Acupuncture for Fertility— Frequently Asked Questions

Integrated Medicine Fertility Treatments in Atlanta

Many people pursuing infertility treatment find themselves researching medical practices they have never considered before. Most people are familiar with acupuncture, but its use as an accompanying treatment to fertility services is lesser known. Here you can find answers to some of the questions many patients have when they first start considering this treatment. We encourage you to contact us if you would like to speak with our acupuncturist directly.

What is Acupuncture?

Oriental Medicine is the oldest literate medicine in the world, with over 2,500 years of recorded clinical writings. Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture subtlety balances the flow of energy in the body, promoting the body's own natural healing power and maintaining or re-establishing physical and emotional health.

Acupuncture is performed by inserting fine, sterile needles at specific acupuncture points on the body to treat particular diseases, including those that stimulate, balance, or otherwise affect fertility. The National Institute of Health has found acupuncture to be helpful treating pain and stress-related illnesses, as well as digestive disease, neurological symptoms, endocrine system disorders, menopause symptoms and menstrual problems.

How can Acupuncture help enhance fertility?

Research indicates that the benefits of acupuncture for fertility can have numerous positive effects.

  • Increases rates of pregnancy and live births
  • Regulate menstrual cycles
  • Regulate hormones to help produce a larger number of follicles during IVF stimulation
  • Increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and increase the thickness of the uterine lining
  • Improve sperm quality and quantity
  • Help to relieve the side effects of drugs commonly used during IUI and IVF treatment
  • Reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and promote deep relaxation
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Reduce risk of early miscarriage
  • Help to prevent uterine contractions after embryo transfer

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The ancient Chinese recognized a vital energy that existed in all life forms and processes. In Chinese, this energy is called "Qi". In developing an understanding of the prevention and cure of disease, these healing practitioners discovered that this energy flows along specific pathways called channels and collaterals (jingluo). Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ. Disease is believed to arise when an imbalance (either deficiency or excess) manifests in the channels and collaterals and/or their related organ systems.

Modern research shows that acupuncture leads to the release of various neurotransmitters and hormones that affect most of the body's systems (central nervous system, digestion, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, etc). The exact mechanism for this is not yet known, but we can observe the effects which include changes in:

  • Blood flow
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Digestion
  • Reproductive function
  • And more

Research has suggested that acupuncture can help to regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, the processing center for the menstrual cycle and ovulation.

What can I expect from treatment?

Most people report a feeling of relaxation and well-being during and after the treatment. Studies have shown that conception rates can be improved with the use of acupuncture for fertility success. As in any form of healing, a patient's attitude, diet, and life-style will affect the outcome of a course of treatment. The number of treatments you will need will depend on your overall health, your body's response to acupuncture and/or Western reproductive treatments, and the nature and duration of your condition.

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and flexible, much smaller than those used for traditional injections given by your doctor. In most cases, insertion by a skilled acupuncturist is performed with minimal discomfort. During acupuncture treatment, patients may feel a sensation called "arrival of Qi" (deqi). Patients describe this sensation as a dull ache, distention, pressure, tingling, or warmth. Acupuncture is a relaxing experience and should any needle cause discomfort, it will be adjusted or removed.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Yes. When performed by a qualified Licensed Acupuncturist, like our Atlanta Acupuncturist Mark A. Lewinter, L.Ac., acupuncture and related techniques have proven to be extremely safe. Only single-use, sterile, disposable needles are used. Complications due to acupuncture are very rare; serious side-effects are less than one per 10,000 treatments.

Will Fertility acupuncture be covered by my insurance?

Insurance billing for infertility acupuncture treatments is not available at this time. The billing office will issue statements for interested patients to submit to insurance carriers for possible reimbursement. The online overview of our infertility insurance program describes fertility treatment insurance coverage for other services and treatments in more detail.