My husband and I had been trying to conceive with no success for almost 2 years.  We were on the waiting list for NHS IVF and were both incredibly stressed and upset by the whole situation. After approximately 12 weeks treatment, my husband and I had a positive pregnancy test (without IVF!). I would (and frequently do!) recommend acupuncture with Lin to anyone who has experienced difficulty or delay in conception.  ——- Amanda

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be used to treat those who have been diagnosed with certain conditions or those who merely want some help to achieve natural conception.

Common factors that risk fertility:

  • Age
  • Emotional factors: depression and stress
  • Environment/occupational factors: excessive and prolonged exposure high temperature, pesticide, toxic heavy metals, chemicals, radiation, heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions, etc.
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine
  • Body mass index: being overweight and being underweight
  • Medication: such as antidepressants, chemotherapeutic agents, ibuprofen (if taken chronically), etc.

How can acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine influence infertility?

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine affect the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis, thus balancing hormones. Meanwhile, treatments help improve ovarian function, promote ovulation, increases blood flow to the uterus, thicken the endometrial lining, which also gives a better chance of embryo implantation.

For male, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have shown that they can affect hormone levels and testicular blood flow. Chinese herbal medicine, in particular, offers a significant improvement in sperm count, motility, morphology and liquefaction, it can also treat varicocele and anti-sperm antibody.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can treat infertility due to:

For female:

  • Natural conception
  • Support for IVF, ICSI or IUI
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Irregular periods
  • Amenorrhea / Absent periods
  • PCOS
  • Endometriosis
  • High FSH
  • Low AMH
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Luteal phase defect
  • High prolactin / Hyperprolactinemia
  • Annovulation
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Ovarian dysfunction
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Fallopian tube blockage

For male:

  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm motility
  • Poor sperm morphology
  • Liquefaction problem
  • Low testosterone
  • Varicocele
  • Anti-sperm antibodies

World Health Organisation (WHO 2010) guidelines for assessing male infertility

  • Volume: 1.5 ml
  • Concentration: 15 million/ml
  • Progressive motility: 32%
  • Morphology (normal forms): 4%

World Health Organisation (WHO 1999) guidelines for assessing male infertility

  • Volume: 2 ml
  • Concentration: 20 million/ml
  • Progressive motility: 50%
  • Morphology (normal forms): 14%

When should the treatment start?

It takes at least 3 months for immature eggs to mature enough to be released at ovulation, and it takes the same amount of time for sperm to be developed mature. Therefore, at least 3 months should be given to prepare for conception.

Further reading – Fertility & IVF archive