Acupuncture for Fertility – 3 Unique Ways it Can Help You Conceive Naturally
Does acupuncture really work for fertility?
I mean, this ancient Chinese magic and herbs – can they really stand up against IVF and modern medicine?
In this article I want to share a bit of research on acupuncture for fertility, how well it works, as well as (in particular) how well Chinese herbs can work to help.
What’s more – why not try this before spending $30,000-$100,000+ on multiple rounds of IVF?
Acupuncture for Fertility and Infertility- A Look at the Science
In particular, I want to highlight three studies here that may elucidate a bit about this.
In the first study done just testing acupuncture for fertility, here’s what was found. The study was done on 160 patients receiving assisted reproduction therapy. They were divided into two groups.
One of them was an ART + acupuncture group, the other was just the “ART” group alone.
Specifically, this was embryo transfer with acupuncture or without. Actual clinical pregnancies were documented in 42% of the patients in the + acupuncture group, versus 26% in the control group.
"Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group." - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11937123
In another study done, researchers wanted to see the link between acupuncture and conception rate or conception time.
In this particular study, the patients receiving acupuncture conceived within an average of 5.5 weeks, compared to 10.6 weeks for the lifestyle-only group. In other words, this was acupuncture versus overall lifestyle changes of diet, exercise, stress-reduction.
"Those receiving the acupuncture conceived within an average of 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks for the lifestyle only group (p = 0.422). The acupuncture protocol tested influenced women who received it compared to women who used lifestyle modification alone: their fertility awareness and wellbeing increased, and those who conceived did so in half the time." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4868913/
The women in this study conceived twice as quickly versus doing the other alternatives.
What About Acupuncture For Fertility (Combined With Chinese Herbs)?
One thing to consider here is that these results aren’t even that miraculous – because herbs are going to be much of the key power of Chinese medicine for conception.
Some anecdotal conversations I’ve had with other practitioners suggests that up to 90% of acupuncture practitioners in the USA don’t even administer herbal formulas in their clinical practice!
If we look at some of the herbal formulas for fertility and conception, here are some interesting studies.
One meta-analysis, multiple randomized controlled trials, found the following.
Conceiving with Chinese medicine vs. western drug therapy alone, there was a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy. The mean pregnancy rates were 60% for Chinese medicine versus 32% using western medicine drug therapies alone.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22036524 - "Eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, 3 case series and 6 case studies involving 1851 women with infertility were included in the systematic review. Meta-analysis of RCTs suggested a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy over a 4-month period compared with WM drug therapy alone (odds ratio=3.5, 95% CI: 2.3, 5.2, p<0.0001, n=1005). Mean (SD) pregnancy rates were 60±12.5% for CHM compared with 32±10% using WM drug therapy. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies (n=616 women) suggested a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50% using CHM compared with IVF (30%) (p<0.0001)."
In these meta-analysis, the average clinical pregnancy rate was 50% using Chinese herbal formulas versus 30% with IVF (in vitro fertilization).
In one other study done with 40 RCTS , with over 4,200 women, researchers found something interesting as well. These were all women with infertility, and in this meta-analysis, there was suggested a 1.74 higher probability of achieving pregnancy with Chinese medicine vs. western drug therapy alone.
These trials also included women with PCOS, endometriosis, fallopian tube blockage, or infertility.
The average pregnancy rate in the Chinese herbal formula group was 60% versus 33% in the western drug therapy group alone.
"Forty RCTs involving 4247 women with infertility were included in our systematic review. Meta-analysis suggested a 1.74 higher probability of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy than with WM therapy alone (risk ratio 1.74, 95%CI: 1.56-1.94; p<0.0001; odds ratio 3.14; 95%CI: 2.72-3.62; p<0.0001) in women with infertility. Trials included women with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility. Mean pregnancy rates in the CHM group were 60% compared with 33% in the WM group." - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25637159
Considering the Risk: Reward of Trying Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine For Fertility
Some of these numbers are pretty impressive – double or triple the effectiveness.
And clearly, the other thing to consider here is that many patients with IVF have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this therapy. To try out Chinese medicine treatments for a 6-12 month period would most likely be $3,000-$5,000 at most.
There’s always the risk to reward ratio, but also the cost savings of paying several thousand dollars versus a hundred thousand (or more) dollars. Which often is unfortunately the case with many women who have gone through IVF multiple times.
And sadly, many women only go to an acupuncturist or “alternative practitioner” after they’ve done IVF and it didn’t work.
If you’re wondering about Chinese medicine, the acupuncture and the herbs, for healthy conception and infertility, maybe this is something that may sway you into trying out this option as a holistic protocol to conceive naturally.
The Bottom Line: How Acupuncture Can Help Infertility and Help You Conceive Naturally
To be skeptical of Chinese medicine is totally understandable. And to wonder if “Chinese medicine and acupuncture can fix this” is also an important question.
Hopefully this article has set aside some fears, and maybe proposed another alternative before another $10,000 to $30,000 round of IVF.
At the end of the day, you can expect to feel better – sleep better, be happier, have amazing digestion, and feel good consistently – either way.