Conception is not merely a singular event, it is a plethora of small fluctuations all going the right way. The ovum and sperm have spent the last 2-3 months ripening and growing ready for the task ahead. The uterine lining clears out smoothly and completely during the menses, allowing the new endometrium to grow to just the right plumpness to allow the embryo to eventually implant. The egg has matured perfectly and has the energy necessary to survive the trip through endless cell divisions from ovary to implantation and beyond. The fluid in the fallopian tube thins and thickens to speed or slow the egg as it travels to meet the sperm. The sperm is strong, numerous and well-shaped enough to find its way (with the help of the cervical mucus) up the fallopian tube for a date with the ovum. Once fertilized, the embryo travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus, where the walls of the uterus hold the embryo in place until implantation occurs. The embryo must have the energy to continue to thrive and grow into a fetus and finally a baby, while the cervix stays high and closed throughout the pregnancy. From a Chinese Medicine standpoint, each of these moments is a balance of yin and yang, fluids and dryness, heat and coolness, estrogen and progesterone, FSH and LH, motility and morphology.
Acupuncture improves fertility outcomes. It decreases stress, improves blood flow to the uterus and endometrial thickness, and enhances sperm quality, thereby improving pregnancy rates. For those using assisted reproductive therapies, such as IVF and IUI, several studies have found that acupuncture around the time of embryo transfer increases the rate of pregnancy, especially for women over 35. Yet another study demonstrated that “the use of acupuncture in patients with poor prognoses (elevated Peak FSH, longer history of infertility, poor sperm morphology) can achieve similar pregnancy rates to normal prognosis patients.”
Whether Chinese Medicine is an adjunct to assisted reproductive therapies, or you are trying to conceive on your own, acupuncture and herbs are a nourishing, cost effective, powerful, individualized, and efficacious therapy.