Both men and women are affected by infertility.
Worldwide an increasing number of couples are facing problems with infertility. The World Health Organization recognizes the number of couples suffering from infertility to be around 48 million. Our way of living is impairing our body's ability to perform the basic function of reproduction. Obesity, tobacco use, alcohol, chronic stress, pollution and endocrine disruptors are some of the main factors that disturb women and men’s reproductive capabilities.
Both men and women are affected by infertility. Studies have shown that one Swiss man in four suffers from low sperm count with reduced fertility. Sperm quality has decreased by 50% since 1960. Abnormal shape, low count, reduced mobility are all factors that can make conception challenging. Causes can be genetic factors, inflammation of the testicles and other diseases. In women organic disorders (e.g., ovulatory disorders, tubal disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis) and lifestyle factors are highly associated with female infertility. 25% percent of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility.
Acupuncture, as a nonpharmacologic therapy, has been shown to improve the menstrual cycle and the ovulation through regulating the nervous & endocrine system, the blood flow to the uterus & ovaries and the metabolism. On top of this, acupuncture can help with stress and anxiety. The challenges of trying to conceive without success are extremely debilitating. People often feel lonely and hopeless. Because of the delicate balance between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and reproductive glands, stress is capable of altering and reducing fertility. Acupuncture treatment counters the effects of stress and cortisol by releasing endorphins in the brain.
If the conception doesn't happen naturally after a while procedures such as IVF or ICSI will often be offered as a solution by western medicine. Most of the time, the procedure will be repeated several times before having a positive pregnancy. Acupuncture can help create a favorable environment for the embryo to implant and help secure the pregnancy. Current evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization. Acupuncture has been widely applied as an infertility treatment and has achieved great progress around the world. It also reduces the stress and anxiety related to the whole experience making the journey a little easier.
B.Med. Albane Thorn & Dr. Med. Raymond Landgraaf
- Dieterle, S., Ying, G., Hatzmann, W., & Neuer, A. (2006). Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Fertility and sterility, 85(5), 1347-1351.
- Huang, D. M., Huang, G. Y., Lu, F. E., Stefan, D., & Robert, G. (2011). Acupuncture for infertility: Is it an effective therapy?. Chinese journal of integrative medicine, 17(5), 386.
- Smith, C., Coyle, M., & Norman, R. J. (2006). Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Fertility and sterility, 85(5), 1352-1358.
- Manheimer et al. (2008). Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ
- Zhu et al. (2018) Acupuncture Treatment for Fertility. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 6(9):1685-1687.
- Yun et al (2019) Acupuncture for infertile women without undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART): A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore) 98(29):e16463.
- World Health Organisation (2020), Infertility , accessed 15/12/2020.