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What is infertility?
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs one of the body's most basic functions: the conception of children.
A couple is considered infertile if the woman does not conceive a child after one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse or she has been unable to carry a pregnancy to a live birth. The diagnosis is sped up for women over 35--treatment is normally recommended after six months of trying to conceive.
What are the causes of infertility?
Roughly one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors and another one-third to factors that affect women. For the remaining infertile couples, infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners (about 13%) or is unexplained (about 10%).
The most common causes of male infertility include azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced) and oligospermia (few sperm cells are produced). Sometimes, sperm cells are malformed or they die before they can reach the egg. In rare cases, male infertility is caused by a genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality.
The most common cause of female infertility is an ovulation disorder. Other causes of female infertility include blocked fallopian tubes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. Repeated miscarriages may be caused by congenital anomalies (birth defects) involving the structure of the uterus and uterine fibroids.
How can acupuncture heal infertility?
- Needles used to stimulate occupants: to get pregnant, it is necessary to be in properly balanced physical and emotional conditions. In order to bring all aspects of the body into balance, acupuncture practitioners use needles to stimulate the selected acupuncture points according to diagnosis of an individual case. The stimulation may enhance general energy, improve reduced organ functions, harmonise the reproductive system and other systems, and subsequently alter blood pressure, body temperature and chemicals (e.g. hormones required for pregnancy) flowing through the body.
- Improves blood flow to organs involved in pregnancy: helps improve blood flow in the ovaries and the uterine arteries to build a stronger uterine lining in infertile women.
- Acupuncture changes endorphin, pituitary, and ovarian hormone levels: these hormones impact the menstrual cycle to help regulate ovulation.
- Improve sperm production and quality: the number and the quality of the sperm is crucial in male infertility. By enhancing general well-being, relaxing emotion, improving blood flow to testicule and altering the levels of relevant hormones, acupuncture is particularly useful in treating male infertility.
- "Calming the spirit”: In addition to the chemical effects of acupuncture, the process can also relax the abdominal muscles, which is sometimes a major cause of the inability to fertilise an egg. More subjectively, acupuncture patients often feel more relaxed and calmer after receiving the treatment, which by itself can increase the flow of energy through the body.
- Combination of treatments: Acupuncture is often coupled with Chinese herbal remedies, reflexology, or Chinese massage (Tui Na) in order to tune body to an ideal status ready for conception in a relatively short period. Although it is common that such treatments are applied as the preparation for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), these treatments can lead to successful natural pregnancy alone. In some IVF failed cases, acupuncture still showed extraordinary effects and succeeded in pregnancy.
Medical research on acupuncture for infertility
- Acupuncture is a holistic approach to medicine:This means acupuncture treats illnesses by looking at many aspects of an individual’s life, and not only the illness in question. For example, an acupuncture practitioner will likely ask you about your environment, nutrition, emotional and psychological status, and medical history before determining the most appropriate treatments
- High success rate in some studies: Most studies on acupuncture for infertility have been performed with groups of women who are simultaneously undergoing In Vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer. This combination has shown to increase the success rate for pregnancy, with up to 65% fertility rate compared with the 25-35% average success rate for patients who undergo In Vitro fertilisation without acupuncture.
- Main benefit – relaxes uterine contractions: Studies have shown that acupuncture doesn’t seem to actually increase the quality or quantity of eggs; rather, the therapy’s primary advantage is that it can relax uterus contractions, thereby increasing blood flow and creating a more fertile environment.
- Reduces risk of miscarriage: Other studies show that acupuncture may also reduce the risk of miscarriage in women who undergo In Vitro with acupuncture by about half. A possible reason for this benefit is that by increasing the absorption of nutrients and hormones, acupuncture can help strengthen the lining of the uterus. In addition, acupuncture can strengthen the immune system, which also helps to prevent miscarriage.
- Side-effects: minimal
Is acupuncture for infertility right for you?
Have you been trying to become pregnant using Western medicine, and it still isn’t working?
Are you currently trying In Vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer?
Is the cause of your infertility problems functional?
If your answers are "yes" for above questions, it is very possible we can help you.
It is important to bear in mind:
- Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Therapy alone can significantly increase the natural pregnant rate among the infertile couples;
- Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Therapy can remarkably increase the success rate of IVF;
- Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Therapy can still be effective even if the IVF failed;
- Many infertility cases are due to functional causes, therefore being "curable";
- In many infertility cases there is no physical cause found. Instead, emotional and psychological status may be the key in these cases where acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be extremely useful and effective;
- Infertility is not a "woman’s" problem. Male infertility is about one third of the total infertility