Acupuncture for Fertility
I have been privileged to be able to help many couples in their struggle to have a baby. For many clients this is achievable through natural methods, using acupuncture to improve sperm quality and or quantity or regulate menstrual cycles. For many couples I use acupuncture to remove the obstacles to fertility caused by stress and misconceived ideas that they are infertile. For other couples with fertility issues it may involve more comprehensive methods to assist natural conception or with artificial techniques such as IVF. I am an affiliated acupuncturist with the Zita West fertility clinics and a founder member of the first integrated fertility group in Dublin called Achieve Fertility. In my experience I feel that it is paramount to have a healthy lifestyle, diet and attitude towards fertility and to avoid the negative media hype about age related issues and to try to keep a balanced view. If you are planning to have a baby give yourselves plenty of time at least 12 months before presuming the worst.
I currently see more clients than ever before with fertility related issues both male and female this is partly due to the fact that couples start trying to have babies later in life. As we get older the likelihood of becoming pregnant diminishes. Male fertility has declined by approximately 50% in the last three decades. The statistics for fertility problems are approximately
- 40% women’s issues,
- 40% male related
- 20% are unexplained.
Women spend most of their adult life trying not to conceive and then when they decide that they want to have a baby it can take a little bit longer than expected to get pregnant. If you have been on the Pill for years it may take up to a year for your fertility to return to optimum (or you might get pregnant in a couple of months). These are the facts, but it is still important to keep things in perspective. A couple are only said to be infertile if they have been actively trying to have a baby for two years without success. Often couples feel that they have a fertility problem after only a few months of trying to conceive and many couples are unaware of when they are most fertile and have been trying to conceive at the wrong time of the month.
I feel that there are added pressures put on couples trying to conceive from numerous sources, the media is constantly reminding women in particular that the clock is ticking……..TICK, TOCK…….TICK , TOCK….. family members and friends can make the situation even worse with such questions as “well any news yet?” Questions like this do not help.
Sex, Science & Stress
There are all kinds of tests available to advise on the best time to make love, ovulation prediction kits are useful but they can also make things too mechanical and give a smaller fertile window of opportunity in which to conceive. Normally this window of opportunity is 3 days before ovulation and only 1 day after (ideally you should have sex every day for the 5 days around ovulation). Your body is the best indicator of when to try for a baby. Too much science can compound a couple’s stress and reduce the likelihood of them getting pregnant. It is important to be aware that scientific investigation should only be looked at when there is genuine cause for concern. Nature has a way of ensuring that we can reproduce and often couples just need to relax and enjoy each other and allow nature to take its course. It is important to maintain the romance and to keep a relaxed attitude. Many of my clients comment that trying for a baby has had a negative effect on their sex life!!! Remember that 90% of fertility is sub conscious, if you have any reason to think that you cannot get pregnant or if you feel guilt due to a previous termination, these thoughts can directly affect your fertility. Hypnotherapy and other methods such as NLP or CBT can help address such concerns. There are many cases where a couple who were presumed to be infertile get pregnant within a short time of adopting a baby, which only goes to prove that a relaxed attitude has a direct impact on fertility rates!
It is important for both the men and women to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Often nutritional supplements such as folic acid, zinc, omega 3 oils, selenium and a good multi-vitamin for a period of 4 to 6 months before planning to get pregnant is recommended. There is no substitution for a healthy balanced organic diet with plenty of fruit & veg. Vitamin D is also very important so get out in the daylight where possible. Alcohol consumption, smoking and drug use can all have negative effects on fertility rates. If a glass of wine helps to relax you then allow yourselves the luxury, but keep it to a max of 4 units once or twice a week (2 small glasses).
Acupuncture can address most problems relating to a woman’s menstrual cycle including conditions such fibroids, endometriosis long or short cycles and even restore a nonexistent cycle. Acupuncture and particularly abdominal acupuncture can regulate the hormone levels nourish blood and reduce stress levels so that pregnancy is more likely to occur. Usually I will see women over 3 or 4 menstrual cycles, depending on the underlying problem.
Acupuncture can improve both the quantity and quality of the man’s sperm and it will address any other reproductive problems that men might have including low libido. I have had cases where a man’s sperm count has gone from 2 million to 48 million in a period of less than eight weeks. Men tend to respond to acupuncture quickly as sperm production takes approximately 100 days.
My Privileged Position
Receiving a phone call from clients sharing the good news that they are pregnant after years of trying without success is very satisfying. I work with clients trying to conceive naturally and using other techniques such as IVF which is often compared to riding a rollercoaster due to the emotional highs and lows people experience throughout the process. It is extremely important to be able to help my clients to remain calm, focused and strong throughout this difficult process. I do a lot of work in this area and find women incredible honest, dedicated and pragmatic throughout the fertility program. Acupuncture has been proven to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy when using techniques such as IVF by up to 65%. It is imperative that I am available for my client’s pre-and post embryo transfer to ensure the best possible results. It is incredibly gratifying to be able to assist a couple to achieve their dream and have a baby. I have been privileged to share this journey with many clients through both natural and artificial fertility methods and have helped many couples to have babies and in one case have identical twins (naturally). Fertility is a fragile gift and we can all help to improve our chances by attitude, nutrition, lifestyle and Chinese medicine. I have seen clients as old as 45 having their first healthy child so be aware that our body clocks tick at different rates! If you would like any advice on this topic please feel free to contact me at [email protected]