- Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) are used extensively in the treatment of infertility, both to promote a natural pregnancy and also in conjunction with IVF treatments and other drug therapies in assisted conception.
There have been two major researches on the effect of acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in relation to IVF treatments, a German Research on Acupuncture and ART and the research into Chinese Herbal Medicine by The University of Adelaide into the effects of CHM on pregnancy rates compared with Western Medical Drug Therapy.
- The German Study on Acupuncture & ART (Christian –Lauritzen- Institute , ULM, Germany)
Prospective Randomized Study Results Published:
FERTILITY AND STERILITY® VOL. 77, NO. 4, APRIL 2002
- Objective: To evaluate the effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in assisted reproduction therapy (ART) by comparing a group of patients receiving acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer with a control group receiving no acupuncture.
After giving informed consent, 160 patients who were undergoing ART and who had good quality embryos were divided into the following two groups through random selection: embryo transfer with acupuncture (n = 80) and embryo transfer without acupuncture (n = 80).
The result of this study was that using acupuncture with IVF achieved a 42.5% clinical pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group, compared to 26.3%in the control group that did not receive acupuncture. This study involved giving acupuncture FOR JUST ONE DAY, shortly before and after the transfer of embryos.
Conclusion(s): Acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rate after ART. (Fertil Steril®2002;77:721- 4. ©2002 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.)
- The research done by University of Adelaide shows that Chinese Herbal Medicine may be twice as effective for Infertility as Conventional therapies.
(Summery of the study published in December2011 in the USA Journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.1)
The range of studies involved 1,851 women aged between 18-45.
The results over a four-month period showed that the likelihood of achieving pregnancy with Chinese herbal medicine are 3.5 times greater than conventional drug therapy alone. Their findings showed that CHM achieved on average a 60% fertility rate, compared to 30% with western medical drug treatment or IVF. This is twice more effective than conventional drug treatments for infertility or IVF.
The reasons for infertility in those women in the study group included endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), amenorrhea and advanced maternal age.
The conclusion of this research indicated that Chinese medicine diagnosis and the differentiation of syndromes were fundamental to successful treatment of infertility. The findings also suggested that the quality of the menstrual cycle, a key therapeutic objective in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is crucial to the successful treatment of infertility in women.
Adelaide University study included women who have been diagnosed with primary and secondary infertility with various Chinese Medical diagnoses.
- Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help gynaecological disorders that contributes to infertility:
- Amenorrhea (no periods)
- Irregular menstruation,
- Anovulation (absence of ovulation)
- Blocked phellopian tubes
- Uterine fibroids
- Elevated FSH
- Low AMH
- Thinning of endometrial wall
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Premature ovarian failure (POF)
- Poor egg quality
- Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can benefit fertility
Whether through natural conception or through IVF, IUI, and other ARTs
- In female patients it can help regulate hormones to improve ovarian function to produce better quality eggs. It also increases the number of follicles and promotes the flow of blood to the Uterus to thicken the endometrial lining. Overall, it helps to strengthen the woman’s immune system and helps her to relax thus reducing the risk of uterine contraction and miscarriage.
- In male patients it can help to improve sperm quality and quantity, which increases the chances of creating a healthy and viable embryo.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine and Natural Pregnancy
It is beneficial to receive acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine ideally three months before trying to conceive. In traditional Chinese medicine it is expected three months to make a significant change in the body.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine and IVF
It is recommended to receive acupuncture three months prior to the IVF procedure but if late, it is still beneficial to go head with the acupuncture sessions. The sessions will regulate the body’s functions prior to the IVF treatment and increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy and preventing miscarriage.Sometimes within these few months the menstrual cycle normalizes and the patient can become pregnant naturally.