In the past 20 years, there has been significant evidence that acupuncture can help improve fertility, leading to higher rates of pregnancy and live births in fertility patients receiving acupuncture. Because of promising research done in this area, acupuncture for IUI is now being used to help couples who are doing Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI, successfully conceive more quickly.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is often chosen by couples who are in early stages of fertility treatments. IUI is also commonly done by couples with unexplained infertility, or with mild male factor issues, as well as lesbian couples or single mothers by choice. It is an in-office medical procedure that involves inserting sperm directly into the uterus, bypassing the vagina and cervix.
IUI is often done along with oral fertility medications, such as Clomid or Letrozole, to enhance egg production and quality, increasing chances of success. It is thought that for many women and couples, inserting concentrated sperm further into the reproductive tract allows for conception at an increased rate compared to natural conception. When used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) increase conception rates by 26%.
A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports, “When combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.” For the 4.5 million couples experiencing infertility each year, acupuncture may be just what the doctor ordered. (source)
How Acupuncture for IUI Works
When combined with medicated IUI cycles, consistent acupuncture treatments throughout your cycles may increase your chances of success. Acupuncture works in part by increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, enhancing their function.
This is thought to increase egg quality, so that each ovulation has a greater chance of producing a healthy baby. When ovulation-induction medications are used along with acupuncture treatments, the ovarian environment is well supported to make the best possible eggs.
Acupuncture can support healthy hormonal regulation and can help the ovaries respond well to the ovulation-induction medications. From the research, it appears that when acupuncture and oral fertility medications are used together, a best-of-both-worlds scenario is created, allowing for better egg quality and higher rates of pregnancy during IUI cycles.
Acupuncture also works by reducing stress hormones and regulating our nervous system’s response to stress. While stress is not the cause of infertility, it can be a major factor when someone is failing to conceive.
When we’re under high or prolonged stress, our hormonal balance, digestion, and blood circulation are all negatively affected. In addition, sleep is often disturbed, creating a negative loop of fatigue and more stress.
Getting consistent acupuncture treatments along with IUI cycles can reduce stress hormones in the body, as well as improve digestion, blood circulation, and sleep, all contributing to better fertility. When the body is relaxed and functioning well, fertility is a natural result.
What special services can Portland Acupuncture Studio provide to increase chances of having a successful IUI?
At Portland Acupuncture Studio, our two practitioners have 38 years’ total experience working with fertility patients, in conjunction with their conventional medical providers. We have supported thousands of women during IUI cycles, and have seen much success.
We understand what to do – and not to do – when someone is taking ovulation-induction medication to improve ovarian response and increase chances of success. We have clarity about the best timing for acupuncture treatments when combined with IUI cycles, and have providers available 6 days per week to allow for all possible timing scenarios.
Contact us to learn more about how we can support you in your particular circumstances. Let us help you gain more hope and less stress during your fertility journey.