Acupuncture has been shown to improve IVF success rates. In a study conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, researchers found that acupuncture improved the clinical pregnancy rate by 65% and the live birth rate by 41% compared to control groups.  Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce miscarriage rates, and decrease the incidence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).  If you are considering IVF, acupuncture from a skilled and experienced practitioner can boost your chances of achieving your goal of a healthy baby.

Even though acupuncture, a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been around for thousands of years, the modality still holds up as an effective adjunct to modern assisted reproductive treatments (ART), like IVF. Since the birth of Louise Joy Brown, the first IVF baby, on July 25, 1978, ART has undergone countless iterations and improvements, and scientists continue to try to find ways to improve outcomes. 

Interestingly, while acupuncture can seem far-fetched and a bit woo woo to some, modern research and clinical results have shown it to be effective, which is why fertility clinics around the U.S. have taken notice and begun encouraging their patients to seek acupuncture treatments along with IVF. 


Acupuncture has been shown to:

– Improve uterine blood flow and motility.

– Balance hormones. 

– Reduce stress and anxiety accompanying IVF treatment and fertility challenges.

– Reduce miscarriages and lower the chance of ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS).

– Improve live birth rates by 50-60%. 

– Improve underlying health concerns that contribute to infertility, like hypothyroidism, PCOS, and autoimmune disease. 

– Save money be reducing the number of IVF retrievals and transfers required for a live birth. 

Acupuncture may offer you the best chance at achieving a successful outcome from your fertility treatments!

Acupuncture is a safe, effective treatment that can be added to standard IVF care with minimal risk. If you are considering IVF, the ideal time to start acupuncture is 3 months prior to starting IVF. That’s because folliculogenesis is about a 90 day process, and that time can be spent preparing your body for the IVF protocol. The research shows that even one treatment prior to embryo transfer may be beneficial, so it’s never too late to add an experienced acupuncturist to your care team. 

If you’re curious about how acupuncture could benefit you during IVF or another fertility treatment, please reach out and schedule a consultation with me today. I would be happy to answer any questions that you have and help you decide if this is the right option for you. 



Manheimer, E., Zhang, G., Udoff, L., Haramati, A., Langenberg, P., Berman, B. M., & Bouter, L. M. (2008). Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)336(7643), 545–549. 

Qian, Y., Xia, XR., Ochin, H. et al. Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Gynecol Obstet 295, 543–558 (2017). 

P.C. Magarelli, D.K. Cridennda, Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure?, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 81, Supplement 3, 2004, Page 20.

Judith Balk, Janet Catov, Brandon Horn, Kimberly Gecsi, Anthony Wakim, The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: A pilot study, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Volume 16, Issue 3, 2010, Pages 154-157.

Are you considering in vitro fertilization (IVF)? Have you gone through one or more failed IVF cycles? Have you ever wondered what you can do to improve your chances of having a healthy baby? Allow me to share some facts that will be helpful in your endeavor. 

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a process where eggs and sperm are combined in a lab dish outside of the body and then one or more of the fertilized embryos is transferred back into the woman’s uterus. The IVF protocol overrides your body’s own natural hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian feedback loop. In other words, it sort of muscles your reproductive system into doing something it wouldn’t ordinarily be doing (e.g. producing multiple follicles at once). Acupuncture can improve your chance of success with IVF by as much as 50%. 

The Top Five Reasons to Try Acupuncture with IVF

  • To increase blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs. Acupuncture can reduce factors that impede the free flow of blood to the reproductive organs. By improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, oxygen and nutrients can boost ovarian function, and endometrial lining thickness, and it may improve egg quality. 
  • To reduce stress and anxiety. IVF is classified as an artificial reproductive technology (ART). There’s really nothing natural about it, and your body is designed to strive for homeostasis (balance), so when your reproductive system is being manipulated by a slew of exogenous hormones, it disrupts the balance. Acupuncture helps mitigate the side effects of IVF treatment and their impact on the body’s balance.                                                                                                                  Additionally, the process itself requires multiple doctor’s exams and trips to the lab for blood tests. Don’t forget about the big box of medications that show up on your doorstep. There are pills and shots and decisions galore. Acupuncture is very effective at providing relaxation and lowering the impact of stress on your body. Based on my patients’ feedback, I think this is one of the most important benefits. 
  • To regulate the immune system.  If your body is dealing with immune issues (autoimmune disease, inflammation, chronic infections, etc.), this can create a barrier to healthy follicle production and embryo implantation. Your body’s #1 priority is your wellbeing and survival, so if it is preoccupied with an imbalanced immune system, it decreases your odds of IVF success.  
  • To improve implantation odds. Studies have shown that acupuncture in conjunction with IVF can improve your odds of success by 40-60%! There are multiple studies with varying protocols that produced positive results when acupuncture is part of IVF. One thing to keep in mind when looking at studies (not that you’d do that for fun) is that it is difficult to design an RCT (randomized controlled trial) when doing acupuncture. The foundation of Chinese medicine says that each of us is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits all approach. Yet, even when studies have been designed with a single standardized protocol, acupuncture proves to be beneficial. 
  •  It can save you money! An average of three full IVF cycles is the most clinically effective number for women under the age of 40. At an average cost of around $15,000 per cycle, plus time away from work to attend appointments, not to mention the emotional and mental toll it can take, increasing your chances with acupuncture may save you thousands. 

What’s the best way to choose an acupuncturist for fertility?

  • Are they properly licensed? Different states have different licensure requirements, but you can check to make certain a practitioner is properly certified by checking at 
  • Are they trained and experienced in acupuncture with IVF/IUI? This is important! Look for someone with a proven track record who speaks the lingo of your fertility doctor and understands the protocols. 
  • Do you click with them? You want to feel confident and comfortable in your choice of acupuncturist. Do they answer your questions fully? Do you feel heard? Do you look forward to your appointments? Different people like different characteristics in their practitioners. Find what works for you. 

IVF treatment isn’t the easiest process in the world, but with acupuncture your road can be just a little bit smoother. There are no guarantees when it comes to getting pregnant and having a baby, but you can boost your chances. 

If you are considering IVF, I encourage you to give acupuncture a try. It may be just what you need to start or grow your family. I have almost 20 years of clinical experience and specialized training. I was an Inaugural Fellow of the American Board of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, and I have helped hundreds of families grow. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact my office. I would be happy to help!



Anderson, B. J., Haimovici, F., Ginsburg, E. S., Schust, D. J., & Wayne, P. M. (2007). In vitro fertilization and acupuncture: clinical efficacy and mechanistic basis. Alternative therapies in health and medicine13(3), 38-49.

Balk, J., Catov, J., Horn, B., Gecsi, K., & Wakim, A. (2010). The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study. Complementary therapies in clinical practice16(3), 154-157.

Guven, P. G., Cayir, Y., & Borekci, B. (2020). Effectiveness of acupuncture on pregnancy success rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A randomized controlled trial. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology59(2), 282-286.

Ho M, Huang LC, Chang YY, Chen HY, Chang WC, Yang TC, Tsai HD. Electroacupuncture reduces uterine artery blood flow impedance in infertile women. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Jun;48(2):148-51.

Paulus, W. E., Zhang, M., Strehler, E., El-Danasouri, I., & Sterzik, K. (2002). Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertility and sterility77(4), 721-724.

Stener-Victorin E, Waldenström U, Andersson SA, Wikland M. Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Human Reproduction. 1996 Jun;11(6):1314-7.

Westergaard, L. G., Mao, Q., Krogslund, M., Sandrini, S., Lenz, S., & Grinsted, J. (2006). Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Fertility and sterility85(5), 1341-1346.

Zhong, Y., Zeng, F., Liu, W., Ma, J., Guan, Y., & Song, Y. (2019). Acupuncture in improving endometrial receptivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC complementary and alternative medicine19(1), 61.

Creating a strong foundation is vital for a healthy pregnancy

Do you know that more than 1 in 6 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy? Whether you simply want to be as healthy as possible before conceiving, or you’ve been encountering challenges in getting and staying pregnant, one approach that may help boost your fertility is functional medicine. Functional medicine looks at the whole person and considers all aspects of health when prescribing treatment, and can be used as a stand alone therapy or in conjunction with your conventional medical treatment.

What is functional medicine?

Functional medicine is focused on identifying physiological disparities that are causing imbalance in the body instead of the more reactive approaches of calling them out when they are obvious. It’s more preventative than reactionary — health care versus sick care. There’s no need to wait until you’re an IVF patient to see if functional medicine can help. We are all unique, but functional problems that may affect fertility include blood sugar regulation, gut health, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue and inflammation.

To solve functional infertility problems you have to look upstream instead of downstream. What’s the root of the problem? Often functional issues are not one-size-fits-all. You need to work with a functional medicine practitioner who will help you identify the imbalances that are unique to your physiology, and then prioritize treatment options based on what will have the most benefit at the least cost of energy/resources.

A good functional medicine practitioner will take the time to gather a comprehensive health history. In addition, it’s often helpful to run basic labs to gather data about your current health status. By carefully reviewing a person’s whole health – not just the reproductive bits, both past and present, there will be clues to aid in restoring balance and increasing the odds of a successful pregnancy.

What types of treatment are involved?

Functional medicine is a natural approach to wellbeing, so it involves areas like:

  • Dietary recommendations
  • Lifestyle enhancement
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Balancing hormones naturally
  • Correcting digestive issues
  • Balancing nutrition using specific supplements suited to your needs
  • Adding complementary treatments like acupuncture

Essentially, it means you’ll be working with your body to help it heal and balance itself, just like it’s inclined to do.

Functional medicine takes the perspective that when you are experiencing symptoms, it’s not because your body is broken, but rather it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do. If you are struggling to become pregnant, perhaps your body’s innate wisdom knows that conditions aren’t where they need to be for the best outcome.

Let’s face it, pregnancy is not easy on the body. To put it bluntly, it’s a parasitic relationship, and your body needs to have the resources to give to the pregnancy, in addition to keeping you healthy throughout the process. If you go into your fertility journey with health issues that can be corrected with some simple changes, wouldn’t it make sense not only for your wellbeing, but the long term wellbeing of your child, to take action?

How long will it take?

The short answer is that I recommend giving yourself at least a 90 day head start before trying to conceive. Why? Because folliculogenesis, the time it takes to develop a follicle to release an egg, is about 90 days. Male fertility will be discussed in subsequent posts, but for the record, spermatogenesis (maturation of sperm) takes about 72 days, so he’d be well served to make some healthy changes, too. After all, 23 of your baby’s chromosomes come from his sperm.

However, my goal is always to inspire lasting change that will benefit you far beyond childbirth. Your body is your best friend. You came in with it and you’re going out with it. Treat your body at least as well as you treat your pets or your car. But considering that without it you’d literally be nothing, how about prioritizing its wellbeing today?

In summary

Functional medicine for fertility doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s never too early or too late to try functional therapies that benefit you as well as your children-to-be.

– Functional medicine is aimed at correcting imbalances unique to your physiology. In other words, it helps restore proper function.

– Functional nutritional supplements and botanicals are targeted at your specific imbalances

– Functional treatment options are based on what will have the most benefit for the least cost of energy/resources

– Functional medicine treatments include dietary and lifestyle changes that help restore your body to its best health

– Acupuncture may be recommended as a safe and proven treatment for improving the odds of conception and delivering a healthy baby

Are you ready to give yourself and your baby the gift of good health? Reach out to us at Wiser Health. We’d love to help!

Whether trying to conceive naturally or through IVF / IUI, these are valuable tips for success.

Maybe you’ve reached a point where you’re ready to start your family. Maybe you’ve been trying to have your first child for a while now without success. Or perhaps you’re trying for a second child and it’s not happening as quickly as the first time around. No matter where you are in your reproductive journey, there are things you can do to improve your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby. 

It’s important to note that you are laying the groundwork for your baby long before conception occurs. Much like fertilizing the soil in your garden before planting, or establishing a strong foundation before building a home, if you skip the preparation, the end result may be less than ideal. If you knew that taking simple steps ahead of conception could positively influence your child’s health for their lifetime would you take those steps? Of course you would!

There are many ways that you can naturally boost your fertility. If you are trying to conceive, these tips can help improve your chances of becoming and staying pregnant. 

Tip #1 – Understand your menstrual cycle

Before you become pregnant, it is important to be familiar with the phases of your menstrual cycle. This will help you understand the ideal time for conception.  There are literally dozens of apps available for tracking your cycle. Choose one that allows you to chart your basal body temperature as well as symptoms such as cramping, breakthrough bleeding or spotting, acne, breast tenderness or fullness—anything that looks different from the norm for you. 

When plotting the data on a fertility calendar, the goal is to see the full picture. Cycle day 1 (CD1) is the first full day of menstrual bleeding. The ideal cycle length is about 28 days. The first half of the cycle is called the follicular phase, and this is when the follicle containing the egg is in final preparation for release. The release of the egg is call ovulation and should occur around CD14. Your fertile window is the 2-3 days prior to and the day of ovulation. The remainder of the cycle, post-ovulation, is called the luteal phase and is the part of your cycle when your hormone levels are at their highest. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, your period will begin again, which starts the clock over at CD1. 

Basal Body Temperature

Trust me when I say that it’s unlikely your OBGYN or fertility doctor will give a hoot about your basal body temperature (BBT), but to someone trained to look for clues in your temperature fluctuations and symptoms throughout your cycle, like me, this can be valuable information. 

The way to measure BBT is to keep a digital thermometer at your bedside and when you first awaken in the morning, before you get moving or your feet hit the floor, take your temperature and record it. Ideally, you’ll see lower temperatures in the first half (follicular phase) of your cycle followed by a 0.5 to 1 degree F increase in temperature post-ovulation (luteal phase). Things like getting up to go to the bathroom or let the cat out within three hours of your wake-up time can impact your BBT, so make a note of it in your chart, especially if the temperature reading seems unusual. 

If you’ve tracked your BBT for 3-6 months, and the results are what is considered normal month to month, you don’t necessarily need to continue to track it, unless you just like having the data. If your temperature charts show inconsistencies or recurring anomalies, it may be helpful to continue to chart your temperatures while working with a practitioner who can provide natural ways to try to correct things. 

If tracking your BBT creates stress for you, then it’s probably not necessary. The last thing I want to do is create more stress for my patients who are trying to get pregnant. In the absence of a BBT chart, it is still recommended that you make notations in your period tracking app about your day to day symptoms. That can include things like headaches, digestive issues, constipation, moodiness, irritability, insomnia, breakthrough bleeding or spotting, etc. 

You’ll notice that hormonal fluctuations can cause symptoms on different days of the cycle, so use your calendar to understand your body better and how it changes over time. Women with regular cycles between 26-32 days long are more likely to conceive than those who have longer or shorter cycles.

When you note a change in any of the symptoms on your calendar, document when it occurs and then continue to monitor that same symptom or ones similar. For example, if you’ve been having breakthrough spotting on days 10-12 of every cycle, and this month on day 10 you have some pink discharge instead—record that day as well as the following two days. By noticing a change in your pattern, you’ll be better able to track your cycle and pinpoint ovulation.

Tip #2 – Nutrition

Remember, you’re laying the foundation for your baby. Improving your nutrition prior to and during pregnancy can make a world of difference for your child. (By the way, the father’s nutrition and lifestyle make a difference, too. After all, 23 of your child’s 46 chromosomes come from his sperm. I’ll save that for a different post.)

Healthy changes in your diet alone can improve your fertility and boost your overall reproductive health. Let’s hit the basics:

  • Eat the rainbow in the form of vegetables, preferably organic. Make veggies the star of your food show every day. Five servings minimum. 
  • Eat animal protein in moderation. Consider not having it at every meal, and eat a variety. Choose healthier sources (grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught, free-range) as much as possible. 
  • Fat is not the bad guy; sugar is. Consume it often. Healthier fats include coconut oil, organic butter, ghee, avocados and avocado oil, olives and olive oil, hemp, flax, nuts and nut butters. 
  • Reduce the carbs! Processed carbs and sugar are highly inflammatory in the body and they contribute to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Consider green vegetables, beets and carrots to be free foods, and eat as much as you want. Cut out added sugars. Even so called “health foods” can surprise you with the amount of carbohydrates they contain. No more than 30 grams of carbs per meal. 
  • Minimize, or better yet avoid, gluten. It’s another inflammatory trigger. 
  • Eat every 2-3 hours or before your body signals that it’s hungry in order to prevent carb cravings. When you’re hangry, quick carbs are more appealing but much less healthy for you. Don’t let your blood sugar dip to that point. 
  • Eat fat with everything. Healthy fats keep you satiated and will help stabilize your blood sugar. 
  • Don’t overdo the nuts. Too many of them can contribute to inflammation. 
  • The ratio of veggies to fruit should be 2:1. 
  • Some sugar substitutes that are acceptable are stevia, xylitol, lohan and monk fruit.  Do not use agave nectar. It’s almost pure fructose. 

Tip #3 – The right supplements

Everybody is different and has different needs, but there are some basics that stay consistent. The subject of what supplements to take and what brands to buy can be confusing. That’s where a trained practitioner of functional medicine can be helpful. 

The basics:

  • A prenatal or a multivitamin. No matter how pristeen your diet is, there will be nutritional gaps here and there. 
  • Fish oil can improve egg quality and prolong female reproductive lifespan.
  • Additional Vitamin D3 may have a significant impact on the ovaries and the endometrial lining of the uterus. 

Other contenders to help with fertility. 

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron, B12 and B6 (all associated with anemia)
  • CoQ10
  • Royal Jelly
  • Chaste Tree (Vitex)

The list doesn’t stop there. I choose to tailor supplement recommendations to each patient based on the data I collect through basic labs and our initial conversations. 

Tip #4 – Minimize stress

Stress less. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but it’s true. Today’s lifestyles can be stressful, even when you’re trying your best to be healthy. Not to mention the pressure we sometimes put on ourselves to get pregnant in a certain time frame. It can add up and cause natural responses in the body that work against you when trying to conceive. 

Consider stress-reducing activities like:

  • Yoga. There are even yoga classes specifically designed to improve fertility.
  • Meditation. Don’t skip over this one just because it seems impossible to “clear your mind of thought” and sit quietly for 20 minutes. There are different ways to enjoy the mindfulness of meditation. There are endless apps available that can be helpful. Try guided meditations, visualization (like daydreaming about something joyful or relaxing), journaling, solo walks (especially in nature), quiet time snuggling with a pet, restorative yoga. 
  • Get plenty of healthy sleep. Go to bed around the same time every night. Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool. Keep screens turned off (phones, tablets, computers, and televisions). If you have a tendency to awaken during the night and not fall back asleep, adopting the eating habits in tip #2 may correct that. 
  • Exercise. Even if you feel like you can only manage 15 minutes in your day, do it. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. Ideally, you’ll exercise moderately for 30-45 minutes 3-4 times a week. Getting the blood moving is key. Good blood flow means nourishment for your reproductive system. 
  • Setting boundaries. One of the best things you can do is let go of pleasing others and set healthy boundaries for yourself and your time. 

Tip #5 – Avoid toxins

Exposure to toxins, whether inhaled, consumed orally or absorbed through the skin, not only affects your fertility, but potentially your baby’s health. An investigation by the Environmental Working Group ( in 2005 found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from a sampling of babies born in U.S. hospitals. An average of 200! These included pesticides, consumer product ingredients like fast food packaging, coal waste, gasoline,Teflon and flame retardants. Of the total of 287 chemicals detected, 180 can cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal studies. 

The primary organ of biotransformation and detoxification is your liver, so in addition to avoiding toxin exposure, here are some ways you can promote liver health.

  • Milk thistle can decrease liver inflammation.
  • Turmeric can be protective for liver function.
  • Clean up your personal care and use more natural products.
  • Avoid excessive or chronic alcohol use.  
  • Minimize caffeine.
  • Avoid refined sugar.
  • Avoid weight gain that raises your body mass index (BMI) above 25.
  • Find out if there’s a family history of liver disease. 

Bonus tip – Try acupuncture for fertility

Fertility acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress, improve hormone function and increase blood flow to reproductive organs. Fertility acupuncture is tailored to each individual and has been proven to improve the chances of pregnancy by 40-60%!

Diet, exercise, stress management and avoiding toxins are all important factors when it comes to fertility. Making small changes can make a big difference. Try incorporating some of these tips into your daily routine to improve your fertility health. And for an even greater chance of success, add fertility acupuncture to the mix. 

If you’d like more information about improving your fertility naturally, you can email, call or schedule an appointment with us at Wiser Health. We offer telehealth appointments as well as in office acupuncture. 


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