Acupuncture and Fertility


IVF & Oriental Medicine
How Oriental Medicine Can Improve IUI/IVF
50 Fertility Awareness Questions
Jane Lytteton’s Approach
Acupuncture & IVF Research and Articles


IVF and Oriental Medicine alina-2

In Oriental Medicine, we consider infertility (like many other physical ailments) to be caused by an imbalance in one or more of the 12 meridians that conduct energy throughout the body. By helping to remove blockages to an individual’s energy channels and to restore balance, acupuncture offers an efficient treatment for infertility.The specific causes of infertility vary from patient to patient, so the treatment will also vary by individual. Some patients may benefit from acupuncture treatments alone; some patients should focus on stress reduction first; some need to work on their gynecological problems first, and others may benefit from using Chinese herbal medicine or other nutritional supplements with the acupuncture treatments. RE searching website called “Fertility IQ”  has listed acupuncture as the one of modality to improve the chances of getting pregnant.

My fertility treatments incorporate fertility awareness and practical tips with Oriental medicine. I will help you identify your individual fertility signals and the peak times each month that you should try to get pregnant. I will educate you on how to incorporate changes to your diet, exercise regimen, and lifestyle to improve your fertility. I will also guide you on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. More and more infertility patients are aware of the benefit of combining Western and Oriental Medicine to achieve their goal. Patients can combine acupuncture treatments with treatments such as intra-uterine insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to enhance the success of fertility. I recommend that IVF patients start their acupuncture treatments at least one month before their scheduled IVF cycle.

I work as a team with my patients and their partners to achieve the goals of fertility and healthy Photo Nov 23, 10 54 01 AMbirths. While I cannot guarantee pregnancy for any individual, a large portion of my practice is devoted to fertility. This part of my practice has grown as a result of word-of-mouth referrals from patients who have successfully become pregnant and achieved healthy births with the help of acupuncture treatments. One of my patients had tried IUI six times and IVF twice before she sought help from Oriental Medicine.  After she had started her acupuncture treatments with me, she reported that the number of follicles, as well as their size and health, improved, and she is now pregnant. Another patient had also tried IUI six times and IVF twice; in addition to her own gynecological issues, her husband’s sperm count was very low. I treated both this woman and her husband once a week for three months before their third IVF treatment, and they are now the very proud and happy parents of twins. Especially, if you are diagnosed as “unexplained infertility” or you have very healthy follicle growth and good numbers of high-grade embryos, yet  your IUI / IVF failed, I highly suggest getting acupuncture treatment
with IUI /IVF.

What an ultrasound shows before and after the acupuncture treatment is remarkable!
The color of women’s ovaries changes from cloudy to bright and clear.
The follicles usually double in number.
The lining of the uterus become thicker.
The number of embryos increases significantly.


 How Oriental Medicine Can Help Patients Improve IUI/IVF

10 Ways Acupuncture Helps

(Lifang Liang, O.M.D., Ph.D., L.Ac., Acupuncture and IVF(page xxiii), August 2006)

    1. Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs.
    2. Regulate the hormones to produce a larger number of maturefollicles.
    3. Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining.
    4. Reduce stress and promote relaxation.
    5. Prevent the uterus from contracting.
    6. Lessen the side effect of drugs used in IVF.
    7. Strengthen the immune system.
    8. Experience less side effects from the western drugs and feel more at ease and happy.
    9 .Increase live birth rate by preventing early miscarriage.
    10.Improve semen to create better quality and quantity of embryos.”

How Does Acupuncture Work for Infertility?

Traditional acupuncture involves inserting thin stainless-steel disposable needles into points on the surface of the skin, causing an exchange of electrons within the body, similar to the flow of electricity. This transfer sets in motion an elegant interplay of the body’s own energies. According to Western scientific research, acupuncture’s effects on the body cn be explained by a number of theories. Robert Becker is a researcher in electrophysiology, the study of the relationship of electrical fields to the human body. He was one of the first to use microcurrents to help heal bone fractures. Becker theorized that acupuncture meridians were paths of electrical energy running throughout the body. For electrical energy to flow smoothly, however, there would have to be “amplifiers” along the lines of current.

Another theory addresses the neurological effects of acupuncture. Neural theory holds that inserting needles at acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system, releasing chemicals to either alleriate pain or affect the body’s internal regulation system.  Acupuncture needles also stimulate specific nerve fibers to carry electrical impulses back to the brain, increasing beta-endorphin concentrations. Higher beta-endorphin concentrations reduce the sympathetic “fight or flight” response in the body and produce a feeling of relaxation and euphoria similar to runner’s high. This is one of the reasons people often feel more relaxed after an acupuncture treatment.

Different acupuncture points have different effects. Some will decrease the sympathetic nervous system response which becomes important for women who are trying to conceive and are stressed about it. Some points actually cause changes within the cells. Some effect alterations in the brain’s chemicals; others can effect chemical changes within the uterine lining. Some improve circulation, and others have mainly local effects.

Points work via feedback. The body is a system of reactions and feedback: something happens with a nerve, which causes something to happen in the brain, which signals neurochemical changes, hormone level changes, or a million other responses. It is like a chain reaction – for example, when you stimulate a specific acupuncture point, it invigorate the blood, sending the whole body a message specific to that point and producing blood-thinning chemical reactions. When you stimulate different combinations of points, you can create even greater results and see those results more quickly. But each specific point, as well as each meridian, has a different function, and the art is in orchestrating a combination that achieves the desired effect.

(Randine Lewis, Ph.D., The Infertility Cure, chapter 7, page 102-103, published in January 2004)

Would you like to learn more about the history of acupuncture – click angelahere !

How Does Acupuncture Integrate with IVF?

Research has shown tremendous benefit in using Acupuncture to increase the success rates of IVF. The research began with a German study in April, 2002 that was published in Fertility & Sterility, a well respected infertility journal, that included over 160 women undergoing IVF. The study showed conclusively that the use of Acupuncture with IVF had a significantly higher success rate (42.5% success rate) than a normal transfer without acupuncture (26.3% success rate). In the year since that study, similar ones have been performed in Denmark, U.S. (Colorado), and China and all have shown not only this approximate 15-20% boost in pregnancy rates, but also that the benefits last all the way through the pregnancy. Other research has shown that leading up to the transfer, Acupuncture produces a greater number of follicles in poor responders, greater blood flow to the uterus, which improves the endometrial lining, and reduced stress and tension. Put all of these benefits together and Acupuncture can change a long shot procedure into a likely success. It means more hope, fewer cycles, and a shorter wait for what you most desire. All forms of ART are physically and emotionally draining. Acupuncture is not magic, but with Acupuncture, your odds of success will go up greatly.


Fertility Awareness Issues – 50 questions:

The following is the sample of questions I will ask you on the first visit whether you are planning to get pregnant naturally or through IUI / IVF:

Lifestyle

Do you notice your feet are always cold even in summer time?

Do you wear a pair of socks when you sleep?

What kind of (and how much) exercise do you do?

Do you suffer from migraine headaches or pain behind eyes or eyebrows?

Do you feel often tired/a strong desire to take a nap?

Do you have strong cravings for sugar and/or salt?

Do you often have a pain between the scapula (shoulder wing) and spine on one side?

Do you often wake up between 1-3 am and are not able to go back to sleep?

Do you have dark circles around or under your eyes?Are they getting darker over the last couple of years?

Is your energy lower after a meal?

Do you bruise easily?

Have you been diagnosed with low blood pressure?

Are you often weak? Do you tend to get sick (or catch cold) easier than other people?

Are you prone to getting chapped lips?

Are your fingernail and toenails brittle?

Do you have a difficulty driving at night?

How many symptoms do you have from the following list – (Adrenal Exhaustion)? * I offer health system survey test (300 questions), hair analysis, and saliva testing if necessary.*

Push this area on your foot – –> Spleen meridian #6 point Tender for you ? This is the major “improve fertility” point to remember.

Food, Vitamins, Health

Do you take synthetic or whole food based prenatal vitamins? If you do not know which one, the label said “folic acid” – synthetic vs “folate” – whole food based vitamins. (There is a huge difference!)

Do you like to eat dairy products – cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream?

Do you have problems eating daily product (lacto or casein intolerance)?

Do you have problems digesting wheat products (gluten)?

Do you like to eat dark leafy green vegetables (kales, collard green, swiss chard, broccoli)?

Do you take a pycnogenol or OPC-3 supplement on daily basis?

Do you take Magnesium supplement every day ? Vitamin D?

How many glasses of water do you drink everyday? More than 64 oz per day?

Do you drink soft drinks regularly?

Have you get tested positive for thyroid antibodies?

Have you get tested positive for Anti-Cardiolipin Antibody Test (ACA) ?

Have you get tested positive for Anti Nuclear Antibody (ANA) ?

Have you had your Vitamin D level (serum testing) tested? Vitamin B-12?

Have you ben screend for MTHFR (serum testing)? – gene mutation problem causes miscarriages

Do you have any autoimmune problems? (AIED-autoimmune inner ear disease, meniere’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, plantar fasciitis, hypothyroidism, hashimoto’s disease, Raynaud’s phenomenon, lupus, grave’s disease, behcet’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, pernicious anemia/B12 deficiency,guillan-barre, mononucleosis, harada’s syndrome, epstein-barr virus, celiac disease, ms etc…

Menstrual/Fertility

What is your menstrual cycle for the last 3 months? Less than 25 days/30 or longer (healthy regular cycle is 27-31 days)

How many days do you usually bleed (not count spotting) ? Less than 3 days, 5 days, more than 5 days

Do you experience spotting before or after the period? If you do, how many days do you spot and when do you spot ?

What is your color of blood when you menstruate? Dark red to purplish or red? (healthy flow should be moderate and healthy red color)

Do you suffer from PMS symptoms? (moodiness, headache, cramp, low back pain, breast pain, etc.)

Do you have a cramp on the left lower abdominal area on your 1st day of period? (healthy cycle – little pain or cramping)

Do you take any pain medication like Mortrin, Advil during the menstrual period ?

Do you pass clots ? What’s the color & size? How many/often?

Do you have any gynecological problems or have you had any procedures done previously?

Have you had a gynecological examination recently?

How long have you been trying to conceive?

Are you aware of when you are ovulating? Do you have any signs of ovulation?

Are you aware of your cervical mucus and the quality (thick, stretchy, watery or dry)?

Do you notice your cervical mucus secretion a couple of days before the ovulation?

Do you keep a Basal Body Temperature (BBT) chart?

Does your partner have any infertility issues?

Were you on birth control pills for many years?

Do you have PCOS?


Jane Lyttleton’s Approach

Jane Lyttleton is renowned, inspirational, and very well known fertility acupuncturist practicing in Australia. I will list her approach as follows:



 Acupuncture & IVF Research and Articles (and more on fertility resources page)