Fertility Acupuncture is getting more and more popular, and for good reason. It works! Most reproductive endocrinologists suggest it and if they don’t they just aren’t up to date on the research or they don’t personally know of a fertility acupuncturist near by. In this blog we’ll dive into everything you want to know about fertility acupuncture, including when to get it, how often you should go and how much it costs.
What is fertility acupuncture?
Fertility acupuncture is is a way of using acupuncture to improve your ability get and stay pregnant – either naturally or with the help of reproductive technology like IUI / IVF.
Fertility acupuncturists play a critical role in optimizing a woman’s chance to conceive naturally. Fertility acupuncturists have been shown to increase IVF success rates by ~33%, triple pregnancy rates, and even make sperm stronger. Fertility acupuncture is one of the cornerstones to comprehensive fertility treatment.
In an effort to provide you with a complete guide for fertility acupuncture, all of the following questions are answered by Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM who has a clinic specializing in fertility acupuncture in Tampa, FL. Over the last 7+ years he has helped hundreds of women and couples grow their families and worked with every IVF clinic in the Tampa, FL region.
What is fertility acupuncture used for?
There are 4 main areas that fertility acupuncture is used for.
- To focus on conception – this means normalize & then optimize your entire menstrual cycle (length), ovulation (timing), and overall menstrual health.
- To optimize your eggs & womb.
- To optimize your sperm.
- To focus on IUI / IVF.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get pregnant naturally or using IUI / IVF, fertility acupuncture is a great addition to the process.
Are there any studies on fertility acupuncture and it’s benefits?
Of course! It’s actually a really well studied area of medicine. There’s no magic here – you don’t have to believe in acupuncture for it to work. Principally we are stimulating your nervous system with the acupuncture needles to increase blood flow, encourage the release of endorphins, balance hormones and normalize the function of dysfunctional areas of your body. Most of the research for acupuncture is in the world of IVF (in vitro fertilization) but all of the principles apply to a natural fertility cycle also.
Studies show acupuncture for fertility significantly increase the success rates of IVF.
In one study by Hullender et al. in 2015, 1231 IVF patient records were assessed and outcomes were compared. They compared IVF with no treatment, IVF with just acupuncture, and IVF with Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine (WS-TCM). (WS-TCM is what is practiced at by Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM at Hanson Complete Wellness, and is an intervention of 12 acupuncture sessions before IVF, herbal medicine, diet, and lifestyle recommendations).
The primary outcome was live birth. WS-TCM was associated with greater odds of live birth at 61%, compared with IVF alone (48%), or embryo transfer with acupuncture only (51%).
WS-TCM was associated with increased live births compared with all groups, in donor and non-donor cycles.
What are the risks of fertility acupuncture?
The good news is that there is little to no risk when it comes to acupuncture for fertility. Some common complications include a little tenderness or bruising where the needles are inserted and outside of that, there is no real risk.
What are the benefits of fertility acupuncture?
The upside of acupuncture for fertility is that it greatly increases your chances of a live birth – which is the ultimate goal. When you’re trying to conceive there are a few things that have to happen regardless if you’re trying naturally or using reproductive technology like IUI / IVF.
- First you need a healthy, quality egg.
- You need high quality sperm.
- You need an optimal uterine environment.
The good news is that acupuncture treatment has been shown to help each of these areas of reproductive health. The use of acupuncture also helps to reduce stress levels, and when you’re trying to conceive, stress levels can get high!
Acupuncture is also well studied and used to help other common causes of infertility like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and Endometriosis. At my fertility acupuncture clinic in Tampa, FL I regularly help patients who have these fertility problems conceive both naturally and while they are going through IUI / IVF.
When should I get fertility acupuncture?
This depends on what your goals are and what other treatments you might be using. So let’s break this down to Natural fertility support & Reproductive Technology Fertility Support (IUI / IVF).
Natural Fertility Support With Acupuncture.
When it comes to natural fertility support with acupuncture there is so much that can be done to help! In my fertility acupuncture practice in Tampa, FL I have very specific goals and metrics we use to base how when you should start treatment, much acupuncture you need, and how we use chinese herbal medicine to support your goals.
The first place I start is with a deep dive into your menstrual cycle health. When it comes to fertility success your menstrual cycle and basal body temperature are the greatest predictor and measure of your fertility potential.
Your cycle should look like this:
- 28 days long (+/- 2 days)
- 4 days fresh red bleeding, soaking tampon/pad/diva cup every 4 hours
- No clotting or cramping during bleeding
- Ovulation on cycle day 14 with fertile cervical mucus
- No spotting or PMS before period
- BBT 97.2-4 during follicular phase
- BBT 98.2+ during luteal phase
Any deviation from this ideal can reduce your potential success.
Our goal is to get you as close to this ideal as possible. Generally with acupuncture & chinese herbal medicine we can do that in 3-6 months.
So it’s always easiest to to start fertility acupuncture as soon as possible. Most patients will need weekly treatment during those 3-6 months.
IVF Support With Acupuncture
When it comes to using acupuncture for support during your IUI / IVF cycle there is a lot that can be done! We’ll break this down into 3 phases – the stimulation phase, the transfer phase and the post implantation phase.
- Stimulation/Retrieval Phase: Before and during the stimulation phase, the ideal number of treatments is a minimum of 12 to help maximize egg quality and quantity.
- Pre-implantation: We are looking to optimize your uterine lining, we generally prescribe 1-2 treatments a week leading up to implantation.
- Post Implantation: Statistics show a treatment on day 3-5 (range) days post transfer and on day 8-10 (range) days post transfer.
During the initial exam, Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM will determine, through patient’s past history & our proprietary Fertility Symptom Index how close the patient is to the optimal fertility balance.
Those with egg quality issues and low follicle counts should start 6 months ahead, due to the fact that it often takes 3 months to balance the body and 3 more months (~90) for the egg to mature.
Those with multiple IUI or IVF failures and multiple miscarriages should start acupuncture a 2 months months prior to next IUI or IVF cycle. During this period, customized safe and effective Chinese herbal medicine are recommended to accelerate the fertility optimization process.
How many fertility acupuncture sessions do I need?
In general, treatment is given 1-2 times a week unless patient needs to start IUI or IVF in less than 30 days; in that case, more frequent treatments may be necessary.
Studies show 12+ acupuncture treatments is where acupuncture has the greatest benefits.
Starting treatment so you have 3-4 months before an anticipated cycle is idea. So anywhere between 12-24 treatments is consider 1 course of fertility acupuncture treatment.
What about fertility acupuncture for men?
For men, it is also important to get balanced, for ICSI (injecting sperm into the egg) will only result in the union of the chromosome of the sperm and that of the egg. It does not improve the quality of the sperm. For men, one treatment is required each week with herbs for 3 to 4 months. The improvement can be seen through semen analysis.
What about fertility acupuncture treatment before / after embryo transfer.
While this can be helpful, 2 treatments alone does not make or break a successful transfer. In Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM’s clinic, he does not perform these types of treatments alone. Since it takes 3 months for an egg to go through it’s growth cycle and weeks for uterine lining to grow, 2 treatments on the day of transfer isn’t enough to make a significant difference alone.
How much does fertility acupuncture cost?
The cost of fertility acupuncture is going to depend on where you live. At Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM’s fertility acupuncture clinic in Tampa, FL your costs are a flat fee. Your initial visit is $125 and follow up fertility acupuncture treatments as of 2021 are $75.
Does insurance cover fertility acupuncture?
Insurance coverage for fertility acupuncture is very limited at this time across the USA and will vary state by state and insurance policy by insurance policy. You will have to call up your insurance company to verify if your specific policy has any in or out of network coverage.
Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM does not directly bill insurance and instead provides you with a super bill that you can submit to your insurance company if you do in fact have coverage.
The Next Step
If you’re looking for Fertility Acupuncture near me in Tampa, FL then Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM is by far the most experienced and qualified fertility acupuncture specialist. Click the button below to schedule your first fertility acupuncture session session today!