Acupuncture & Chinese medicine | Infertility

Infertility

Having a child isn’t always easy, with many couples even those fit, young and healthy struggling conceive within a timely fashion.  Many couples are affected by concerns such as boosting Natural Fertility, Female and/or Male Infertility, Mature Age Conception, or Miscarriage.  It is suggested that in Australia, 1 in 6 couples have difficulty conceiving within 1 year.  Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have been used successfully by many couples trying to conceive both via natural and assisted fertility treatments. At Balanced Life Health Care in Ferntree Gully, we are experienced practitioners and will work with you towards your fertility goals.

 

Female fertility Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

 

Clinical research has shown that Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has the following effects:

 

  • Positively affects your hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which plays a major role in fertility, especially with regard to enhancing the development and release of mature and healthy eggs.
  • Increases blood flow to your uterus, thus thickening the uterine lining, which improves the chances of an ovum implanting.
  • Reduces your overall anxiety, stress, and hormones that are secreted during stressful situations – such as cortisol – which significantly decreases your fertility.
  • Normalises the systems that regulate your ovulation, including, in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
  • Regulates your menstrual cycles.
  • Several studies of Chinese herbal treatments to correct Luteal Phase Defect produced pregnancy rates from 33-56%, far greater than success rates achieved with Western medical treatments.

 

Natural fertility Acupuncture protocols

 

In order to achieve the best results for your overall fertility we ask our clients to commit to a minimum of three full menstrual cycles of consecutive care, that is regular Acupuncture sessions once or twice weekly (and sometimes more for women who have longer cycles caused by complex underlying factors such as PCOS). We do this for a specific reason; during this time the secondary follicles start to receive reproductive hormones and nutrition from the environment, consecutive Acupuncture treatments at this time is best way that we can influence factors such as quality (1), follicular health, and chances of pregnancy.

 

 

Miscarriage prevention support

 

Unfortunately miscarriage is not uncommon with 25% of women suffering a miscarriage. Maternal ages are one factor among many that has been time and time again referenced. However traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the picture is much more complex than this. Life force of an embryo is a complex interplay of the mother, father’s and the embryo’s own health. If one or all of these factors is affected then the chances of survival are diminished.

 

When treating couples who have had one or multiple miscarriages at Balanced Life Health Care we advocate the use of both Acupuncture and Chinese medicine to address underlying health issues that may be as simple as hormonal deficiencies to sperm abnormalities or highly complex combination patterns. The good news is that research suggests that Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can have a positive effect on threatened miscarriage, and repeated miscarriages, by regulating HCG and progesterone levels (5), as well as immunological components (6).

 

Mature age conception

 

Many who have undergoing failed IVF cycles understand that it is a number’s game and unfortunately has lowered success rates in women over 40 using their own eggs, as little as 8.5% take home a baby at the end of IVF (7). Rates for UK shown below are similar to Australian statistics.  In mature maternal age if IVF is unsuccessful then donor or natural conception is considered the best option.

 

  • 32.2% for women aged under 35
  • 27.7% for women aged between 35–37
  • 20.8% for women aged between 38–39
  • 13.6% for women aged between 40–42
  • 5.0% for women aged between 43–44
  • 1.9% for women aged 45 and over (8)

 

However in Acupuncture and Chinese medicine terms there is no age limit on fertility treatments. We see many women who have had failed IVF cycles go on to have healthy children through natural conception right through till menopause. Literally while I am writing this I have just seen a 43 year old who has had several failed IVF cycles who is 12+ weeks pregnant natural conception with the help of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

 

Male fertility Acupuncture and Chinese medicine

 

Male factor infertility accounts for 40% of all fertility problems. The biggest mistake we see clinically is for couples putting all the emphasis on treating the female and neglecting to address the male side, and by simply also treating the male can reduce the total amount of time it takes for a couple to conceive. Treatment can involve Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and/or nutritional supplements. It is not always required that the male receive Acupuncture treatment, in many cases Chinese Herbal Medicine and nutritional supplements alone are effective. Clinical research has shown that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has the following effects on the male;

 

  • The group that received acupuncture had a 50% improvement in sperm motility.
  • The number and percentage of healthy sperm also increased dramatically in the Acupuncture group, increasing more than four-fold after 10 sessions of acupuncture.
  • In addition, significant changes in sperm structure and quality were seen in the Acupuncture group, with an increase from 22.5% normal shapes to 38.5% normal shapes.

 

Since new sperm generally take 70 to 90 days to form, treatment for male factors is usually recommended for a minimum of three months.

References

  1. In vitro fertilization and acupuncture: clinical efficacy and mechanistic basis; Anderson BJ, Et Al; Altern Ther Health Med 2007; 13:38-48
  2. Sun F, Yu J. [Effect of TCM on plasma beta-endorphin and placental endocrine in threatened abortion] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1999 Feb; 19 (2):87-9.
  3. Takakuwa K, Yasuda M, Hataya I, Sekizuka N, Tamura M, Arakawa M, Higashino M, Hasegawa I, Tanaka K. Treatment for patients with recurrent abortion with positive antiphospholipid antibodies using a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. J Med. 1996; 24(5):489-94.
  4. http://www.ivf.com.au/ivf-success-rates
  5. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ivf-success-rate.html