laughing baby playing with motherResearch suggests that acupuncture can increase the chances of conceiving successfully (both naturally and through IVF) as it prepares the body for conception and pregnancy. Acupuncturist Maria Maher explains how this ancient Chinese therapy could help to boost fertility.

With one in every six couples experiencing difficulty in becoming parents nowadays, it is not surprising that more and more people are turning to acupuncture for help. Acupuncture, a branch of medicine that originated in China, has been used for centuries to treat fertility issues. The W.H.O. (World Health Organisation) recognises its effectiveness in doing so and there have been several studies showing that it is safe and effective in treating fertility and infertility, as well as menstrual/reproductive issues, for both men and women.

How does acupuncture help?
There are many ways in which acupuncture can assist.
> It can increase the blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormones, improve the quality of eggs, sperm and embryos, help prevent miscarriage and help relieve the stress that trying for a baby can too often cause.
> For couples who are trying to conceive with the help of Assisted Reproductive Techniques
(ART, i.e.: IVF, IUI, ovulation induction), acupuncture will complement the
conventional treatment they are having and/or the medications they are prescribed. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (pre- and post-transfer) has been shown to increase the success of IVF by as much as 65%.
> Acupuncture also helps men and women who have conditions that affect their fertility. For women, these include conditions such as Polycystic Ovaries (PCO), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, thyroid issues, ovulation issues, irregular menstrual cycles or low ovarian reserve. It can be beneficial for men who have issues such as low sperm count, poor sperm morphology or varicoceles.

Tailored treatment
In Chinese medicine, the body is viewed as one whole energy system and, as such, the root cause of a condition is treated, as well as the symptoms experienced. It works at an emotional, spiritual and physical level. Each condition has its own diagnosis in terms of traditional Chinese medicine and no individual is treated in the same way. A lot of emphasis is placed on diet and lifestyle and recommendations are made as appropriate.

Read More: Acupuncture and fertility full article.