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Fertility acupuncture

"It takes two" - in order to conceive,  we need good quality egg and sperm. The process of trying to conceive can be lengthy, intricate and emotional for many couples.In recent studies it came clear that commonly infertility comes from 30% of issues in man, 30% in woman and the rest are combined problems. Unexplained fertility issues accounts for between 30-50% of all couples having difficult conceiving. Most of these couples would have no explanation from Western Medicine. 

Some factors of infertility:

- Male factors

- Female factors: blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), etc

- Previous miscarriage, termination, IVF all can be very depleting on woman's body

- Diet and weight

- Stress

- Chemical exposure (Xenoestrogens- info below)- affecting Male and Female endocrine systems

- Coffee, Alcohol, Smoking, Recreational drugs

- Infections

- Autoimmune factors

- Genetics /Chromosomal abnormalities

In TCM we focus on keeping balance between Yin and Yang, rest and activity, cold and hot, etc Allowing the body to readjust to optimal functioning.

Acupuncture can be beneficial for both men and women during the fertility process by helping patients to relax and improve their general wellbeing.

Treatments can offer a positive and beneficial treatment either to enhance the chances of natural conception or to support in the process of assisted conception. Studies in recent years suggest acupuncture can benefit fertility outcomes by:

  • Lowering stress hormones and regulating FSH *

  • Improving blood flow to the pelvic area, ovaries and uterus**

  • Reducing contractions of the uterus

  • Regulating the immune system

Male fertility

As men are equally involved in the process, their genetic material is very important, yet that is very little spoken about. They may be offered a standard test and semen analysis, but very little support and guidance.

My colleague Ian Stone has created a support for men going throught fertility journey: – instant recommendations on free assessment monthly zoom meetings for men only

Some simple positive steps men can take

  • Food- plenty of vegetables, fruit, good fats, fish, nuts, antioxidants

  • Healthy exercise

  • Drinking enough water

  • Right supplements if required

  • Loose fitting underwear

  • Stress management

  • Ejaculating regularly – every 3-4 days, to optimise sperm health

  • Get medical professional help

  • Social poisons: alcohol, coffee over 2 cups a day, cigarettes deplete testosterone; so best to reduce or cut out completely.

If the sperm quality is poor some further testing men can do are:

  • Infection screening

  • Ultrasound

  • DNA fragmentation - abnormal genetic material within the sperm can contribute to failure to conceive, low implantation rates, impaired embryo rates, repeated pregnancy loss.

  • Oxidative stress-ROS test/ Mioxsys

  • Hormone profile-  men's testosterone declines after turning 35y

  • Karyotyping

  • Anti-Sperm Antibodies (MAR)

  • HBA sperm binding







Timing of Acupuncture during natural fertility journey?

Every person is unique and has different TCM pathologies, therefore each person would receive personalised treatment. However, there are so many studies and research showed receiving acupuncture at the right time can help improve your chances of success.

  • Prior to conception: I would advise to start regular treatments 3-6 months prior to planned conception. The reason is to allow your body at least three cycles to prepare itself. In the treatments the egg quality and lining of the uterus are always the focus. Starting treatment about 90 days prior to when you hope to become pregnant will help in proper egg development.














  • During the menstrual cycle. Having acupuncture during bleed has resulted in success according to studies due to the thickness of the endometrium and maturation of follicles that occurs during this period. Your chances of conception may also improve if you undergo acupuncture the day of, day before, or day after ovulation.

  • Day four or five of the follicular phase (day 8-14): The follicular phase is also good to have acupuncture for fertility. Acupuncture aids in improving egg production while also stimulating egg growth. This is because acupuncture treatment can result in an increase in blood flow which helps with the absorption of nutrients.

  • During ovulation: Treatment during ovulation may also be the best time to have acupuncture for fertility, it can help maturation of the egg and aid blood flow to the uterus lining.

  • In lutheal phase (day 14-29): Having acupuncture treatment during implantation can improve fertility due to the increase in the flow of blood to the ovaries and the uterus. Acupuncture has been proven to help to reduce the anxiety and stress that may sometimes accompany fertility struggles.

Acupuncture During IVF and IUI

Acupuncture is the one of the most commonly used complementary treatment alongside IVF treatment and has become integrated into many of the best fertility clinics across the world.

A study(***) in 1992 found that conception rates with acupuncture rose to 42.5% compared to a non acupuncture control group that achieved a success rate of only 26.5%. Paulus protocol is used  for the pre and post transfer treatments. Those include body and ear acupuncture points.

More recently the British Medical Journal analysed all the available research that stood up to rigorous scrutiny. This large study(****) involving 1366 patients also found that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation.

Timing of Acupuncture during IVF?

  • In preparation for the IVF similarily to natural conception I would advise starting treatments 3-6 months prior to the cycle. That is to maximise the quality of the egg. Younger women with good ovarian reserves may need less treatments in that period, while older women with poorer ovarian reserves will require more frequent treatments.

  • During stimulation - ideally during day 3-4 to have a treatment

  • Before egg retrieval. This is because adequate blood flow is especially important during this phase, particularly in older patients, as research shows that follicles that have poor blood supply during this stage produce more genetically damaged eggs. 

  • Egg retrieval recovery- depending on how the woman is feeling, some women who experience complications during or after the egg retrieval procedure, for example, pain or symptoms of mild to moderate OHSS, may benefit from additional acupuncture treatment during this time.

  • Embryo transfer- ideally before and after, it could be on the same day, if that isn't too stressful. Paulus research (***) shows that two acupuncture treatments administered on the day of embryo transfer (one session before and one after the transfer) can significantly increase IVF success rates.

  • Pregnancy support if required


Jill Glover - Miscarriage, Repeated pregnancy loss

Ian Stones- Male Fertility

Zita West

* Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010

**Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008, Stener-Victorin (2000, 2008, 2009) and Zhang (2009)

*** Paulus, Fertility and Sterility Vol: 77, No. 4, APRIL 2002
****Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2008;336(7643):545-549.

Meghan Telpner offers a in depth info on Xenoestrogens, where ty can be found and what risks they are posing, offering some substitutes.


Fertility acupuncture in Ealing
Fertility acupuncture in Ealing
Fertility acupuncture in Ealing
Fertility acupuncture in Ealing
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