Acupuncture and Infertility Treatment


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Acupuncture and infertility treatment.pngWhat is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an alternative medical treatment that involves placing very thin needles at different points on the body. It was first recorded in China about 2,000 years ago, but most believe the practice began between 3,000–4,000 years ago. Insertion techniques and the type, style, and size of needle used can vary widely, as different styles were developed as acupuncture spread through Asia and the rest of the world. Traditional Chinese acupuncture is the more commonly used type of acupuncture in the United States.

How might acupuncture help me?

Acupuncture proponents have recommended it for a variety of medical conditions that affect fertility. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, endometriosis, and issues with ovarian reserve and sperm quality. It may also help relieve some of the side effects associated with fertility drugs (such as bloating and nausea). Acupuncture has been shown to promote relaxation. While some medical studies have shown acupuncture to be helpful in treating these fertility problems, other studies have not.

When should I start acupuncture treatment?

Women are often advised to start acupuncture 3 months before they start treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). However, starting acupuncture along with your doctor’s recommended fertility therapy may still be beneficial. 

What can I expect at my first visit with the acupuncturist?

At the first visit, your acupuncturist will ask questions about your lifestyle (diet, stress levels, exercise, sleep habits) and your fertility concerns. Your acupuncturist may also perform an exam, including feeling your pulse and looking at your tongue. The use of acupuncture needles is next and can last from about 30 minutes to an hour.

How frequently should I do acupuncture?

Your acupuncturist will tailor treatments to your condition but will generally recommend a treatment 1–3 times a week. Each session after the first one may last up to an hour—first a discussion period to update your acupuncturist followed by a 20–40-minute session with needles.

Will the needles hurt?

Most patients experience little to no pain. Some might experience a mild, dull ache, pinch, or even shock sensation. Occasionally, bruising can occur at the places where the needles are inserted. Let your acupuncturist know if you are taking aspirin or other anticoagulants (blood thinners). Because qualified acupuncturists use disposable needles, the risk for infection is very, very low.

Are there activities I should avoid before/after an acupuncture session?

Though your acupuncturist might advise following a healthy diet/lifestyle, nothing is strictly forbidden. Acupuncture helps with relaxation as well, so
avoiding highly physical activities (running, gym class) immediately after a session might be helpful.

How do I find an acupuncturist? What should I look for?

In the United States, an acupuncturist should be registered with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA). The ABMA is only for acupuncturists who are also MDs or DOs, so it doesn’t represent most acupuncturists. Also, if required by the state, the acupuncturist should be licensed to practice in his/her state. Acupuncturists who specialize in fertility may also be certified with the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.

Will insurance cover acupuncture?

Some insurance plans may cover acupuncture. Because plans vary in coverage, you should check with your provider.

Fact Sheets/Booklets

View more fact sheets and booklets written by the ASRM Patient Education Committee.
Patient Booklet teaser

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (booklet)

This booklet will help you understand in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) that have become accepted medical treatments for infertility.
Patient Factsheet teaser

Hormonal Contraception

Hormonal contraceptives contain a progestin (progesterone medicine) with or without an estrogen.
Patient Factsheet teaser

What do I need to know about Zika virus and trying to have a baby?

Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain, and headache.
Patient Booklet teaser

Third-Party Reproduction

The phrase “third-party reproduction” refers to involving someone other than the individual or couple that plans to raise the child (intended parent[s]) in the process of reproduction.

Resources For You

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) is committed to providing patients with the highest quality information about reproductive care.

Infertility

Podcast Icon

SART Fertility Experts - Environmental Impacts on Fertility

In this episode, the fertility experts discuss the impact of the environment, including air, climate, and chemical exposures on infertility.   Listen to the Episode
PR Bulletin Icon

Survey shows strong support for increased access to fertility treatments

A new public opinion poll reveals strong support for improved access to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). 

View the Press Release
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Leave Your Mark! NIAW April 21-27

National Infertility Awareness Week Action Round-Up Click here to leave your mark during NIAW2024
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National Infertility Awareness Week 2024: Leave Your Mark

Next week is National Infertility Awareness Week, a federally recognized health observance founded to increase awareness of infertility.

View the Press Release
Announcement Icon

ASRM reacts to Alabama legislation

We are pleased that the legislation passed into law by the Alabama General Assembly will at least allow our members in the state to care for their patients.

View the Press Release
Announcement Icon

IVF at the SOTU: Fertility care expected to be major focus at State of the Union

Protecting access to IVF care is expected to be a major theme of the State of the Union on Thursday.

View the Press Release
Announcement Icon

ASRM Responds to Proposed Alabama Legislation

We are proud of our Alabama members and their patients, who have been such incredible advocates working to motivate their legislators to protect IVF.

View the Press Release
Announcement Icon

Senate Budget Hearing is Well Timed Following Alabama IVF Ruling

ASRM statement regarding the Senate Budget Committee’s hearing entitled: No Rights to Speak of: The Economic Harms of Restricting Reproductive Freedom.

View the Press Release
Announcement Icon

ASRM Responds to Senate’s Failure to Pass Access to Family Building Act

We are disappointed by the Senate’s failure to meet the moment and pass federal legislation protecting access to in vitro fertilization (IVF).

View the Press Release
PR Bulletin Icon

Society of Reproductive Biologists and Technologists (SRBT) Condemns Recent Court Decision in Alabama

The recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that frozen embryos are legally considered people has sparked controversy and concern.

View the Press Release
Announcement Icon

ASRM Condemns Profoundly Misguided and Dangerous Court Decision in Alabama

In LePage v Mobile Infirmary Clinic, the Alabama Supreme Court made a decision that flies in the face of medical reality and the needs of the citizens.

View the Press Release
Podcast Icon

SART Fertility Experts - Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Implantation Failure

"I can get pregnant, but I can't stay pregnant," is echoed by patients with recurrent pregnancy loss.   Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Wellness and Fertility: Diet, Sleep and Exercise

Drs. Timothy Hickman and Rashmi Kudesia discuss the links between lifestyle and fertility. Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Navigating IVF as a Couple

Mary Casey Jacob, PhD is interviewed by Dr. Daniel Grow, and together they explore the emotional and practical support that couples need. Listen to the Episode
Patient Ed Icon

Male Fertility Journey

About 20% of infertility cases are due to a male factor alone. Another 30% involves both male and female factors.

View the Patient Journey
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Female Fertility Journey

If you've been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, you may have infertility. Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs one of the body's most basic functions: the conception of children.

View the Patient Journey
Podcast Icon

SART Fertility Experts - Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that can affect many facets of a person’s life, from pelvic pain to struggles with infertility.   Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Candace discusses her experience with infertility, IVF, multiple pregnancy losses and ultimately a successful delivery with Dr. Julia Woodward.
Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Financial Aspects of Infertility Treatment

“I know what treatment I want and need to do, but how can I afford it?”  This is a common question infertility patients often ask themselves. Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Infertility Advocacy and Government Affairs

In today's episode, Dr. Mark Trolice interviews Sean Tipton about the fact that many infertility patients do not have insurance coverage for treatment. Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Your Infertility Nurse: Partner in Your Care

Infertility nurse practitioner and health coach Monica Moore explains the essential role of the infertility nurse in the IVF process.  Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - IVF: Cycles of Hope and Heartbreak

Does stress cause infertility or is it the other way round?  Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - RESOLVE and Infertility

Due to the unique stress of infertility, patients often look for resources and support in addition to those provided by their medical provider. Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - Safe Surfing: The Pros and Perils of Social Media

Dr. Kenan Omurtag, MD joins host Dr. Mark Trolice to discuss the use of social media in the field of infertility.  Listen to the Episode
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SART Fertility Experts - What is an REI?

These experts in infertility lead IVF programs, perform reproductive surgery, and perform research to enhance the field of reproductive medicine. Listen to the Episode
Videos Icon

Stress and Infertility

Medical procedures, cost, outcome uncertainty, and unwanted or unhelpful advice from friends and family are stressors associated with infertility treatment. Watch Video
Patient Ed Icon

Infertility: an Overview (booklet)

Infertility is typically defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse. View the booklet
Patient Ed Icon

Optimizing Natural Fertility

Before attempting pregnancy, a woman should make sure she is healthy enough for pregnancy by adopting a healthier lifestyle and taking prenatal vitamins. If she has a medical or genetic condition or risk of one, she should seek advice from a medical professional before conceiving (becoming pregnant) View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Optimizing Male Fertility

About 20% of infertility cases are due to a male factor alone. Another 30% involves both male and female factors. View the fact sheet
Videos Icon

Male Fertility and Infertility - a patient education video

Male Factor Infertility is responsible for about 30% of infertility cases and can contribute infertility to an additional 20% of cases. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Infertility

Infertility is the result of a disease (an interruption, cessation, or disorder of body functions, systems, or organs) of the male or female reproductive tract which prevents the conception of a child or the ability to carry a pregnancy to delivery.  Watch Video
Videos Icon

Basic Infertility Evaluation

Dr. Roger Lobo of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine discusses the various methods to evaluate infertility. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Fibroid Tumors

An educational video that answers patient questions about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and management of uterine fibroids. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Infertility Treatments

Dr. Roger Lobo of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine discusses the various treatments for infertility. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Understanding Fertility

In this video series, Dr. Roger Lobo explains the basics of infertility, including causes, treatments and coping methods. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Surviving the Roller Coaster Emotions of Infertility Treatment

The experience of infertility is a rollercoaster of hope and disappointment. Treatment presents an opportunity for hope as well as a new set of challenges. Watch Video
Patient Ed Icon

Age and Fertility (booklet)

Generally, reproductive potential decreases as women get older, and fertility can be expected to end 5 to 10 years before menopause. View the Booklet
Patient Ed Icon

What is Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)?

This is a condition when a woman has 2 or more clinical pregnancy losses (miscarriages) before the pregnancies reach 20 weeks. View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Endometriosis: Does It Cause Infertility?

When tissue like the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) is found outside the uterus, it is termed “endometriosis.” View the Fact Sheet
Patient Ed Icon

What is Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (Also Called Premature Ovarian Failure)?

When a woman’s ovaries stop working before age 40, she is said to have premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).  View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

What is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)?

A procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be done along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) if a sperm cannot penetrate the outer layer of an egg. Read the Fact Sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Acupuncture and Infertility Treatment

Acupuncture is an alternative medical treatment that involves placing very thin needles at different points on the body. View the Fact Sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Male infertility evaluation: what do I need to know?

Infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected sex. View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Saline infusion sonohysterogram (SHG)

Saline infusion sonohysterography (SIS or SHG) is aprocedure to evaluate the uterus and the shape of the uterine cavity. View the fact sheet
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Sexual dysfunction and infertility

Sexual dysfunction is a problem in a person’s sexual desire, arousal, or orgasm. View the fact sheet
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Testosterone use and male infertility

Testosterone (also referred to as “T”) is a hormone produced in men by the testes (testicles). View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

What are fibroids?

Uterine fibroids (also called myomas or leiomyomas) are benign (noncancerous) tumors of muscle tissue found in the uterus. View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

What is In Vitro Maturation (IVM)?

In vitro maturation (IVM) is when a woman’s eggs are collected and matured outside the body. This is done as part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. View the fact sheet
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Stress and infertility

It is not clear how exactly stress impacts fertility. Read the Fact Sheet
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Hyperprolactinemia (High Prolactin Levels)

Prolactin is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland which sits at the bottom of the brain. Read the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Defining Infertility

Infertility is “the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.” View the Fact Sheet
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Fertility Rights and Responsibilities

Can a fertility program or clinic deny treatment to patient(s) if there is concern about the ability to care for the child(ren)? Yes. Fertility programs can withhold services if there are signs that patients will not be able to care for child(ren). View this Fact Sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Smoking and infertility

Most people understand that smoking increases the risk for heart, vascular, and lung disease. View the fact sheet
Patient Ed Icon

Infertility Counseling and Support: When and Where to Find It

Infertility is a medical condition that touches all aspects of your life. View the fact sheet
Videos Icon

Coping With Infertility

Dr. Roger Lobo of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine discusses various methods of coping with infertility. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, develops outside of the uterine cavity in abnormal locations. Watch Video
Videos Icon

Causes of Female Infertility

Dr. Roger Lobo, of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine explains the causes of female infertility. Watch Video
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Causes of Male Infertility

Dr. Roger Lobo, of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine explains the causes of male infertility. Watch Video
Patient Ed Icon

Diagnostic Testing for Male Factor Infertility

When a couple has trouble having a baby, there's about a 50-50 chance that the man has a problem contributing to the pregnancy.

  View the Fact Sheet
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FAQ About Infertility

Infertility is not an inconvenience; it's a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body's ability to perform the basic function of reproduction. Learn the facts
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FAQ About the Psychological Component of Infertility

Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together. Learn the facts
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Mary Dolan's Story

I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve/premature ovarian failure at 28 years old.
Read the story
Infographic Icon

Infertility Infographics

ASRM has prepared infographics to illustrate the subject of Infertility better. View the infographics

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