Increase Your Chances of Conception with Acupuncture

If you're trying to conceive, you may want to consider acupuncture. While the addition of tiny needles might not seem like a useful tool on the path to getting pregnant, research shows that acupuncture may help both men and women improve fertility. It may also relieve some of the stress from the uncertainty you may be feeling, potentially increasing your chances of conceiving.

Acupuncture is recommended for a variety of issues that affect fertility. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, endometriosis, and issues with ovarian function and sperm quality.

Learn more about conditions we treat: Fertility Support

Acupuncture for fertility

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to restore balance to the body, which supports healthy fertility. The practice involves placing tiny, sterilized needles in specific points along the body’s meridians, or internal pathways along which the body’s energy flows. Acupuncture is commonly used in combination with herbal supplements, diet, and lifestyle changes to treat some of the causes of infertility

Acupuncture can be useful for couples trying to conceive naturally, or who are going through cycles of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). One randomized, controlled trial showed that just 3 sessions of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer significantly increased the pregnancy rates in women with unexplained infertility undergoing IVF. 

It was also found that acupuncture significantly reduced anxiety levels that occurred before an embryo transfer (1).

Using acupuncture combines Eastern medicine and Western science to support optimal fertility for both men and women.

Supports healthy ovulation, especially if you have PCOS

The process of the ovaries releasing an egg is called ovulation, and it's the first, most important step on the way to conceiving. There are various factors and health conditions that restrict ovulation, and one common hormonal issue is the presence of PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In the case of PCOS, ovulation may not occur at all, or happens sporadically or infrequently. This makes getting pregnant very difficult.

Acupuncture may promote more predictable, regular ovulation (2). For example, in one study, women with PCOS who received acupuncture treatments for 10 to 13 weeks saw an increase in ovulation frequency (3). It is believed this is because acupuncture can stimulate pituitary hormones that play a role in hormone regulation, such as beta-endorphin (4).

PCOS is the most common condition affecting reproductive health in the U.S. affecting about 10% of women.

Learn more: PCOS & Pregnancy: How to Improve Fertility

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May increase the chances of implantation

A decline in female fertility naturally coincides with age as well as a gradual reduction in blood flow to the uterus. This results in decreased likelihood that a fertilized egg will implant, and have the nutrients it needs to grow.

Acupuncture not only improves circulation to the uterus and ovaries, but may also help provide the developing embryo a safe, comfortable place to attach inside the uterus to receive nourishment and keep growing (5).

Reduces feelings of stress & anxiety

One of the most common reasons people seek out acupuncture is to manage the effects of stress and anxiety. What many couples don’t realize, however, is that stress-related symptoms like headaches, trouble sleeping, or pain can often be signs that stress is also negatively impacting fertility.

Acupuncture sessions help calm the nervous system and shift energy toward reproduction and conception.

Related: Are You Suffering with High-Functioning Anxiety?

Improves sperm quality

Men’s fertility can also greatly benefit from acupuncture. Studies have found that some markers of sperm quality improved significantly in men who received acupuncture treatments, with higher concentrations of healthy, motile sperm cells (6). The process is believed to work in a similar way as it does for women, with acupuncture helping to reduce stress and improve circulation in the reproductive organs.

While more research is needed on this topic, initial studies suggest that acupuncture can be an effective tool for couples looking to conceive by addressing male infertility issues.

Related: Can Men Boost Fertility? The Guide to Diet, Lifestyle, & Supplements

Improves ovarian function

In addition to helping women with ovulation in PCOS, it’s believed that acupuncture can also help improve ovarian function in other cases. In the case of one woman diagnosed with endometriosis, acupuncture resolved the cysts on her ovaries and resulted in a successful pregnancy (7). 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), ovarian cysts can occur because of stagnation in the Liver Qi. If this function is weakened, then the immune system can be disturbed, and abnormal immune reactions may be triggered by the growth of abnormal tissue in the female reproductive organs. The points used in the treatment were chosen with the aim to help the patients to improve the energy flow to the reproductive organs, and remove the blockages that cause stagnation in the flow.

Reduces Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a growing factor underlying infertility. Acupuncture is believed to reduce inflammation by stimulating the body’s natural feel-good hormones and reducing the level of stress hormones like cortisol (8). It may also upregulate the expression of GABA receptors, further helping with the inflammatory effects of things like stress.

Acupuncture also reduces levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, both markers for inflammation (9). There are many things that contribute to inflammation, including lifestyle factors such as a poor diet, high toxic burden, stress, and inadequate sleep. Hormone conditions like endometriosis or  PCOS can also increase inflammation and make it harder to become pregnant.

This is why following an anti-inflammatory diet and taking steps to reduce overall inflammation can be helpful if you’re struggling with fertility. 

Who is acupuncture right for?

Acupuncture is beneficial for couples experiencing fertility struggles, especially when also dealing with hormonal imbalances, unexplained fertility, PCOS, or endometriosis.

Patients are commonly treated for 3 to 4 months before beginning fertility treatments like IVF or IUI.

Working with an acupuncturist who can help you bring balance back to your body and help you understand the underlying causes that may be negatively impacting your fertility. In addition, acupuncture may also help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that can be common with fertility struggles. 

Explore acupuncture with a qualified acupuncturist at CentreSpringMD

Overall, acupuncture is a holistic approach to improving reproductive health that has been shown to be effective in helping couples conceive. By addressing issues like inflammation, ovarian function, and male infertility, acupuncture may hold the key to unlocking a successful pregnancy for many couples.

As with any treatment, it is important to make sure that you are working with a licensed acupuncturist who is experienced in treating fertility. Always consult your doctor before beginning any new treatment, and make sure to inform both your doctor and acupuncturist of any medications you may be taking. With the right care and support, acupuncture can help you achieve a successful pregnancy.




Acupuncture, Fertility, Holistic Medicine, infertility

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