Fertility & IVF Acupuncture | Chinese Herbal Treatment

Fertility IVF acupuncture Chinese herbal medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine for fertility

Chinese herbal medicine has a long history assisting women with fertility and reproductive health issues.   Chinese herbal medicine may help women who has PCOS and endometriosis to fall pregnant by regulating their menses, and improving ovary function.   A recent case study done by Teng, Peng and Qu 2017 (please note this is only a single case, NOT a randomised control trial and cannot be use as a scientific evidence to show the efficacy of Chinese herbs in treating infertility) reported a successful live birth after treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine in a 43-Year-old Woman with diminished ovarian reserve and multiple uterus fibroids after failed IVF treatment.  

Lesley has sets of herbal formula from her family's experience to treat infertility in both male and female, especially for women who have recurrent-miscarriage.  She strongly advocates to use Chinese herbs for fertility issues because she saw first hand how her highly experienced grandfather, uncles and mother using Chinese herbs alone to successfully help many women to fall pregnant.  Many of whom have rounds of failed IVF cycles. 

How does acupuncture relate to fertility?

Acupuncture is one of the popular alternative therapies to help boost fertility.  It has been used for over two thousand years in China and asia for fertility and gynaecology issues.  In Traditional Chinese medicine theories, the aim of fertility acupuncture is to send qi, blood and fluid to the reproductive organs; to promote and regulate the function of spleen, liver and kidney by the channel theories.   This translates to contemporary understanding, is to promote the function of uterus and ovaries, regulate digestion, stress & emotion, and increase energy in the body.    

IVF Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be adjourned to IVF treatment to increase the change of pregnancy and live birth as it does not interact with IVF treatment.   It is best to have acupuncture treatment regularly at least once a week starting weeks prior to IVF treatment, as the effect of acupuncture needs to be build up overtime. In fact, acupuncture is often administer daily or every second day for 3 months or longer in China for patients decided to do traditional fertility treatment without herbs.  Moreover, having acupuncture during IVF treatment may be helpful in reducing stress.  A recent study found the efficacy of a short course of acupuncture administered around the time of ovarian stimulation and on the day of the ET(embryo transfer) has no significant difference in live birth rates, but did find acupuncture can reduce the stress level.  This result may mean that acupuncture fertility treatment may need longer course to be beneficial and future researches are needed to evaluate this.   

B. Teng, J. Peng, M. Ong & X. Qu 2017, "Successful Pregnancy after Treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine in a 43-Year-Old Woman with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Multiple Uterus Fibrosis: A case Report", Medicines, 4(7).   


The paper, Effect of acupuncture vs sham acupuncture on live births among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a randomized clinical trial is available online: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/10.1001/jama.2018.5336