There is substantial research showing improved effectiveness of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment if done in conjunction with acupuncture. Studies have also shown acupuncture to be effective for normalizing the function of the ovaries in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). We have used it along with other naturopathic treatments to help many patients (with or without IVF) to achieve a healthy term pregnancy. It is safe, extremely effective, minimally uncomfortable and there is no risk of infection as we only use sterile disposable needles at Forces of Nature. The needles themselves are not much thicker than a hair. Skillfully inserted, they stay in for about 20 minutes, stimulated once or twice during the treatment and are then removed and discarded. Because they are so thin you may be aware that the needles are in you, but they are not sufficient to cause discomfort or pain. On removal, there is minimal bleeding and occasionally some light bruising. Some research suggests that acupuncture can also reduce the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
I recommend that patients continue acupuncture once per week for 6 weeks initially to build a foundation. After that, we maintain the benefits of treatment once per month. In those undergoing IVF, we will do a treatment the day before and the day of the transfer.
Medically Reviewed by Dr Pamela Frank
A Sample of the Acupuncture Research
There is much more research on acupuncture for infertility, this is just a small sampling:
- Combined therapy of acupuncture, herbal medicine and clomiphene improves the pregnancy rate and reduces early abortion rate: Jiang D, Zhang Y, Wu X, Wu S. Infertility in polycystic ovary syndrome treated with acupuncture and clomiphene: a randomized controlled trial. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2015 Feb;35(2):114-8.
- Electroacupuncture increases the high-quality egg rate and high-quality embryo rate: Lian F, Chen C, Xiang S. Improvement of the oocyte quality with electroacupuncture in infertility patients of kidney deficiency pattern Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2015 Feb;35(2):109-13.
- Acupuncture, selenium supplementation, weight loss, and psychotherapeutic intervention had 3 or more studies demonstrating beneficial effect: Clark NA, Will M, Moravek MB, Fisseha S.A systematic review of the evidence for complementary and alternative medicine in infertility. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013 Sep;122(3):202-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2013.03.032. Epub 2013 Jun 21.