Female Fertility Acupuncture

Over the past 25 years many hundreds of women and men have been supported by us in their journey to become parents. This includes people from all walks of life and with different stories to tell, often after a long and difficult fertility journey.
Website clinic baby photo

At the clinic we offer each person an individually tailored approach, unique to their situation following an in-depth Fertility Support Consultation.

In the Fertility Consultation we develop together a detailed plan of action and way forward which may include Acupuncture alongside nutritional, lifestyle advice or herbal medicine. We discuss very specific in-depth female and male fertility information relevant to your individual situation which is supported by written material to take away. This offers changes which can be made to diet or lifestyle, it may include looking at additional testing that it would be useful to have, amongst many other areas. It includes the latest research and current developing thinking such as how the gut and vaginal microbiome come into play affecting fertility and exploring how we can address this to maximise fertility. We offer support and someone to talk to throughout what is often a difficult journey. Small differences in our reproductive status and general wellness prior to conception can lead to bigger and more important differences for mother and baby later.

It takes four and a half months from the time the follicle in the ovary starts to develop to the moment where the egg it contains is mature enough for ovulation. There’s a lot you can do during this time whether trying naturally or in preparation for assisted conception which will influence the development of that egg and that of the sperm in its’ development from stem cell to mature sperm.

We have over 2 decades experience in working with all types of male and female fertility issues and in working alongside medical protocols. In supporting those trying naturally or through assisted conception including donor cycles. We have a network of support and refer to specialist medical practitioners for additional testing where necessary. Our Acupuncture sessions are constantly refined and reviewed based upon information from research* and aim to give you the very best support throughout your journey.

Our Success Stories

Acupuncture and Fertility

Research*  indicates that Acupuncture may help female fertility on a number of levels.

This includes improving blood flow in the uterine artery which both enhances the environment follicles are developing in and also increases blood flow to the uterus, improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation 1.

At the clinic we offer sessions of gentle electro-Acupuncture based on this and other research*. Our fertility Acupuncture protocols, which have been designed by us, are unique to the clinic.

Acupuncture also has an effect in reducing the stress hormones cortisol and prolactin. This has positive effects on egg quality and implantation, on pregnancy and live birth rate 2. The majority of people coming to the clinic say they feel more relaxed and have a greater sense of well-being for having Acupuncture.

In one study the maximum effect of having Acupuncture on women suffering with heightened anxiety was measured 72 hours after their acupuncture treatment. The positive effects of a course of Acupuncture were still evident a month after it was completed 3.

1 Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008*

2 Magarelli and Cridennda 2009*

3 Arranz 2007*

PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility.

Women with PCOS, particularly those with irregular or infrequent periods, have their own particular challenges when it comes to conceiving. Acupuncture protocols may help to reduce some of the factors that operate with polycystic ovaries.

For example, Acupuncture may help reduce testosterone and LH levels and help to promote more frequent ovulation and better quality eggs. Acupuncture may also help to decrease insulin resistance and reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, both of which are often high in PCOS. Working at all these levels, Acupuncture can help to improve ovarian function and increase ovulation frequency restoring more regular menstrual cycles. 1

The clinic uses specific Acupuncture protocols based on this research*, designed for our clinic when working with PCO.

Endometriosis reduces fertility by damaging ovary function (AMH is reduced) and negatively impacting on the immune milieu (inflammatory cytokines are raised) as well as affecting the lining of the uterus and its implantation sites. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of endometriosis and for improving fertility.

Chinese herbs have been shown to improve response to IVF drugs and fertilisation rates in those with endometriosis. Research* carried out in China and Australia reveals that Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can effectively reduce symptoms of endometriosis such as pain, improve fertility and reduce immune and inflammatory markers. 2

We have a wealth of experience to support those experiencing PCO and endometriosis following two decades of specialist training. In our Fertility Support Consultation  we explore in detail diet and lifestyle factors which can have a positive impact. This includes the latest research and current developing thinking such as how the gut and vaginal microbiome come into play for these conditions exploring how we can address this to maximise fertility.

1Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2009

2Lim CED 2010, Flower 2009, Lian Fang 2009*

Eggs need a good blood supply, the right nutrients, the right hormone signals and the capacity to supply enough energy to the embryo.

While one cannot turn back the clock, or change the DNA, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can potentially be used to rejuvenate some oocyte characteristics by improving delivery of nutrition to the developing egg and enhancing its capacity to make energy, thus increasing its chance of making a viable embryo.

Acupuncture has been shown to promote the growth of new blood vessels 1* and to specifically increase blood flow to the ovaries and the time when the follicles and the eggs inside them are developing is a critical time for Acupuncture.

The use of certain Acupuncture point combinations, used in our protocols at the clinic, plus a particular frequency of gentle electrical pulse promotes blood supply, and delivery of nutrition and oxygen to the follicles improving their potential to fertilise and create embryos.

Recently the crucial role that the immune system plays in the process of embryo implantation and the development of the placenta has been demonstrated, indicating that subtle imbalances in the immune environment of the uterus can impact upon establishing a healthy pregnancy.

Recent reviews on the effect of Acupuncture on the immune system have concluded that appropriate and frequent Acupuncture can provoke sustained anti-inflammatory activity, without stimulation of pro-inflammatory cells 2* .

We know that stress also affects the immune system and Acupuncture has been shown to exert a beneficial modulatory effect on such immune imbalances caused by anxiety and stress.

We have supported many people over the years experiencing miscarriage. Miscarriage causes  difficult emotions especially when the pregnancy is long awaited or has happened before. Following miscarriage a subsequent pregnancy can be filled with complicated emotions and anxiety. At the clinic we offer a huge amount of emotional support. Our Fertility Support Consultations look at a range of factors which can have an impact on miscarriage such as egg quality, immune and microbiome issues as well as male factors which can impact on miscarriage. Acupuncture sessions are also tailored to support anxiety, stress and well-being.

1 Bu 2011*

2 Zijlstra 2003*, Sun 1999*

The use of Acupuncture alongside assisted fertility has become widespread over the past few years. Acupuncture is a safe adjunctive therapy for women undergoing IVF,ICSI and IUI as there are no adverse effects. Many people coming to the clinic comment that they are convinced having Acupuncture alongside their fertility hospital based treatment has made a difference and that it has also helped their overall feeling of relaxation and well-being throughout the process.

We have many years of experience and understanding in using Acupuncture alongside assisted fertility protocols and use traditional methods combined with a modern evidence-based approach we believe to get the very best out of Acupuncture sessions.

Preparing properly for IVF or other assisted fertility treatments is important and embarking on them can be very demanding and stressful. The right physical, nutritional and emotional support, before and during the treatment, can help off-set these stresses and enhance your overall well-being. Support from the clinic can keep you positive and in the right mind set too. All of which will help you during the treatment.

Sessions are suitable for everyone, including single people, same sex partners and those undergoing IVF with donor eggs or donor sperm. Many men choose also to have Acupuncture in order to maximise sperm parameters for IVF, ICSI or IUI.

At the clinic we carry out specific Acupuncture protocols which are based upon research* and aim to support you at every step of the way. A plan will be devised at the initial Fertility Support Consultation looking at your unique situation. This includes specific sessions prior to commencing IVF, during IVF, pre and post embryo transfer and during the two week wait. 1, 2.

1 Paulus 2002*

2 Magarelli and Cridennda 2004*, Manheimer 2008

More About Our Training

Caroline is one of a small group of Acupuncturists internationally to hold a Diploma in Advanced Fertility Acupuncture. This level of training reflects the depth of experience and commitment to providing the very best fertility Acupuncture. It has supported us here at the clinic to adapt the way we work as Acupuncturists to combine the ancient wisdom of Acupuncture with the information that modern medical testing is able to offer us.

The Diploma covered in depth training including:

  • causes of infertility such as PCOS and endometriosis
  • reproductive immunology and recurrent miscarriage
  • supporting IVF, IUI and other Assisted Reproductive Techniques.
  • pregnancy support
  • male issues in fertility

This level of training includes an ongoing commitment to keeping abreast of the latest developments in fertility as well as broadening knowledge. Some of the recent monthly CPD has included:

  • Dr Yao Thum. The Lister Clinic London: ‘As a consultant how do you choose the right protocol for clients?’
  • Dr Abbi Lulsegged. Consultant Physician, Endocrinologist and Functional Medicine Nutritionist. ‘Using an integrated approach for sperm health and insulin in PCOS’
  • Professor Gerard Conway. Consultant Endocrinologist and author. ‘Luteal phase defect in PCOS’
  • Dr Sheryl Homer. Andrologist and Clinical Scientist. ‘Male fertility DNA fragmentation and epigenetics’

The Zita West Clinic is a specialist holistic Fertility Clinic in London. Zita has written many books to support the fertility and pregnancy journey. Caroline is a founder member of the national Acupuncture Network affiliated to the clinic having undertaken specialist fertility training with the clinic.

As an experienced fertility Acupuncturist Caroline was invited by Zita West to lecture this experienced group of fertility Acupuncturists from across the UK and Ireland on numerous occasions. This has included topics such as ‘using Acupuncture to improve IVF outcome’ and ‘using electro-Acupuncture to support male and female fertility and pregnancy Acupuncture’. Caroline has lectured Acupuncturists working in the  Zita West Clinic as well as the national Acupuncture Network.

Here Zita briefly talks about the benefits of Acupuncture to support those going through IVF and ICSI.

In September 2010 Caroline had the unique opportunity to attend a specialist Fertility and Traditional Chinese Medicine course in Beijing, China. She was one of a small group of 14 experienced Acupuncturists with a specialist interest in fertility chosen from across the UK and Southern Ireland.

The course was led by Zita West, fertility expert, and was hosted at the prestigious Xiyuan Hospital of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. The hospital is part of the International Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine with the World Health Organisation (WHO), being both a national centre both for TCM, and for integrated Traditional and Western Medicine.

The course provided a unique opportunity to see fertility acupuncture and other forms of TCM practised in China, the home of Traditional Chinese Medicine and to see the benefits of integrating western and traditional medicine on such a large scale.

Specialist fertility lectures were given by a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and also by Zita West, providing invaluable additional learning which Caroline believes has been a unique learning opportunity directly benefiting her work here at the clinic.


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