Infertility is something many couples have to deal with when they attempt to have a child. Being infertile is "not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances," as defined by the Mayo Clinic.
Infertility is unfortunately fairly common. About 10-15 percent of couples are thought to be infertile, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are many causes for infertility that may be present in the woman or the man, or both. Being infertile does not mean you will never have a baby though!
Today there are therapies and treatments that can significantly increase the chance of having a baby. They include fertility drugs, invasive surgery, assisted reproductive technology, of which in vitro fertilization is the most popular.
While all these Western medicine techniques and treatments can help to create the desired result — a baby — they can also be very invasive and expensive, as well as physically and psychologically draining.
Traditional Chinese Medicine however offers some ways to treat infertility too with a much more hands-off approach.
One of the techniques that Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have been using for thousands of years is the ancient art of acupuncture. Acupuncture is the painless insertion of many tiny needles in a strategic pattern into a person from their head to their feet.
The needles are used to activate certain energy (Qi) points in the body which is thought to bring about mental, physical, emotional, and psychological balance. They are placed at key locations on the body where there is an energy link to reproductive organs.
Being centered, relaxed and with a reduced amount of stress, can have a significant effect on one’s fertility. Many women use acupuncture in addition to Western medicine, as the combination of modern and ancient techniques may help to boost their chances of conceiving and carrying a baby.
Acupuncture may help treatments like IVF work more efficiently and effectively, and it also may help to stimulate egg production in women who choose not to take fertility drugs.
Acupuncture is not a quick fix, though. It might take two 30-minute treatments each week for up to several months before seeing any effects. And it won’t help everyone.
Women with a structural issue, like a blocked fallopian tube, or who have entered menopause most likely won’t have their fertility restored by getting acupuncture. That is why it is important to have a fertility workup by a doctor before trying acupuncture treatments.
There is a significant cost to acupuncture as well, which ranges from a few hundred dollars to over $1000. Some insurance companies cover the cost of acupuncture but others do not, if it is an infertility therapy.
When attempting to use acupuncture to assist in getting pregnant, look for a doctor that is trained and licensed in acupuncture, as well as having a background in infertility treatments.
If your medical doctor is different from your acupuncturist then it is important that they work in tandem on your infertility treatments. Also, be sure to tell your acupuncturist if you think you are or could be pregnant. Some of the energy points that help fertility could also cause a miscarriage.
While acupuncture might not work for everyone, it could be just the thing needed to make conception and pregnancy possible.
“Infertility.” Mayoclinic.org. Web. 13 April 2015.
“Ancient Art of Infertility Treatment.” Webmd.com. Web. 14 April 2015.
Reviewed April 15, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith