Acupuncture for Infertility

By Dr. Priscilla Kerr

Acupuncture for Infertility

February 2013

The reason why I decided to give more attention on the Infertility matter is because many patients are asking me questions about this and I had the opportunity to treat many women in this past 5 years, specially in the past 15 months when infertile women who came for treatments and got pregnant share their success with friends and family and since them I have been working more intense with infertility issues.

Every case is different, in Traditional Chinese Medicine you don’t treat patients with the same points and give them the very same advices, some advices are good for all of them but some are very specific for each case and depending of what is causing the infertility I have to have a specific approach. That is why the first assessment is so important, the appointment takes one hour. I have to know details of the patient health, see any kind of exam that was performed and it is important to know her physician diagnosis for her infertility. I see women that had performed numerous IVF without success and women that had an unexplained infertility and they can’t get pregnant for the past 2, 3, 5 or 10 years. The good news is that if patients follow my recommendations and come for regular treatments, acupuncture is very effective.

My rates of success treatment in these women are over 90%. Just for giving an example, for the past 15 months, I saw 17 women with infertility for all different reason and ages from 24- 45 years old. From 17 women, 16 got pregnant in a period of 1- 5 months of treatment. The average amount of treatment they received to get pregnant was 3 full menstrual cycles, around 3 months of treatment. From these 16 women, one had a miscarriage due to genetic issues but after few cycles of treatment she got pregnant again and so far everything is going well. When a patient with infertility gets pregnant I like to follow them for the first trimester to avoid miscarriages or a bit longer if the patient has an history of miscarriage over 14 weeks.

The idea is to follow them closer to due date, around 37 weeks to be able to give them a good experience and less chances of complication. If the patient experience Morning sickness over 14 weeks, I can see them for a bit longer too, but 80% of my patients with a previous pregnancy that experienced heavy morning sickness are not annoyed anymore if they are being treated with acupuncture because it is good way to reduce or eliminate this issue.

I normally see patients once a week and than on their “fertile week” I like to see them twice. (I like to follow them weekly using a Traditional symptothermal chart).

Back in Brazil, where I worked as a physician I had chance to work together with Fertility clinics , if you are going to perform an IVF, you MUST have acupuncture done previous to it and after the IVF. This Brazilian Fertile clinic I had chance to work more often noticed that the patients who were going for IVF x acupuncture had 65 % more success than patients who only had IVF and nothing else.

Unfortunately in Canada not many Fertility clinics adopted this protocol. But desperate infertile women in these days are researching in the internet by themselves and found many studies about the efficacy of acupuncture and came to see me as well others accredited Professionals, and that resulted in many referrals from their gynaecologists as well. These physicians who were following these patients saw their success with acupuncture and since than I got more cases from them.

If you are a women who is trying to get pregnant for over 2 years and can’t conceive, or you have been pregnant before but you loose the embryo before 12 weeks, or you are thinking to perform an IVF or you’re taking Hormones (clomid/ serophene/ clomiphene citrate or letrozole) to regulate your ovulation with no success; you are good candidate for acupuncture. Some women with infertility are not willing to try drugs or IVF and they want to have a more “Natural” approach for getting pregnant, and these women are very welcome to Prairie Medical Acupuncture Clinic as well.

Call us to book an appointment at Manitoba Clinic, 790 Sherbrook st, phone: 204-788-5715

Bellow you can read some articles and examples of acupuncture/ Traditional Chinese medicine for Fertility reasons:

“In a study by Stener-Victorin area all from the Departments of Obstetrician and Gynecology Fertility Centre, Scandinavia and University of Gothenburg,women are encouraged to receive acupuncture treatments pre and post embryotransfer. Clinical observations from the Berkley Center for ReproductiveWellness suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve acombination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medicine. However,conception occasionally occurs when acupuncture and herbal medicines areused without traditional medical interventions.”

(http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/acupuncture.htm)

“In China, acupuncture has been used in the treatment of infertility for centuries. The first published account of this is seen in medical literature dating back to 11 A.D. The Chinese look at five principal organs – the liver, spleen, heart, lung, and kidney – and use acupuncture to release blockages from these systems so that energy or chi can move freely. This helps the body return to good health. Promoting fertility is one benefit that can be obtained. Acupuncture to kidney points releases psychological blocks that interfere with reproduction.

– Get Healthy Now with Gary Null: A Complete Guide to Prevention, Treatment and Healthy living by Gary Null

The women treated with acupuncture? Twenty-two pregnancies (and no side effects). Finally, a study at the Fertility Clinic Trianglen in Denmark concluded that “acupuncture … significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF (in vitro fertilization) and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) compared to no acupuncture.” Best of all, acupuncture for infertility is truly a “whole person” treatment that looks at the woman as much more than just a dysfunctional reproductive system. “People come into my office and they’re completely unprepared for conception,” Lawrence told me.

– The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Why by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.”

“How acupuncture works- source: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3480_162-631441.html

It’s still not entirely clear how the technique works, but there is some evidence that it increases the production of endorphins, or brain chemicals that make you feel good and help reduce stress. It may also improve blood supply to the ovaries, which improves their function, and the uterus, which can make it easier to nourish a fetus and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

The research

Marshall cites a 2002 German study suggesting that acupuncture may, in fact, work. The study looked at 160 women undergoing IVF, half of whom received acupuncture along with IVF, and the other half who received IVF alone. They found pregnancy rates among the women undergoing acupuncture were significantly higher.

What should you do if you’re interested on pursuing acupuncture for infertility?

  • First, you want to see a traditional fertility specialist to see what your underlying fertility issues are.
  • You can then get a referral from your fertility doctor to a reputable acupuncturist that may be affiliated with a major medical center.
  • You want to find someone who is trained and licensed in acupuncture and has a lot of experience.

Other alternative therapies used by women trying to conceive are yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, and massage therapy. Some people are also trying herbal remedies, but as with any of these alternative therapies, you should talk to your fertility doctor before trying any of them.”


Testimonial

  • Dear Dr Kerr, Thank you so much for your help and kindness. When I started seeing you a year ago, I was not entirely sure if acupuncture could help me or not. I was a 29 years old women who was trying to conceive, but I just was not ovulating. You took the time to listen to me, and your advice was greatly appreciated. Within only a few treatments, I ovulated and got pregnant right away, after months and months of trying. I could not believe it! You were also absolutely wonderful during the first months of this pregnancy, still treating me to avoid morning sickness and miscarriage. You were always available for questions and concerns, which has also been greatly appreciated. I now have an adorable and healthy little baby boy, and I will forever be grateful to you for him. Thank you so much again.
    Marie, 30 years old