Fertility and IVF

The first written evidence of the use of acupuncture for the treatment of fertility dates back to 3CE when Zhang Zhong-jing, who was a famous physician in the Han Dynasty, commented on infertility and a variety of women’s diseases and conditions in his book, ‘Essentials of the Golden Cabinet’ (Jin Gui Yao Lue).

Much has been written about the advantages of using acupuncture to assist fertility and recent research also supports this. Women’s health includes many aspects which can affect their ability to conceive and men may also have particular problems relating to their sexual health.

In recent years acupuncture has been used successfully in the following areas:

  • to regulate the menstrual cycle
  • to invigorate sperm, increase sperm count and motility
  • to reduce stress and anxiety
  • to enhance sleep and increase energy levels
  • to balance the endocrine system, regulate hormones and improve egg quality
  • to increase blood flow to the uterus and improve the endometrial lining (aiding implantation)
  • to improve blood flow to the ovaries resulting in more follicles and better egg production
  • to reduce the side effects associated with hormonal treatment
  • to protect against the risk of miscarriage
  • to increase the chance of pregnancy for women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment

Acupuncture can also help women who are suffering from functional infertility associated with hormonal problems, immune disorders, irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea and age related disorders. Stress can have an adverse effect on fertility which acupuncture can help to reduce.

Cultivate the soil before planting the seed’ is an ancient maxim. It is recommended that the menstrual cycle is regulated and any associated pain or discomfort is alleviated first, together with the overall health and wellbeing of the patient and the quality of sleep and digestion. The patient and her (or his) partner should be seen together initially as both should be at optimum health prior to conception.

Once pregnancy occurs the mother may be helped during the pregnancy to ensure she is in the best possible health to support the growth of her baby. She may also be helped should morning sickness or nausea occur; for a threatened miscarriage; if baby is presenting in the breech position; if induction is recommended; for back pain; for headaches or dizziness and many other effects of pregnancy.


Women seeking IVF treatment can improve their chances of success by undergoing acupuncture prior to the treatment. A study* carried out in 2002 found that just two acupuncture treatments on the day of embryo transfer increased the chances of becoming pregnant by 62%.

If IVF treatment is being considered please telephone for a free discussion.

*Paulus, W.E., et al. (2002). Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy, Fertility and Sterility 77:4, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, USA.

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