Health & Wellness

Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, disposable needles into specific acupuncture points. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for fertility and has been proven to increase the thickness of your uterus lining in women.


Acupuncture stimulates and moves Qi (pronounced “chee”), a form of energy that ancient wisdom says must flow uninterrupted from head to toe 24/7. It increases blood flow to the uterus and promotes a more favorable environment for embryo implantation. Keep reading the article below to learn more about Acupuncture For Fertility.

Whether a woman is undergoing fertility treatments or trying to conceive naturally, it’s no secret that the process can be both emotionally and physically draining. Acupuncture can help boost fertility by reducing stress, regulating hormone levels, and increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs. It can also be used to improve mood and decrease anxiety and depression, which have been shown to negatively impact fertility outcomes.

Acupuncture is a centuries-old treatment that uses a series of needles to stimulate the body’s natural healing response. In the United States, the FDA classifies acupuncture needles as medical devices and regulates their use by requiring that they be sterile, nontoxic and single-use. During a treatment, an acupuncturist will insert the needles into “acupoints” on the body, which are specific points that are thought to trigger the body’s natural systems. Acupuncture for fertility is often done on the abdomen, focusing on acupoints that promote menstrual health and increase uterine circulation.

It is not known exactly how acupuncture for fertility works, but it appears to have an effect on the brain hormones that control the reproductive system. Studies on acupuncture for fertility have found that it can increase the rate of egg production, reduce the number of miscarriages in women who undergo IVF, and even raise the chance of a successful embryo implantation.

When performed by a licensed practitioner, acupuncture is considered safe for most individuals. During treatment, thin, sterile stainless steel needles are gently and painlessly inserted into the skin at specific points on the body called acupoints. The insertion of these needles activates the release of the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, and oxytocin, which can calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. These biochemicals have been shown to enhance the body’s ability to metabolize and produce healthy eggs.

Acupuncture can be used alongside any other fertility treatments, including medications, that a patient may be taking. However, it is important to make sure that your acupuncturist has the consent of your reproductive endocrinologist before starting a course of therapy. Also, if you are planning to take Chinese herbs with your acupuncturist, be sure to discuss the plan with your doctor first.

Acupuncture for Pre-Transfer

Acupuncture can help improve the chances of success during an IVF cycle. Studies show that patients who receive acupuncture before and after their embryo transfer have much higher pregnancy rates than those that do not. These patients also have a lower risk of miscarriage. Acupuncture can regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, optimize sperm health, and reduce stress.

During the weeks leading up to embryo transfer, a series of weekly acupuncture treatments can support follicular development and encourage a thicker uterine lining. This is especially important for women on hormone medications that can thin out the lining. The acupuncturist will work on points that will help dilate the cervix and enhance the circulation of blood to the uterus, which can promote a thick lining. During the actual transfer procedure, acupuncture can also be used to calm the nervous system, reduce cramping and prevent uterine contractions.

In a study published in Fertility & Sterility, researchers compared embryo transfer outcomes of patients who received real acupuncture to those who did not. Those receiving real acupuncture had a clinical pregnancy rate of 51%, while the non-acupuncture group had only a 34% pregnancy rate. The acupuncture group was given treatment 25 minutes before and after their embryo transfer.

To ensure the best results, our acupuncturists recommend weekly acupuncture treatments from the beginning of your IVF cycle to support follicular development and encourage lining thickening. In addition to helping with this, acupuncture can significantly reduce the side effects of IVF medication, which can cause nausea and vomiting and decrease fertility.

Preparing for an IVF transfer with acupuncture can be stressful. Acupuncture can help relieve this stress by regulating the nervous system, reducing anxiety and increasing the production of neurochemicals that promote feelings of well-being. Acupuncture can also alleviate many of the discomforts associated with fertility treatments, such as back pain and morning sickness.

During the week before your FET, it is also recommended that you avoid strenuous exercise, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Additionally, avoiding alcohol and caffeine is essential. On the day of your FET, acupuncture can be performed on-site at your clinic and is an excellent way to relax in preparation for the embryo transfer.

Acupuncture for Post-Transfer

The two-week wait after a fertility treatment is an emotionally trying time, and many couples find themselves becoming stressed and anxious. Acupuncture can be used to help relieve this stress, and to increase the odds of a successful implantation. Ideally, acupuncture should be used as part of an integrated approach to fertility treatment.

Acupuncture stimulates specific acupuncture points that regulate and balance female reproductive hormones to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. These include points that trigger the production of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which is necessary for healthy egg development. Other acupuncture points promote blood flow to the uterus and encourage a thicker uterine lining, ensuring that the uterus is receptive to the implanting embryo.

Several studies and meta-studies have shown that acupuncture increases implantation rates on the day of embryo transfer. This is likely due to the fact that acupuncture can help reduce anxiety, improve uterine receptivity and calm the nervous system, which can negatively impact implantation. Acupuncture can also be used to treat a variety of other issues related to infertility, such as reducing inflammation and improving sperm count and quality.

For best results, acupuncture should be done as close to the day of ET as possible. Ideally, patients would receive acupuncture about a half-hour before their ET and a half-hour after. This protocol, called the Paulus Protocol, has been shown to significantly improve clinical pregnancy rates compared to those who did not receive acupuncture. The acupuncture treatment on the day of ET focuses on a series of points that are known to dilate the cervix and make it easier for the embryos to be inserted, as well as to regulate stress hormones that affect implantation and reduce inflammation.

If you’re interested in receiving acupuncture before or after your embryo transfer, ask your acupuncturist whether they can provide treatment on site at the IVF center. Most acupuncturists will be able to offer this service, but it’s important to discuss this with your acupuncturist early on in the process and ensure that they are using single-use, sterile needles. It’s also important to ensure that the acupuncturist you choose is licensed by your state and has extensive experience treating fertility patients.

Acupuncture for Pregnancy

When you’ve successfully conceived, acupuncture can help keep your body strong and healthy throughout your pregnancy. Acupuncture during pregnancy can help with a wide range of symptoms including lower back pain, pelvic/sciatic pain, nausea and morning sickness and digestive upset. It can also be useful in preventing miscarriage, helping your body deal with the hormonal changes and balancing out your energy.

It’s not entirely clear how acupuncture relieves pain, but it seems to boost the production of your body’s natural ‘happy chemicals’ called endorphins and increase blood flow to the area. Acupuncture is also thought to impact the neuroendocrine system, influencing a three-way axis that influences hormone production (the hypothalamus and pituitary glands) and the ovaries.

Acupuncture can also help with a variety of fertility related issues such as preventing recurrent miscarriage, balancing out your hormone levels to support ovulation and improving the quality of your eggs. Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, helping your follicles produce high quality eggs and reducing ovarian inflammation that can interfere with ovulation.

Studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly improve the odds of conceiving an embryo that will implant and survive in the uterus. It can also help with lowering the risks associated with assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, and reduce the need for medications during the procedure.

Acupuncturists treat the root causes of fertility problems rather than simply treating symptoms. Using a combination of Chinese medicine, nutritional and herbal supplements and diet/lifestyle counseling, we help couples achieve the healthy outcome they want for their family.

Acupuncture is safe for both mother and baby when performed by an experienced practitioner who uses sterile, single use needles. The United States Food and Drug Administration classifies acupuncture needles as medical devices and they are carefully regulated to ensure safety. Acupuncturists who treat fertility patients are certified in women’s health and have specific training in pregnancy and obstetrics. We will work with your OB/GYN or midwife to coordinate care for the best results. Our practitioners also have years of experience with a diverse patient population.