It depends who you ask. A 2002 study conducted in Germany concluded that acupuncture can help women who are undergoing IVF treatment conceive, however, it is unproven whether acupuncture actually improves fertility as a whole. There are certainly those who believe it can boost fertility, and it’s pretty clear that acupuncture can help reduce stress, even if some of the mainstream medical establishment has not come around on it yet.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a Chinese therapeutic practice dating back thousands of years, based on the belief that energy (known as “qi”) flows along specific pathways throughout the body. Practitioners believe that stimulating certain points along the pathways helps to balance your body’s energy, providing a wide range of health benefits, of which increased fertility is one. Although acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, it has only recently gained wider acceptance in the western medical community.
How can it help fertility?
Supporters of acupuncture believe that the therapy can increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which may help build healthier eggs, and better prepare your uterus for pregnancy, which could elevate the likelihood that a fertilized egg successfully implants.
However, there does seem to be a consensus among the medical community that acupuncture can be effective at reducing stress, and while stress doesn’t usually directly impact fertility, it can cause things like a lack of sleep and a disinterest in sex that might inhibit your chances of conceiving.
Is it safe?
Although getting stuck with needles across your body might sound like risky business, in truth, it’s quite safe. You should always talk to your healthcare provider about therapies like acupuncture before beginning, but in most cases there should be little concern. So long as the person performing your acupuncture is a trained, licensed professional, there aren’t many risks involved.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for a leg-up in your road to conception, acupuncture might be for you. Although there isn’t a huge amount of evidence to suggest that it can help you conceive, it definitely can’t hurt, and if it helps you reduce stress or make you feel better overall, there’s no sense in not.
Acupuncture is also believed to help male fertility, so you may want to talk to your partner about the possibility of acupuncture therapy as well.