Acupuncture for fertility purposes has been performed for hundreds if not thousands of years in Asia. Now, the practice is gaining momentum in other parts of the world, including the United States. There is an infertility epidemic going on in America right now. “Infertility affects 7.1 percent, or 2.8 million couples, of married people in the United States,” states Serendip Studio. “As more women than ever delay having children until their 30s and 40s, infertility is a growing challenge in the U.S. An estimated 3 million couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.”
Mainstream doctors refer couples who have issues with conceiving to fertility specialists, who then recommend hormone shots, pills, artificial insemination, or IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Side effects of fertility pills and treatments
However, many of these practices have very dangerous side effects. Fertility drugs can cause bloating, headaches, mood swings, hot flashes, blurred vision and nausea.
One of the most serious side effects of fertility pills and treatments is the higher risk of developing breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer.
Also, fertility drugs and treatments often cause multiple babies to be born. “Multiple births occur in about 50 percent of cases, especially among women in their early 30s or younger,” according to Serendip Studio. Multiple births are risky for the mother and the babies. Twins or other multiples are often born prematurely, facing numerous health issues because of not being carried to term. Also, it is much harder on the woman’s body to carry multiple versus just one baby.
Acupuncture for fertility
Because of the growing concern of cancer and other serious risks from fertility treatments, many couples are turning to the old Chinese natural treatment of infertility, acupuncture.
“Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine treatment that relies on the painless but strategic placement of tiny needles into a ‘grid-like’ pattern that spans the body, from head to toe. The needles are used to stimulate certain key energy points’ believed to regulate spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical balance. And, for many women, it’s often just what the doctor ordered,” writes WebMD.
And study after study has shown that acupuncture for fertility actually works. “When you compare the pregnancy rates for an egg producing drug such as Clomid to acupuncture alone, the rates are equal — a 50% chance of pregnancy in three months for general patients — to those not undergoing IVF,” says Raymond Chang, MD, the medical director of Meridian Medical and a classically trained acupuncturist as well as western-trained medical doctor.
Chang went on to say that acupuncture can help fertility by helping with “relaxation, regulating reproductive hormones and improving the lining of the uterus, where the embryo needs to be implanted before it can develop.” Furthermore, acupuncture can help men by increasing sperm count.
Many couples are using acupuncture for fertility in conjunction with IVF, but those that start acupuncture a few months before often find themselves pregnant before having a chance to start IVF.
What’s the bottom line on trying acupuncture for fertility? With no dangerous side effects and relatively lower costs than IVF, I say give it a chance. If you’re having trouble conceiving, grab your spouse and commit a few months to this ancient Chinese practice and see what happens. A miracle, perhaps?
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