Like anything else, when it comes to the topic of acupuncture everyone has an opinion. It’s scientifically proven that acupuncture can help or cure many diseases and conditions, but still many people don’t believe it. For acupuncture for infertility, tremendous scientific research has been done in China over the past 60 years indicating that it can affect our body in every way such as molecular, cell, tissue and system levels, etc. through regulating the nerve system and the endocrine system directly or indirectly, specifically the reproductive system such as ovary function, pituitary gland and adrenal gland function etc. The details can be found in the book Scientific Foundations of Acupuncture and Moxibustion by Zhu Bing Ph.D (Qing Dao 1998). There are many more books and publications about it, this book is just one example.
Many countries have started to use acupuncture for medical purposes. The National Institute of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services published a Consensus Development Statement on acupuncture in 1997, which concluded that acupuncture can help many diseases and conditions. About 10 years ago, there was research done in Europe that stated acupuncture increases the pregnancy rate at a 50% chance. However in recent years, a study stated acupuncture can only relax people instead of helping them become pregnant.
There are many theories in medical fields that continuously change over time, depending on the latest developments. Take the CPR procedure and the principal of dealing with shock patients for example, these theories go back and forth, proving and disproving each other as the time goes on. We don’t think one or two scientific studies are able to represent the whole truth about acupuncture for infertility. The reality of acupuncture helping infertility issues in daily practice indicates that it works very well, otherwise acupuncture clinics for infertility wouldn’t have survived.
In the past years, just like other clinics, we have helped many infertility patients conceive with acupuncture and Chinese herbs treatment without IVF or IUI, aged from 30 to 45. Some of them are diagnosed by other specialists that they can not pregnant naturally or at all in their life time. We even helped patients get pregnant naturally with our protocol at ages 45, 47 and even 49.
Our first patient of this kind was a 35 year old woman from Brazil. In the initial visit, she told us her OB/GYN and the IVF specialist informed her that she will never get pregnant, according to her situation. After consultation and examination with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methodologies, we concluded that she was not hopeless and she still had a good chance to get pregnant naturally. After 15 sessions of acupuncture treatment with TCM herbs, within two months she became pregnant naturally. Twelve months later, she surprised me by coming to my office with her baby in the stroller. She told everyone in the office that we made the impossible possible. This patient is just one of many examples. We’ve also helped many M.D.’s themselves from different medical specialties in different medical facilities, such as: New York Presbyterian Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical School Hospital, New York Hospital, etc. to become pregnant in similar ways. One of our physician patients from New York Hospital was referred to us by her patient, who got pregnant by our acupuncture treatment, after experiencing three failed IVF procedures. We found that she had an irregular period, and was always tired with ice cold extremities, which means her hormones were imbalanced. We told her to stop trying IVF until her body was ready in terms of TCM diagnosis. Within two months she had 12 acupuncture sessions. Her period was regulated and she stopped experiencing ice cold extremities. We suggested that she should continue acupuncture treatments with IVF procedures, and in four months she was pregnant. Ten months later she gave birth to a healthy baby. Some physicians have tried IVF as many as five times without any results. Many of them after combining IVF with acupuncture treatment became pregnant too. We’ve had a patient from Australia that told us she tried IVF 18 times without any results, which is far too many times for one person to try. If the body is not well balanced and not ready, it is useless to try IVF again and again.
In the last 40 days, at our clinic, we’ve had four out of the seven couples we treated get pregnant. Three of these couples became pregnant naturally, at ages 34-37, who had been heading for IVF procedures. One couple had 12 acupuncture sessions and became pregnant within two months, the second couple got pregnant in the 3rd month, the third couple tried 24 sessions and within four months they were pregnant.
To understand why acupuncture can help infertility we must first become familiar with Chinese culture and tradition. One of the most important rules in Chinese culture and the tradition is: you must reproduce. Otherwise, it’s a sign of disrespect to your parents, family and ancestors. Essentially, you would be blamed for discontinuing the family lineage. Therefore, one of the important duties for Chinese doctors is to help patients conceive and have their own babies. This kind of practice dates back at least 2,000 years. Chinese doctors have spent centuries developing methodologies for infertility issues in both men and women. The procedures for female reproductive health include the care of: menstruation, pregnancy, breast feeding/lactation, inducing labor, and diseases and conditions related to postpartum; while for males this includes: ED, ejaculation problems etc. According to TCM and acupuncture theory, unless your missing an essential organ(s), some fundamentals to becoming pregnant as a woman are a healthy body and a regular and normal menstrual cycle etc.
Last year there was a book published in China by a colleague of mine from medical school. After reading the book I realized we have similar experiences regarding infertility issues with Chinese medicine and acupuncture. The book gives us many examples of cases labeled by specialists as ‘impossible’ without the help of IVF who got pregnant naturally with acupuncture and Chinese herbs treatments. I couldn’t agree more with one point of view from the book that the lab results are one thing, but the balance of the body is another. As long as the body is well balanced the lab results are not the most important as what is supposed to be, at least in terms of infertility issues. Otherwise there shouldn’t be so many so called impossible patients eventually getting pregnant and having healthy babies.
Nowadays, specifically in the United States, the cause of infertility for women, according to our clinical experience – apart from having organ problems – are: stress, aging, too low Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) etc. Other factors include an imbalance of hormones due to diet, drugs, and other related diseases such as thyroid problems etc. If the related diseases and conditions are not our specialty, we do refer the patient to corespondent specialists. We found that many of our patients do not have a clear picture about their infertility issues even after seeking treatment from other infertility specialists. We also found from our patients some infertility specialists, do not suggest to see acupuncturists for help. We don’t know why, maybe because they don’t have enough information about acupuncture as a beneficial infertility treatment. Whatever it is, professionally and morally for the patient’s benefit it is fair to let the patients try acupuncture or combine acupuncture with IVF treatments. We truly believe from clinical experience that to let the patient understand what we are doing is important. If the patient cannot get the whole picture of this process, the results of the treatment will be poor. We also truly believe that the cooperation between patient and doctor is very important. That is why, in our clinic, when we see patients we always give them a clear picture of the whole procedure in a very detailed way according to our knowledge and experience, then the patients can comply.
The most unique part of Chinese medicine, for thousands of years, is the pure trial and error based only on human beings without the testing on animals. That is why the principals and treatments of TCM and acupuncture, some people believe, are closer to the reality of human being’s diseases and conditions. Many Chinese follow the Chinese medicine rules in their daily life activities for well being and to maintain their well being, especially, when they have medical problems such as infertility and it’s related problems. That is why some people say that Chinese medicine and acupuncture contribute to the Chinese population, obviously it shows today with its large size.