Can Acupuncture Improve Fertility?

By: Dr. Lesley D'Souza, ND, Apr 04, 2016
Dr. Lesley D'Souza, Oakville, Naturopathic Doctor

The answer is YES!

I frequently get asked the question if acupuncture can help improve fertility. The answer is YES!

Acupuncture can increase fertility by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, reducing stress and balancing the endocrine system. The goal treatment is not just to get pregnant but to stay pregnant and have a healthy baby.

Acupuncture consists of gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable, sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body. Over 2000 acupuncture points on the human body connect with 14 major pathways, called meridians. These meridians conduct Qi, or energy between the surface of the body and internal organs. When the flow of Qi is disrupted through poor health habits or other circumstances, pain and/or disease can result. Acupuncture helps to unblock this normal flow of Qi, which can increase fertility.

While 40% of infertility is caused by problems in the female such as anovulation, hormone imbalances, endometriosis, and PCOS, another 40% is caused by issues in the male such as low sperm count or motility. The remaining 20% is caused by unknown factors.

One of the ways acupuncture increases fertility is by reducing stress, which is often an important factor in the fertility of both men and women. When people are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released in the brain. This alters the brain’s neurochemical balance which then changes hormone levels and disrupts the pituitary balance that is essential to the reproductive cycle. This can lead to menstrual cycle irregularities and issues with ovulation which contribute to the causes of infertility. Stress can also create spasms in both the uterus and fallopian tubes, which can interfere with movement and implantation of a fertilized egg. Acupuncture can also help improve sperm count in men.

Studies have also shown that when used in conjunction with fertility treatments (ART), acupuncture increases conception rate by 26%. So whether you are undergoing IUI or IVF, acupuncture would be a great additional treatment.

Dr. Lesley D’Souza, ND began her studies at the University of Toronto, obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Human Biology with a minor in psychology. She then received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario which is an accredited four-year, intensive post-graduate naturopathic medical program. As part of her studies, Dr. Lesley completed a twelve-month internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, the largest naturopathic clinic in North America.