Acupuncture for Infertility
For thousands of years Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) have been used to help couples conceive. Research studies in both the US and abroad have shown the use of Acupuncture, and sometimes Herbs, can increase success rates for women in almost every category of infertility; whether trying on their own naturally or using forms of Assisted Reproduction such as clomid, stimulating hormones, artificial insemination (IUI), or In-vitro fertilization (IVF). For more than a decade our team has helped guide hundreds of couples through this process with less stress and better results.
How can Acupuncture help my infertility?
We still don’t have a complete understanding as to the exact action of Acupuncture’s effects on the body. However, clinical studies and 2000 years of empirical research have given us clues of what internal changes are occuring. Studies have shown that Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine:
Increase blood flow to the uterus – thickens endometrial lining + aids implantation
Increase ovarian blood flow – better ovarian response + more mature follicles
Higher live birth rate (prevents early miscarriage)
Increase male sperm count and motility
Reduce stress, promote relaxation
Regulate irregular menstrual cycles from PCOS or other causes
Reduce pre-menstrual symptoms and pain during the period
Lessen side effects from hormone treatments
Acupuncture has been clinically shown to increase the blood supply to the uterus and ovaries, as well as promote timely ovulation and an ideal luteal phase. Acupuncture seems to have a regulating effect on the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and can help make an irregular or anovulatory cycle normal. We have seen great success treating infertility issues such as High FSH (Follicle Simulating Hormone), advanced maternal age, unexplained infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, Ovulatory dysfunction, Decreased Ovarian Reserve, poor egg quality, Luteal Phase Defect, thin endometrium, irregular periods, fibroids, immunologic reaction, recurrent miscarriage, and Amenorrhea.
Below is a list of Acupuncture related research recently published in Medical journals. For more information about research and infertility information, you can also visit the American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. The links below will take you to the actual study printed on the American Board for Oriental Reproductive Medicine.
- Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture – Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Urban Waldenstrom, Sven A. Andersson and Matts Wikland
- Acupuncture Normalizes Dysfunction of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis – Bo-Ying Chen M.D., Professor of Neurobiology
- Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Experimentally Induced Polycystic Ovaries – Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Thomas Lundeberg, Urban Waldenstrom, Luigi Manni, Luigi Aloe, Stefan Gunnarsson, and Per Olof Janson
- Substitution of Acupuncture for HCG in Ovulation Induction – Cai Xuefen, Obstetrical & Gynecological Hospital, Zhejiang Medical University, Zhejiang Province
- Relationship Between Blood Radioimmunoreactive Beta-Endorphin and Hand Skin Temperature During The Electro-Acupuncture Induction of Ovulation – Chen Bo Ying M.D. Lecturer of Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture Research, and Yu Jin, MD., Prof of Gynecology, Obstetricus and Gynecology Hospital Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
- Role of acupucture in the treatment of female infertility – Raymond Chang, M.D., The Institute of East-West Medicine, The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Pak H. Chung, M.D., The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility.
In Vitro Fertilization
- Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy – Wolfgang E. Paulus, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Mingmin Zhang, M.D., Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. Erwin Strehler, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Imam El-Danasouri, Ph.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. and Karl Sterzik, M.D. Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut
- Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Zheng CH, Huang GY, Zhang MM, Wang W. Fertil Steril. 2012 Mar; 97(3):599-611.
- Acupuncture Treatment For Infertile Women Undergoing Intracytoplasmic Sperm injection – Sandra L. Emmons, MD, Phillip Patton, MD
- Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial – Lars G. Westergaard, M.D., Ph.D., Qunhui Mao, M.D., Marianne Krogslund, Steen Sandrini, Suzan Lenz, M.D., Ph.D., and Jørgen Grinsted, M.D., Ph.D.
- Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer – Caroline Smith, Ph.D., Meaghan Coyle, B.Hlth.Sc. (Acup.), and Robert J. Norman, M.D.
- Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study – Stefan Dieterle, M.D., Gao Ying, M.D., Wolfgang Hatzmann, M.D., and Andreas Neuer, M.D.
My experience at the Healing Arts Center was extremely positive, and I would recommend this office to anyone trying to have a baby. I only wish my Dr. had recommended it from the beginning, because I am so confident it had an impact on my success! While my Dr. didn’t ever proactively recommend accupuncture, he was also quick to cite its proven benefits for fertility when I brought it up. It should be a standard part of all IVF cycles! The research is there to back up that it helps, and I also found that I just loved going to accupuncture. Steve is incredible and always took so much time to listen to me, and I found each visit incredibly relaxing. The staff there are also extremely kind and responsive, and I could be in and out of the office without much waiting. Highly recommended all around! Can’t wait to bring in my baby when he or she is born in May.
Caden was born in May 2013
After 2 failed IVF attempts and being told by 2 different fertility doctors that I had diminished ovarian reserve and less than 5% chance of conceiving, I decided that my last hope was to try acupuncture. My fertility doctor only recommended one place and that was the Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia and Steve Mavros. After 2 months of weekly acupuncture, I attempted my next IVF cycle. The improvements from the acupuncture were incredible! The first IVF cycle I went through without acupuncture, I had 5 eggs and only 2 could be retrieved. Neither implanted. The 2nd IVF attempt without acupuncture yielded the same results. Neither egg fertilized. Then, after my weekly acupuncture treatments, there were 10 eggs. They were able to retrieve 7 eggs and 5 fertilized! A HUGE improvement from the first 2 IVF cycles. The end result – I am currently 5 1/2 months pregnant! This miracle would not have happened without the help of Steve Mavros and the Healing Arts Center. I highly recommend their services. They are professional and caring. Each week I felt reassured by Steve and actually left feeling much better than when I walked in. The office staff (Amy) is efficient and does a great job with scheduling. My appointments were always honored on time and I would recommend this process to anyone!
From Yelp in January of 2011
I went to the Philadelphia Healing Arts Center for 10 weeks and got pregnant after trying for 2 years. My husband and I have been seeing a fertility specialist and hadn’t had any success with multiple IUIs. We decided to take a break and got pregnant without any extra help – except the acupuncture! There are 3 acupuncturists in the office. I saw both Sheri and Steve and couldn’t be happier. Very compassionate, knowledgeable and loved the Saturday and evening hours.
J and her husband conceived in March, 2008. (review from citysearch)
From Tom and Dana
Steve thank you so much for all your help and guidance throughout a process of too many tears and joys. My husband and I both received treatment`as his sperm count was only 10 million and my pcos made my cycles very irregular. After the 2nd month I had the first 28 day cycle of my life. After the 3rd month Tom’s count had gone up to 27 million. The 4th month we finally saw that evil stick show a second line! Tom, Justin and I all thank you!
Justin was born on 8/03/06. Dana is 33 years old.
The combination of Acupuncture and therapy is what did it for me. I came to Steve as a last resort before IVF. I had done 4 inseminations with clomid and wanted to take a break. 1 month off medication and on Acupuncture and that’s all it took. I give some credit to the therapy as well as it was the least stressed I had been throughout the whole process.
Casey was born on 10/03/05. Shirley is 35 years old.
Essentially every RE I went to gave me the donor speech and told me I would never conceive on my own. It was by no means fast, but after about 7 months of accupuncture and teapills we were able to conceive!! Steve was nothing but great and patient because it was a hectic and crazy ride. The acu/herb combo actually let me get sleep through the whole process so I can’t recommend it more. It was fun sending those RE’s baby pics after all that negativity.
Jacob was born on 01/18/05. Michelle is 39 years old.
The biggest change I noticed with acupuncture was the ability to relax. During the embryo transfer of my first IVF cycle, the stress level was so high and I was unable to relax no matter what I did. Receiving acupuncture before and immediately after embryo transfer of my 2nd IVF cycle made a huge difference. I was very relaxed and felt no stress. It gave me a positive feeling that this cycle would be a success…and it was.
Sarah Jane was born on 07/23/03. Bobette is 37 years old.
My experience was an extremely positive one! Steven explained every aspect of my treatment as it was being administered. He was always willing to be as flexible as need be to coordinate treatment with my infertility care, and a real support through a difficult time. Steven treated me for approximately 2 months before providing treatment coordinated with my IVF procedure. I became pregnant on the 2nd try and with the added acupuncture treatment and I strongly believe it was a factor in that cycle’s success. It was a great experience, provided for me a successful pregnancy and increased my belief in alternative forms of medicine.
Tristan Jon was born on 6/13/03. Karen is 40 years old.
Below is a list of superbly qualified Acupuncturists who specialize in infertility and we recommend. If someone in your location isn’t listed here, use the contact form and ask us for other recommendations.
*Westlake Complementary Medicine
Raymond E. Rubio, DAOM, LAc
900 Hampshire Rd, Ste B/C
Westlake Village, CA 91361
*The Fertile Soul Retreats
Randine Lewis, LAc, PhD
26 Glen Cove
Arden, NC 28704
Toll Free: 1-866-4MYFERTILITY or 1-866-469-3378
*Oriental Health Solutions, LLC
Dagmar Ehling, MAc, LAc, DOM(NM), Dipl OM
907 Broad St.
Durham, NC 27705, USA
*Acubalance Wellness Centre
Dr. Lorne Brown, B.Sc., R.Ac., Dr.TCM
Suite 250 – 828 West 8th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1E2, Canada
*Eastern Harmony Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic
Sadhna Singh, LAc
4611 Montrose Blvd, Suite A201
Houston, TX 77006
*NEST – integrative health & fertility
Caylie See, MS, LAc
1100 So. Eliseo Dr., Suite 108
Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone: (415) 461-3200 x2
*The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia
Steve Mavros, LAc, MAOM
123 Chestnut St., Ste 204
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Gerald Williams, LAc (CA), DA (RI), MSTOM
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 877-843-7100 x 513
*Eastern Center for Complementary Medicine, Inc.
Brandon Horn, JD, PhD(c), LAc & Wendy Yu, PhD(c), LAc
5910 Monterey Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Phone: (323) 551-5962
*East Winds Acupuncture, Inc.
Diane K. Cridennda, LAc
1422 N. Hancock Suite 5 South
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 520-5056
*Tao Of Wellness
Daoshing Ni, DOM, LAc, PhD, Dipl CH
1131 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Martin J. Herbkersman, MTOM, LAc, DAc
1920 Bull Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29210