In the past decade, acupuncture has gained wide acceptance in the United States as a safe and effective treatment for infertility. Major research projects have shown that acupuncture can increase the chances of conception and decrease the chances of miscarriage. Modern studies have shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the uterus while decreasing blood flow impedance. Despite these groundbreaking studies, many women remain uneducated and misinformed about how acupuncture can help them. In this article, I hope to explain how acupuncture can benefit women who suffer from infertility and how it can be used in conjunction with traditional treatments such as IVF.
Acupuncturists and Western doctors take a similar approach to treating infertility. They must first ask questions, examine the patient, and from this information deduce why the patient is infertile. Acupuncturists often rely on results from Western diagnostics to help them arrive at the correct treatment. For example, a patient may have been diagnosed with endometriosis and irregular FSH levels by their doctor. Armed with this information, the acupuncturist can aim to reverse the effects of endometriosis and take steps to correct FSH levels. Acupuncture has been proven to be effective for many of the major causes of infertility and has also been proven to be able to regular chemical balances in the human body. Where many western treatments often focus on reducing symptoms, acupuncture aims to fix the root of the problem.
One of the greatest advantages of acupuncture treatment is that it is especially effective when used in conjunction with traditional western treatments for infertility. Many women receive acupuncture treatment in conjunction with IVF and ICSI. A research study showed that women who receive acupuncture in conjunction with IVF doubled their chances of conception from 15.6% to 33.6%. In the same study, it was found that in the women who became pregnant after IVF treatment, those who received acupuncture treatment had a smaller chance of miscarriage.
In my personal experience, acupuncture brings many intangible benefits as well. Infertility is stressful, embarrassing, and frustrating. Many of the patients I have seen have found acupuncture to not only be an effective tool in overcoming infertility, but also to reduce stress. The endorphin inducing abilities of acupuncture help patients relax and ultimately provides better conditions for conception. Below are some testimonials from my patients:
?My husband noticed changes in my body during the first month of acupuncture, and we both felt more able to enjoy making love, and less stressed about “that time of the month? (ovulation). I drank the herbs regularly that Dr. Chen recommended. I saw changes in my basal body temperature at each cycle. In that I would not respond well to medications, based on my past history and medical test results. But I did respond well to the daily injections, produced a number of mature eggs, and got a positive pregnancy test. I feel of course extremely grateful to both Dr. Chen and to the IVF program and doctors at New York Hospital for my pregnancy. In my case the combination seemed to be essential, and opened my mind in a very positive direction about both acupuncture and the possibilities of western medicine.? -J.Y
?In July 1998, I was diagnosed with severe dysplasia of the cervix; to rule out any possibility of cervical cancer I had to go through surgery, a procedure called cone biopsya, where basically, a cone-shaped piece of my cervix was removed.
After that, my chances of getting pregnant were reduced. My cervix was not producing enough of the mucus where my husband?s sperm was supposed to survive prior to conception. At the same time we also learned that John has a very high percentage of ?immature? sperm, making things even more complicated. My doctor recommended to start a fertility treatment right away after we saw the results of a post-coital test: five hours after sex, there were no surviving sperms.
We wanted to have a baby very much, but we also wanted to try to conceive ?naturally? first. My gynecologist thought that would be a waste of time. Then, I went to visit Dr. Zhao Yang Chen, who I met a year before when she helped me to quit smoking. That was October, three months after surgery. Her diagnosis was that, at that point, I would not be able to get pregnant because my “pelvis was too crowded, there is no room for baby.?
We started a treatment based on acupuncture, massages, pelvic exercises and herb infusions. In the meanwhile, my first Pap-smears after surgery came back normal, with no sign of dysplasia. It was about December when she finally announced that my body was in a ?perfect condition? and ready for pregnancy.
In January, three months after starting treatment, we got pregnant (and we should not count December, as my husband was in a two-week business trip during my ovulation). Indeed it has been a stress-and-frustration-free fertility treatment. Dr. Chen helped us to ?pleasantly? conceive this baby and we can only be grateful to her.?