Frequently Asked Questions – Acupuncture for Fertility
What causes infertility and miscarriage?
There are several different causes behind infertility and miscarriage. For women, the natural decline of estrogen that occurs as we age affects egg quality and can be one reason for difficulty in conceiving. Hormonal imbalances causing irregular or absent periods and/or ovulation can also affect fertility. Often these imbalances are attributed to physical, emotional, or mental taxation on the body as well as improper nutrition. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis are other factors that can affect a person’s ability to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. Finally, blockage in the Fallopian tubes due to conditions such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or chlamydia can prevent conception from occurring.
For males, there are also hormonal, physiological and structural factors for infertility as well which include low sperm count, poor sperm quality or shape due to aging, physical, mental, and/or environmental stressors, blocked vas deferens or epididymis from a varicocele or STD such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, as well as sperm allergies in one of the partners.
In some cases, there is unexplained infertility or both partners may have factors which may affect the ability to conceive.
What conditions can acupuncture and Oriental Medicine help?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine may be helpful in most of these conditions except for structural factors causing severe scarring or tubal blockage in which case, surgery or other measures may be required first before using acupuncture and herbal medicine to assist in healing of scar tissue and improve circulation to the local area.
How does acupuncture and Oriental Medicine help?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine work by balancing the body so that the body functions at its optimum. Western physiological studies have shown that acupuncture has a direct effect on the nervous system and can therefore help to reduce stress, regulate endocrine and therefore hormonal functioning, and improve blood circulation in the local area.
Can acupuncture and Oriental Medicine be used in conjunction with western based therapies?
Yes, of course. Many patients use acupuncture in conjunction with other assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, ICSI, GIFT, ZIFT, and TET and studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly improve the chances of conceiving with these methods. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can also be used as a stand alone therapy for persons opt for the least invasive (and least expensive!) treatment options first. This is a personal decision of the parents to be to decide based on their particular situation and beliefs.
What else can I do to improve my chances of success?
Do everything you can to enjoy this time. Whatever you do, be creative! The more fun you have, the less stress you and your partner will place on the situation and this single measure can significantly increase your chance of success. Also, make sure that you and your partner have eliminated all possible environmental factors (direct or indirect exposure to known carcinogens) that can further aggravate your condition. Talk to your doctor about healthy meal options (drink lots of herbal teas and consume lots of dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes, and fruits (preferably organic) with smaller amounts of meat/fish/dairy/breads. For easy delivery and exciting food recipes, consider subscribing to a food delivery service such as www.frontdoororganics.ca Exercise routines that not only work the body but the mind and spirit are also excellent in helping to regulate the proper functioning of the body. Consider a yoga, pilates, or tai chi and qigong routine to complement your regular workouts. Track your fertility cycles though natural methods. For more information on the Billings Method and Natural Fertility Awareness, please click here: www.woomb.org
You can also download free BBT charts and track your monthly cycle through www.mymonthlycycles.com
How long is the treatment course?
This will depend on your particular condition. Generally, chronic conditions will need at least 6 to 10 treatments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to see noticeable results. It is also not uncommon for fertility treatment courses to last for several months before the body is primed for conception. Herbs may also be given in conjunction to promote healthy reproductive functioning. If you do not see any changes at all in your pattern in the first few months (3-6 months), you should ask your practitioner to re-evaluate your condition or consider seeking the advice of an alternate practitioner.
When should both partners be treated?
Ideally, it is helpful for both partners to be treated especially if both partners may have factors which affect their fertility. Think about it: who wouldn’t want to increase their odds of success by 2?
What if only one of us can come for treatment?
This can still improve your chances of a successful conception and pregnancy depending on the circumstances. These can be discussed with the practitioner.
How much does the treatment course cost?
Treatment cost will depend on how long the treatment course lasts. If no results are seen with 9 months, the practitioner may consider referring you to another specialist or offer a different treatment protocol.
What happens when we do conceive?
You can stop treatmetns at this time. However, it is advised to continue treatments up to the end of the first trimester and throughout pregnancy especially in cases of long term infertility or chronic miscarriage, in order to optimizes our chances for a healthy and safe pregnancy. You may also decide to continuing treatments in order to address specfic symptoms during pregnancy and labour. for more information on these stages, please click on the FAQs tab on pregnancy, labour, and postnatal care.