Acupuncture for Fertility
Gabrielle Stephenson's fertility acupuncture clinic helps couples and individuals improve their natural fertility, as well provide treatment to enhance IVF (assisted conception). If you have any questions and would like to have an initial and confidential chat please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Fertility and conception are closely linked to 'overall' health, so during the initial consultation, we will look at your medical history as well as, where relevant, your physical, emotional and psychological sense of well being. This not only helps in terms of whether, and how quickly you may get pregnant but also how healthy the pregnancy that follows is likely to be for you and your baby.
You may have just decided to start trying or are wondering why it hasn't happened yet, or you may have been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries (PCOS), endometriosis or a hormonal imbalance. You may be considering IVF or IUI, or are committing to a second or third cycle of IVF and are seeking additional help.
Research has established how acupuncture for fertility may benefit by:
Regulating fertility hormones - stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the HPA axis, causing hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact fertility.
Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs - stress also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture inhibits this activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries and enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases the blood flow to the uterus, improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation.
Counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) - PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. By reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovvulation, enhance blastocyst impantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS.
When it comes to infertility the focus has largely been on the woman but men have a significant role to play in the ability of a couple to conceive. In 50% of involuntary childless couples, a male infertility associated factor is found together with abnormal semen parameters (Dohle 2010).
Male fertility requires normal sperm production and sperm transport, and adequate sexual performance - functions that require normal levels of testosterone. Several factors can be responsible for male infertility such as a low sperm count, abnormal sperm, shape and size (morphology), reduced sperm motility and abnormal liquefaction (time for semen to liquefy post - ejaculation). Lifestyle, genetics and physiological changes can also raise or lower male fertility.
Research shows a statistically significant increase after acupuncture in the percentage and number of sperm without structural defects in the total ejaculates in men with idiopathic sperm issues.
Acupuncture may benefit male fertility in the following ways:
Lowering scrotal temperature.
Enhancing local microcirculation, by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles. Therefore sperm production and quality can be increased.
Mechanical blockages can be resolved or reduced and hormonal factors can often be corrected by restoring the balance of the whole body with acupuncture (Lewsis 2004).
What to Expect
Most people are often slightly anxious on their first visit, especially if they have never had acupuncture before. The sensation of the very fine needles can initially be experienced as a dullness or tingling but this is often very pleasant. Once this feeling settles down, your body can feel heavy, easing you into a restful state and making the session relaxing and enjoyable.
It has been wonderful to have played a part in Karine and Matthieu's journey to have a child together. It took longer than they would have hoped and wasn't always easy to navigate the waters of the 'assisted conception' world but they were determined. Karine had to make some significant dietary changes and consistently came to her weekly acupuncture sessions and look....here they are with beautiful baby Liam!