made of your bodily response throughout a few menstrual cycles. Acupuncture needle points for fertility are typically placed on the head, ear, abdomen, and below the knees and elbows. A session lasts about 30-40 minutes.

A typical plan for acupuncture for fertility would begin preferably about three to four months before your IVF cycle to allow enough time for sperm and eggs to develop.

  • Priming Phase – Weekly acupuncture may be appropriate during the month before your IVF treatment begins. As you start the medications to suppress the ovaries in preparation for the intense ovarian stimulation that follows, acupuncture will continue to promote healthy blood flow to the ovaries.
  • Stimulation Phase – Twice weekly acupuncture can promote healthy egg growth as ovulation is stimulated.
  • Egg Retrieval – Acupuncture one to two days before your egg retrieval may help eggs mature.
  • After Egg Retrieval – An acupuncture session after your egg retrieval can help relax the uterus and increase circulation to the uterine lining. It may also help relieve discomfort from cramping or other side effects of the retrieval.
  • Before and After Embryo Transfer – A 30-minute session immediately before (or the day before) your transfer may promote blood flow to the uterus. A 15-minute session immediately after (or the day after) transfer may help with additional blood flow to the uterus to promote embryo implantation. 
  • 3-5 Days After Embryo Transfer – Additional acupuncture for fertility sessions a few days after your embryo transfer may help with implantation, increase blood flow to the uterus, and reduce the stress and anxiety while you wait for your results.

Acupuncture during pregnancy

Acupuncture can also be beneficial during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. When administered by a trained acupuncturist, acupuncture can alleviate common pregnancy ailments such as low back and pelvic pain, nausea, and stress. Acupuncture during early pregnancy may also help prevent miscarriage. Women who are at risk of miscarrying are usually advised to receive acupuncture treatments three months before conception and also during the first trimester of their pregnancy to stabilize it.

About acupuncturist Allison Davis, L.Ac.

Allison Davis, L.Ac. provides skilled and safe acupuncture for fertility therapy services to patients at the Baton Rouge location of Fertility Answers. She brings with her years of experience and expertise in acupuncture for women’s health, especially in the realm of fertility enhancement. As part of our team, Allison works closely with our fertility specialists to devise a plan to benefit patient IVF cycles and other fertility treatment. Allison is a graduate of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and holds a Master of Science certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. She is licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.

Contact us to learn more about acupuncture for fertility or to set up a consult with Allison Davis, L.Ac.