Acupuncture and Infertility in London, Bexley and Chislehurst
Many women see me with recognised conditions that can cause infertility, for example:
- Blocked Fallopian tubes
- Polycystic ovaries
- Premature ovarian failure
- High FSH
- Recurrent miscarriage
But what is most common is that the woman is 35+ and all her tests and scans are normal and she has a diagnosis of 'unexplained infertility'. Whether or not the couple are considering assisted reproduction i.e. IUI, IVF, ICSI then acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be of great assistance in achieving a pregnancy.
The aim of treatment is make every part of the menstrual cycle as optimal as possible for ovulation, conception and pregnancy to occur:
- Regulating Hormones – a regular 28-30 day cycle with good quality fertile cervical mucus, pain free ovulation at midcycle, no premenstrual symptoms and a pain free period with a moderate flow of fresh red blood.
- Improve the quality of fertile mucus – this appears several days before ovulation and is needed to nourish the sperm and guide it to the egg.
- Promote an efficient menstruation – the menstrual bleeding reflects the quality of the uterine lining which is important for implantation as women with a thin lining have an association with IVF failure or recurrent miscarriages.
- Improve egg development – whilst the genetic components for a woman's eggs are composed when the woman herself is an embryo, the process of egg maturation is under the influence of her hormones which can be influenced.
It also appears possible to improve the integrity of the eggs released following acupuncture perhaps by the increased blood supply to the developing follicles or by the increased nutritional supply to the egg via the fluids that surround and nourish it.
- Encourage movement of the egg/embryo along the tubes.
- Promote implantation.
- Promote a viable pregnancy.
It is becoming increasingly common for the man's sperm to be the main factor contributing to the infertility so it is very important that he has a sperm test early on when trying to conceive to ascertain whether indeed there is a problem. If there is then he can make relevant dietary and lifestyle adjustments as well as taking appropriate supplements and herbal medicines and having acupuncture treatment.
25% of infertility is calculated to be directly due to the male partner and another 15 to 25% probably also has a male contribution.
Problems with sperm can be categorised as:
- aspermia (absence of ejaculate)
- asthenospermia (poor motility and forward movement)
- azoospermia (absence of sperm in semen)
- oligospermia (lowered sperm density)
- teratospermia (containing bizarre and immature forms)
- antisperm antibodies
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can improve all of the above with a course of treatment lasting for at least 3 months. I generally treat male infertility with acupuncture every 2-3 weeks and herbal medicine taken daily.
In a study of 40 men with sperm problems (oligospermia, asthenospermia, or teratozoospermia) acupuncture was used on 28 men twice a week for 5 weeks and compared to the men who received no treatment.
Following the 10 sessions of acupuncture there was a statistically significant increase in the % and number of sperm compared to the control group with improvements in the shape of the sperm also.
The average % of progressive motility in the ejaculate increased from 44.5% to 55% following the acupuncture treatment.
The authors concluded that "In conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, non-invasive method that can improve sperm quality."
Fertility and Sterility. 2005; 84:141-147
In a pilot study using acupuncture with men that were producing no sperm a course of acupuncture treatment resulted in seven of the fifteen men producing enough sperm to receive IVF treatment without requiring a testicular biopsy. In the control group that received no acupuncture treatment there were no men demonstrating an increase in sperm production.
Andrologia 2000 Jan; 32(1):31-9
"I had been trying to conceive for 5.5 years, with a diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’. After multiple IVF failures and seeing other general acupuncturists, I was recommended to Angelo who specialises in infertility. It was so nice to talk to an acupuncturist who fully understood the IVF process, procedures and drugs involved. I started the acupuncture just before my IVF cycle started & found Angelo professional, friendly and very personable. I found the acupuncture very helpful & relaxing, always feeling that he worked on the right points at the different stages of the process. This round of IVF was successful and I am now 13 weeks pregnant. I am so grateful to Angelo for his ongoing support and have found the acupuncture in pregnancy very helpful too."
"I came to see Angelo after a series of miscarriages which were very distressing. I had just found out I was pregnant again and was very apprehensive. Angelo has a very sensitive approach to put you at ease and knows so much re fertility and miscarriages so I really felt confident about his expertise. I had regular sessions for the first 12 weeks and maintenance ones after and am convinced the acupuncture helped me have my little baby boy. I would highly recommend him."
KR, Forest Hill