Jill Shepherd

Acupuncture for Fertility & the Treatment of
Infertility (IVF, ICSI, IUI.)

Infertility is a common problem in the UK, around 1 in 6 couples struggle to conceive. Statistics of subfertile couples around the world show that in about 30% of cases the cause can be attributed to the man, and 40% attributed to the woman. This leaves about 30 % of cases of unexplained infertility.

Western Medicine sees the body as a system of parts that break down, and are fixed by intervention or drugs. This approach has its place, and is useful for treating acute problems. However, TCM views the person holistically, as a system of interrelated structures, fluids, energy and emotions, which must be maintained in a state of balance.
The majority of subfertility cases are caused by conditions which are not simple structural problems, but relate to the bigger picture of the body's overall health and balance. In many cases Conventional Medicine can't explain the cause of a problem, where as TCM is better equipped to explain and treat the larger and more abstract conditions.

Acupuncture has a long history of being used to improve fertility, as treatment seeks to rebalance the body completely. The client should feel an improvement in their general health, energy and emotions. In those cases where assisted conception techniques are going to be the best option, TCM is an excellent complement to Western Medicine, and can be used to enhance the success rate of IVF, ICSI, and IUI.

Both Partners should optimise their health prior to conception, as imbalances in overall health can adversley affect fertility. Some couples have found that acupuncture, plus dietary and lifestyle changes have helped them to conceive naturally, without having to go through an IVF programme!

Female Infertility: Regulating the menstrual cycle, i.e. treating any abnormalities such as irregular cycle, painful periods, and heavy bleeding is the first step in treatment for women.

Male Infertility: A number of research studies have shown that acupuncture can improve the quality, quantity, and motility of sperm.

TCM induces a state of calmness and relaxation, and can help the couple deal with the stress, anxiety, frustration and depression which may be brought about by infertility and it's treatment.


LENGTH OF TREATMENT: Depends on the individual. We would normally recommend between 3 ~ 6 months worth of treatment for a woman, although some couples have conceived within weeks of treatment!

Pre~Conception treatment is suitable for women...

  1. Wishing to maximise their chances of a natural conception.
  2. Prior to having assisted conception treatment.
  3. To rebalance the body and hormones following an unsuccessful IVF cycle.
FOR THE MEN: It takes 3 months for sperm to develop and mature. It is recommended that men commence acupuncture treatment at least 3 months prior to planned conception or infertility treatment.

For some couples, assisted conception techniques such as IVF, ICSI, or IUI may be the best option. It is recommended that acupuncture treatment begins at least 3 months prior to commencing assisted conception. However, if this is not possible, regular acupuncture from the start of medication until the procedure date can be effective. Research has shown that acupuncture given before and after egg transfer can improve pregnancy rates by 65% We offer this treatment as part of an IVF support programme or by itself.

Acupuncture is beneficial alongside assisted conception in the following ways:
  1. It improves blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.
  2. It increases your responsiveness to fertility hormones.
  3. It minimises side effects.
  4. It reduces uterine contractions after embryo transfer.
  5. It helps you stay relaxed during the treatment cycle.

We recommend acupuncture should continue during the first trimester, especially if the pregnancy is the result of a successful assissted conception procedure, or if you have a history of miscarriage. Treatment can support a healthy pregnancy, and ease morning sickness