Acupuncture in improving fertility and supporting IVF

The most important insight I can give you is that if your body is in balance then it is much easier for you to bring a little one into the world.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, your body’s balance is the flow of energy, or chi, around the meridians in your body. Disruption of this flow can lead to physical and emotional illness, including infertility. By stimulating the acupuncture points, the energy can be restored to flow in a free and balanced way.

An individual treatment program for you

– Having difficulty falling pregnant naturally?

– Considering IVF or IUI?

– Currently doing IVF or IUI?

– Have a known medical condition such as endometriosis or PCOS?

– Already pregnant?

I have worked with many couples for both natural and assisted conception. Good candidates for trying acupuncture are those couples who should physically be able to conceive but are having no success.

I can create a treatment program specifically for you wherever you are at on your journey, from conception to post-natal.

During the initial consultation

  • I check all the indicators in your body for balance and energy flow.
  • I check your pulses, your tongue, your eyes and skin condition.
  • We will also discuss a range of areas of your daily life, looking for possible environmental factors or stressful situations, all of which can affect your ability to conceive in the short and long term.

Treatment focuses on balance of energy or chi in both partners, ensuring nourishment of organs, and minimising any risk factors and stress.

I will determine and discuss with you which method or combination of methods is best suited for your individual condition, often a combination of acupuncture needling, moxa, cupping, herbal medicine and advice on nutrition and lifestyle.

How acupuncture may help the treatment of infertility and assisted conception

About 1 in 6 (17%) couples in Australia experience difficulty conceiving. In one study [1] the causes of fertility were found to be: ovulatory failure (27%), tubal damage (14%), endometriosis (5%), low sperm count or quality (19%), other causes (5%), unexplained (30%).

Acupuncture encourages a healthy body, functioning efficiently. Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and improves the functioning of the endocrine system, all of which support reproductive health. It also reduces stress, which can play a significant role in the wider process of conception.

Specific areas where acupuncture is known to assist:


  • increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs [2]
  • improving oocyte quality [3]
  • enhancing luteal function [4]
  • normalising cortisol and prolactin levels on IVF medication days [5];
  • endemetriosis [6 ]
  • PCOS [7 ]


  • sperm production and quality [8]
  • lowering scrotal temperature [9]
  • enhancing blood flow [10]
  • reducing inflammation [11]


  • reduced stress [11,17]
  • improved pregnancy rate [13,14,15]
  • improved birth rate [16,17 ]

In summary this means assisting with issues including ovulation problems, egg and sperm quality, immune factors, polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.


The whole process of not being able get pregnant and/or navigating IVF procedures can be very stressful – and this is not helpful for conception. It can affect both men and women.

Acupuncture encourages the release of neurotransmitters like Serotonin (which regulates your mood and sleep) and Endorphins (which are the body’s natural painkiller), and also help to boost your mood.

Research shows that a course of acupuncture reduces anxiety and stress and improved psychological coping [13].


[1] The management of subfertility. Effective Health Care Bulletin 1992;3:13.

[2] Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture  Stener-Victor et al, Hum Reprod 1996 Jun;11(6):1314-7.

[3] Effects of electroacupuncture on in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) of patients with poor ovarian response Chen J et al, Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2009 Oct;29(10):775-9

[4] Effects of acupuncture on the luteal function of rats with dysfunctional embryo implantation He DJ et al, Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Nov;29(11):910-3.

[5] Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment  Magarelli PC et al. Fertil Steril 2008; 92(6):1870-9.

[6]  Current evidence of acupuncture on polycystic ovarian syndrome.Lim DC et al. Acupuncture for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Aug 10;(8):CD007689.

[7 ] The Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Endometriosis: A Review of Utilization and Mechanism. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
2014, Article ID 146383

[8] Randomised clinical trial of comparing effects of acupuncture and varicocelectomy on sperm parameters in infertile varicocele patients. Kucuk EV et al, Andrologia. 2016 Dec;48(10):1080-1085. doi: 10.1111/and.12541.

[9] Success of acupuncture treatment in patients with initially low sperm output is associated with a decrease in scrotal skin temperature Shimon Siterman et al, Asian J Androl. 2009 Mar; 11(2): 200–208.

[10] Microcirculatory responses to acupuncture stimulation and phototherapy. Komori M et al, Anesth Analg. 2009 Feb;108(2):635-40.

[11] Anti-inflammatory actions of acupuncture. Zijlstra FJ et al, Mediators Inflamm. 2003 Apr;12(2):59-69.

[12] A Review of Traditional Chinese Medical Treatment of Male Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction Crimmel S et al, Journal of Andrology, Vol. 22, No. 2, March/April 2001

[13] Acupuncture for the mental and emotional health of women undergoing IVF treatment. Grant LE, Cochrane S, AJACM 2014, vol 9 Issue 1, pg 5

[14] Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.

[15] Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates.  Youran DB et al, Fertil Steril 2008, Vol 90, Supplement, Pages S240–S241

[16] Auricular acupressure reduces anxiety levels and improves outcomes of in vitro fertilization. Fan Qu et al, Sci Rep. 2014; 4: 5028.

[17] Systematic Review of Chinese Medicine for Miscarriage during Early Pregnancy. Lu Li et al, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, Article ID 753856,