Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that's been used to treat individuals with several conditions including infertility. Practitioners believe in a life energy that flows through the body called, Qi. When this energy becomes blocked due to stress, trauma, lack of exercise, or poor diet, practitioners believe that it may manifest in certain conditions and symptoms such as infertility, pain, etc. By releasing positive energy through acupuncture, it is thought to push out negative energy in the process, thereby providing patients with relief from various ailments.
The treatment works by placing thin, sterile needles in certain points on the body, and then stimulating them. This is thought to release positive energy so the negative energy is pushed out in the process. As for its effects on fertility, it may help to regulate the menstrual cycle, enhance cervical mucus, enhance libido, reduce stress, thicken the endometrial lining, and clear blockages in the fallopian tubes. Other benefits are possible as well. The specific points used will vary from one patient to the next, and each patient will be evaluated by the acupuncturist prior to beginning the treatment. Common points include those that stimulate the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. These points are located on the lower part of the abdomen, on the back, and on the arms and legs.
Acupuncture may be used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization, or IVF. This procedure combines sperm and eggs in a dish in a laboratory so they may create embryos. The embryos are later transferred to the uterus where they may implant in the uterine lining. The woman's menstrual cycle will be closely monitored to determine when ovulation occurs. Some women choose to take fertility medication to help stimulate ovulation. Eggs are retrieved through a separate procedure, meaning women must undergo two procedures for each cycle of IVF, unless embryos from previous cycles are frozen for use in future cycles.