Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse. About 10% of couples in the United States are affected by infertility. Both men and women can be infertile. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1/3 of the time the diagnosis is due to female infertility, 1/3 of the time it is linked to male infertility and the remaining 1/3 is due to a combination of factors from both partners. For approximately 20% of couples the cause cannot be determined.
Bio Energy Medical Center offers several treatments to help couples trying to conceive, both naturally and with assistance. Acupuncture has become very helpful in both natural methods and in assisted methods of conception. We offer this adjunct to traditional therapy and happily report that several of our patients that have received acupuncture in conjunction with their IVF or without IVF—have become pregnant and have had beautiful babies. We recognize the huge emotional and financial investment for couples seeking to become pregnant and desire only to improve their chances of success. In no way do we wish to detract from traditional therapy. The additional cost and time required to receive the acupuncture treatments are minimal given the increased chance of a successful outcome when employing assisted reproduction methods. For couples who want a natural pregnancy, the success rate is higher if both partners are treated. In Western medicine, male imbalances are usually not fully evaluated or are ignored.
The exact details of how acupuncture works remains a mystery. The Chinese texts state that acupuncture works by balancing the vital energy, or chi (also spelled qi). An imbalance in this delicate system leads to a blockage in the flow of chi along pathways known as meridians. These meridians act like circuits in an electrical grid and connect different parts of the body. There are 12 major and 8 secondary meridians and more than 2000 acupuncture points (both traditional and non-traditional) on our bodies that connect with these meridians. Perhaps by increasing the flow of chi, we increase the ability to become pregnant or increase the ability to provide viable sperm. The acupuncture infertility treatments promote the following physical changes:
• Increases blood flow to the uterus
• Promotes thickening of the uterine lining
• Improves functioning of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
• Lowers elevated FSH numbers
• Stimulates hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
• Relaxes the body and decreases stress levels
• Decreases the possibility of miscarriage
• Identifies potential disease that may affect fertility
• Reduces side-effects from medications
• Improves both the quality and quantity of sperm
The typical course of treatment consists of at least 12 acupuncture treatments for both assisted and natural conception. Treatments should be done once or twice a week for several weeks before trying to conceive. For IVF patients acupuncture should start several weeks before the egg retrieval. If the husband’s sperm is to be used to fertilize the eggs, several treatments should be completed by him to improve the sperm quantity and quality. It is very important to time a treatment as close to the embryo transfer as possible, same day or the evening before the transfer is best. For those trying to conceive naturally, several treatments (1-2 per week for 6-12 weeks) and timing of treatments near ovulation and conception can be very helpful. See Female infertility or male infertility for more information and a few studies that support acupuncture success with getting pregnant.
FEMALE INFERTILITY STUDIES
MALE INFERTILITY STUDIES
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