Acupuncture and fertility treatments

Inspired by current events, Edith Charbonneau gives us an update on the assistance that acupuncture can provide in cases of infertility and fertility treatments.

Wanting children and having a family is a very important step for most couples. You stop taking the pill and eventually get pregnant, sometimes after only a cycle or two. For many couples however, conceiving is not so easy.

Unlike our grandmothers, we are waiting much longer before becoming mothers, We go to university, start a career and wait to meet our ideal man. Many different reasons bring us to conceive in our early, mid or late thirties.

When everything is set and you’re finally ready, your body is unfortunately not as much.

According to many sources, one out of eight couples has trouble conceiving. For some it’s hypofertility, namely that a couple has been regularly trying for a baby for at least a year without contraception. We are talking about infertility when a couple is unable to conceive after trying for more than a year.

After trying – and failing- for months, some couples will turn to fertility clinics.

Acupuncture is an interesting option to maximize the chances of having a successful fertility treatment, such as taking hormones to stimulate ovulation, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination.

Acupuncture and fertility

Acupuncture, a 3,000 year-old discipline, can help increase your fertility.

In 1996, the World Health Organization approved acupuncture treatments for many conditions, such as reproductive problems, infertility, premenstrual syndrome, impotence, vaginitis, menstrual cramps and irregular cycles.

Recent studies show the positive effects of acupuncture on IVF treatments, and that it increases the treatment’s success rate.

Acupuncture, a holistic approach

Acupuncture is a holistic medicine, meaning that it emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. It takes into consideration your entire body, not just the symptoms that you believe to be related to your fertility.

During your first visit to the acupuncturist, he will ask you questions about your general health: sleep, digestion, stools, habits, medical history, periods, etc. He will then be able to make your complete checkup according to traditional Chinese medicine.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, a healthy person is a balanced person. It’s when an imbalance settles in that discomforts start to appear.

Acupuncture treatments aim to rebalance your body, prepare it to have a healthy baby and carry it to term. Because it’s a holistic medicine, you will also feel better generally:

  • More energy
  • Less stress
  • Deeper sleep
  • Better digestion and evacuation
When to visit an acupuncturist?

You can visit one at any time. Some women go early on, before turning to fertility clinics. For some of them, simply visiting an acupuncturist at that stage can be enough to bring on a pregnancy.

To rebalance your body and promote the success of treatment in a fertility clinic, it is advisable to consult an acupuncturist a few times a few weeks before the date of treatment (whether artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization or taking hormones to promote ovulation).

In the case of in vitro fertilization, the acupuncturist can come to the fertility clinic and do a treatment 25 minutes before the embryo transfer and immediately after.

Inspiring books

The infertility cure – The ancient Chinese wellness program for getting pregnant and having healthy babies, Dr. Randine Lewis, Éditions Little Brown, 2005, ISBN : 9780316159210, $19,99.

Edith Charbonneau

Edith Charbonneau is an acupuncturist and works specifically with pregnant women and couples with fertility disorders since 2003. Trained by John Levesque acupuncturist, she did an internship in obstetrics at LaSalle hospital. She assisted many women during childbirth, both in hospitals and birthing center. Mother of two boys, she also treats children and has a special expertise in fertility disorders. She works with fertility clinics (Procrea, Ovo, Mc Gill) to offer acupuncture treatments during insemination or in vitro fertilization. As a volunteer breastfeeding godmother for Nourri-Source, she offers support to women wishing to breastfeed. With the help of a nurse, she hosts prenatal activities on breastfeeding at the CLSC Rosemont. It is a great pleasure for her to share her knowledge with prospective and new parents. Edith Charbonneau, Acupuncturist  Member of  L’Ordre des acupuncteurs du Québec and L’Association des acupuncteurs du Québec 6955 Christophe-Colomb, bureau 104 Montréal H2S 2H7

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