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Fertility & IVF

Fertility problems affect about 15% of couples in the UK. Even after the most exhaustive tests, over 20% of infertile couples are labelled as having ‘unexplained infertility’. However, for all age groups, acupuncture improves the chances of conception through stimulating ovulation, regulating menstrual cycles, promoting the function of the corpus luteum (increasing progesterone production) and increasing the flow of blood to the uterus.

Stress has a direct impact on a woman’s ability to conceive and her ability to carry the baby to full term. Acupuncture plays a very important role in reducing this, especially in those who have unexplained infertility and this can often be enough to turn things around. In traditional Chinease medicine (TCM) terms, this may be due to an underlying yin or yang deficiency, or a blockage in one of their meridians and these don’t necessarily present notable symptoms in regards to western medicine.

When treating fertility concerns, I always recommend acupuncture for a minimum of three menstrual cycles. It is also generally advisable for both parents to prepare for conception by doing some things in addition to acupuncture to encourage fertility:

  • Despite suggestion that fertility increases in the first few months immediately coming off the contraceptive pill, I’d recommend allowing more time off the pill to regulate your natural menstrual cycle fully.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking can cause irreversible effects on ovarian function by accelerating the loss of eggs. It also increases the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, significantly reduces the chances of a successful in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) outcome, and lowers male fertility (sperm count, motility and increased abnormalities). Passive smoking is also seriously damaging to female fertility.
  • Significantly reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol inhibits ovulation and impairs the sperm’s ability to move through the fallopian tubes.
  • Cut out marijuana. Even moderate consumption of marijuana has a toxic effect on the developing egg and impairs ovulation.
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet. Make sure you get enough Vitamin E and B including folic acid.
  • If you are too thin then put on a few pounds by eating a healthy diet in enough quantity and by reducing excessive exercise.
  • If you are overweight then reduce weight by cutting out refined carbohydrates, all sugar except fruit sugar, and increasing exercise. If this is connected with ovulation problems or insulin resistance your doctor may prescribe Metformin.


Research

Research has shown that acupuncture increases the success rates for women having IVF by almost 50%. Studies show that acupuncture reduces stress and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, all of which improves the success rate of IVF and intrauterine insemination (IUI). Importantly, acupuncture helps prevent cramping in the womb after IVF treatment, helping to assist implantation of the embryo.

Acupuncture can counteract the effects of polycystic ovaries or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

It can help women with higher than normal follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels to conceive naturally.

Acupuncture promotes ovulation, whether you have anovulatory cycles or amenorrhea with polycystic ovaries.

Acupuncture provides more subtle enhancements such as reducing anxiety and hot flushes, all of which is helpful for those who are taking fertility drugs.

Endometrial tissue found outside the womb can trigger an immune response which can prevent successful conception. In these cases acupuncture can help by dampening the specific immune response, as well as reducing painful periods commonly associated with endometriosis.

I have also successfully used acupuncture for low sperm count, poor morphology and slow motility.

A comprehensive analysis of acupuncture for breech position discovered that 80% of foetuses turned into normal (cephalic) presentation after moxibustion and acupuncture.

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Qualified acupuncture & massage practice treating stress, anxiety, depression, migraine, arthritis, back & muscular pain, fertility & menopause in
Hastings and St Leonards, Bexhill, Eastbourne and Battle in East Sussex..

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