For couples struggling with infertility, the emotional toll can be immense. In addition to conventional medical treatments like IVF, many turn to complementary approaches like acupuncture to support fertility and conception. Acupuncture is growing increasingly popular for addressing female and male fertility issues. In this blog, we’ll explore how fertility acupuncture in Columbus Ohio may enhance fertility, what research says about its effectiveness, what to expect during treatment, and how to find an acupuncturist in Columbus, Ohio that specializes in fertility.

How Can Acupuncture Help with Fertility?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture helps regulate the body’s energy flow. Imbalances in energy can manifest in physical issues, including reproductive problems. Acupuncture aims to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, modulate hormone levels, reduce stress, and generally create a body environment primed for conception.

For women, acupuncture may help:

  • Regulate menstrual cycles and ovulation
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
  • Reduce FSH levels and improve ovarian response
  • Minimize uterine contractions that can reject embryos
  • Lessen side effects of IVF medications

For men, acupuncture may:

  • Increase sperm count and motility
  • Decrease sperm DNA fragmentation
  • Improve morphology (sperm shape)
  • Reduce inflammation in the reproductive tract
  • Lessen stress and increase libido

While not proven, many acupuncturists believe consistent treatment 3-6 months before conception (and during pregnancy) creates optimal conditions.

What Does the Research Say?

Numerous studies suggest acupuncture can improve fertility outcomes, especially when combined with IVF. A 2016 review found acupuncture increased live birth rates by 65% when used alongside embryo transfer. Another study saw improved pregnancy rates for IVF patients receiving acupuncture within 1 day of embryo transfer.

However, research results are mixed. A 2018 Cochrane review concluded that current evidence demonstrating improved live birth rates is insufficient, primarily due to study quality issues. The quality of evidence for acupuncture’s effect on male fertility is also limited currently.

Overall, more rigorous research is still needed. But many fertility specialists and reproductive endocrinologists are now recommending acupuncture based on promising evidence so far. It is very safe with minimal side effects, making it worth considering alongside conventional treatments.

What to Expect During Fertility Acupuncture Sessions

A typical fertility acupuncture session lasts 45-60 minutes. Very fine sterile needles are inserted at specific points on the arms, legs, abdomen, and ears. Points are chosen based on the menstrual cycle phase and the patient’s TCM diagnosis. Needles in the abdomen and legs help increase blood supply to the reproductive system.

The acupuncturist will also assess the patient’s pulse and tongue to identify TCM patterns of imbalance. Points near the toes, fingers or scalp may help address issues like hormonal problems, ovulation difficulties, or stress. Patients relax quietly during the session.

Fertility acupuncture is often performed weekly or biweekly for 3-6 months prior to IVF or IUI. Many continue weekly sessions during their IVF cycle. Right before and after embryo transfer, some have acupuncture immediately before and after. Typical treatment plans involve 12+ sessions.

It is important not to expect immediate results. Consistency is key to achieving optimal effects on energy flow and hormones that influence fertility over time. Communicate with both your acupuncturist and reproductive endocrinologist throughout treatment.

Finding a Fertility Acupuncturist in Columbus

When seeking a fertility acupuncture in Columbus Ohio, here are some helpful tips:

  • Look for acupuncturists with extensive training in reproductive medicine. L.Ac designation and certifications in fertility acupuncture are good signs.
  • Ask about experience – at least 2 years of specialty training is recommended.
  • Seek practices that collaborate closely with reproductive endocrinologists and IVF clinics. This facilitates coordinating care.
  • Inquire about pricing and insurance coverage. Many work with patients to make frequent treatment affordable.
  • Check for membership in the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine which verifies advanced expertise.
  • Read patient reviews and set up a consultation to find a practitioner you feel comfortable with.
  • Location near your IVF clinic is preferable for easy coordination on transfer days.

Reputable fertility acupuncturists are ready to help couples in the Columbus area optimize their conception chances and support IVF success. While more research is still beneficial, results so far indicate combining acupuncture with reproductive treatments may be worthwhile for many patients.