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Fertility acupuncture sessions are specialized based on your healthcare needs and constitution. Some patients may receive acupuncture as well as Chinese herbs for fertility.
Contact one of our acupuncture practitioners today to find out if acupuncture for fertility is right for you.
Acupuncture for Fertility
As if there weren’t already enough reasons to give acupuncture a try, enter, treatment of fertility. Contrary to popular belief, getting pregnant is a difficult task for many couples. Infertility is usually defined as the inability to maintain a pregnancy as well as get pregnant at all after sufficiently trying for 12 months (sometimes even 6 months depending on the couples’ age).
Although 60% of couples are able to conceive within 6 months of attempting, one out of every six couples will have issues with infertility. Infertility is a problem in the United States not only for women, but for men as well. For men, it could be dwindling sperm counts, gonad disorder, and even a large portion is chalked up to unknown causes. Meanwhile, for women, the typical causes of infertility are PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), Endometriosis (a disorder where the tissue which normally lines the inside of the uterus is outside of the uterus), and tubal blockage. Where does acupuncture fit into helping men and women with fertility?
How Does Acupuncture Help Fertility?
When it comes to acupuncture, there are what acupuncturists call meridians all over the body that conduct energy, or qi (pronounced chee) which regulates mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical balance. When the qi becomes blocked, disease and/or pain can result. Acupuncture allows the unblocked energy to be released creating normal flow, which in turn heightens the chances of a couple conceiving. While it may seem like an unconventional option, acupuncture is quickly becoming recognized as a viable option for men and women with fertility problems having. Even though it has been successful for men and women, it is a game changer for men, who, before the idea of acupuncture, only really had the option of lifestyle changes to improve sperm count.
When acupuncture is used for fertility it can help by:
ovarian and uterine function (creates a better chance of carrying to term and the egg to be well nourished.)
- Balancing the hormones
- Increasing blood
flow to reproductive organs
- Bringing balance back to the endocrine system
Elevated stress, although it may seem minimal, can play a huge role in the ability to conceive. The part of the brain that coordinates the activity in the pituitary (amongst other things), also known as the hypothalamus, is where stress is managed. This is also the place that controls your hormones that stimulate the ovaries, and when stress releases the hormone Cortisol, creating a hormonal imbalance, this can prevent/hinder normal ovulary cycles. Acupuncture, simply by rectifying stress, can lead to alleviating other issues potentially causing the inability to conceive.
How Much Am I Going To Pay?
When it comes to acupuncture treatment for fertility certain insurance companies will cover SOME of the treatment, however you would be hard pressed to find insurance coverage for treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilization) in its entirety. Many couples are shelling out thousands of dollars for infertility treatments with hopes of conceiving, and while there is success with IVF and standard fertility treatments of the like, only about 30% of those in the US result in live births. In addition, it will cost an average of about $12,000 just to get the family a couple has always dreamed of.
What does Acupuncture for Fertility Cost?
Although acupuncture is not inexpensive in comparison to western fertility treatments, it is mere pennies. There are also many insurance plans that cover acupuncture as well, obviously varying depending on the state and your carrier. The average cost for acupuncture, if paying out of pocket for, is in the ballpark of $60 to $175 per session with the first session sometimes costing a little more. Depending on the experience of your acupuncture provider and success rates in treating fertility with acupuncture, treatment costs may be slightly more.
How Often Do I Need to Get Acupuncture for Fertility?
If you are coming in for fertility treatments with acupuncture alone, there are certain times in your cycle that your acupuncturist will want you to come in. It is important that you know and understand when and how your cycle runs, and to let your acupuncturist know this so they can best formulate a schedule for you.
Acupuncture session frequency for fertility is highly individualized for the patient, and can only be determined after in-person consultation with your acupuncturist. In general, you can expect to come in for acupuncture visits in the following cases:
- During your cycle (this depends on the patient)
- The day prior, day of, or day following ovulation
- During implantation time frame (this will be 6-10 days after ovulation)
Acupuncture alone can help for the multitude of reasons. Usually, experienced acupuncturists will cater your session schedule according to your cycle and information obtained in your consultation. Alternatively, in recent years, there has been a lot of support and results in combining acupuncture with western methods such as IVF with great success in conceiving more than with IVF alone.
Most acupuncture providers recommend that the patient come in once or twice a week for the 3 months leading up to IVF and continue to do so leading up to and after the embryo transfer. After this point your acupuncturist may recommend another treatment schedule to help maintain and nourish the pregnancy using acupuncture points, while avoiding the abdominal area. This is why it is very important to make sure you are seeing a licensed acupuncturist and that they have the credentials to treat fertility.
Acupuncture and IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization)
How Does Acupuncture Help IVF?
- Most patients start acupuncture treatment about
3 months prior to starting an IVF cycle. During this time the patient’s
well-being and circulation/blood flow is worked on the most. The acupuncture
sessions can help create a thicker uterine lining and heightened follicular
maturation. Lastly, the increased blood flow can improve the efficiency of the
drugs needed during an IVF treatment and potentially help decrease IVF costs.
- About a month before retrieval, acupuncture will
continue weekly (or twice a week depending on the woman and what medications
are being used for the IVF.) At this point the work continues on lowering
stress levels and increasing blood flow.
- An acupuncture session one to two days before
retrieval to help with the egg’s final maturation.
- During the time between retrieval and the embryo
transfer, there may be some discomfort and/or cramping from the retrieval
procedure. During this stage an acupuncture session is usually done to increase
circulation, relax the uterus, and prep the body for the embryo transfer.
- After the embryo transfer, an acupuncturist will more than likely try to schedule a session close to the transfer to increase the odds of a successful pregnancy. Thereafter, all the way through the end of the 1st trimester, weekly acupuncture will continue to promote and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Acupuncture in combination with IVF is commonly used to help improve chances of conception. For some patients, IVF treatments may be costly. While there has been pregnancy success in causes of acupuncture alone, and IVF alone, some may prefer to reap the benefits of fertility acupuncture sessions at a more affordable price-point.
Does Acupuncture Work for Fertility?
That’s what we really want to know isn’t it? Does it work?
In short, yes.
A study done in 2018 with a 28-year-old couple unable to conceive, showed significant results for acupuncture treatment for fertility. The man did 4 treatments to improve his sperm quality and the woman had ovarian cysts. After 7 treatments, the cysts in the woman were gone and the couple succeeded in getting pregnant.
Another experimental study from 2016 discovered interesting results.
The 2016 study consisted of group changing their lifestyle compared to another group that combined lifestyle change along with acupuncture. Results showed that the acupuncture/lifestyle group had increased fertility awareness, improved well-being, and those who conceived did so in half the time of the lifestyle change only group.
For acupuncture combined with IVF, studies show that acupuncture being performed before and after embryo transfer increased pregnancy rates by as much as 35-50%.
On top of all these stats, the fact is there is little to no risk or side effects involved with acupuncture, which, if you’re looking to start a family makes it a clear no-brainer. Getting the family you have always wanted is within reach with acupuncture. Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture treatment options are becoming increasingly popular,and there are only going to be more and more case studies done in the years to come to promote the benefits of acupuncture for fertility.
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Find a Fertility Acupuncture Provider Today
Contact a licensed acupuncture practitioner today with Best Acupuncture Near Me to learn more about fertility and how acupuncture treatments can help.