Acupuncture and Fertility

Traditional Acupuncture offers a holistic approach to boost fertility for those aiming to conceive naturally or to use IVF.  Research, detailed below, has shown the effectiveness of Acupuncture for women and for men.  It can be used in conjunction with NHS or private fertility clinic care.



Derek Climpson has a BSc Hons Degree in Acupuncture and has undertaken post graduate training in Acupuncture for Fertility and Gynaecology.  He is one of the Herts and Essex Fertility Centre’s recommended Acupuncturists and has represented the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) at the Fertility Show, Olympia.


Examples of What People Say

Since my teens, I have always had an irregular menstrual cycle varying from 35-72 days and when I wanted to get pregnant had struggled to conceive.  Being reluctant to take strong fertility drugs I decided to try acupunture.

Over 4 months my menstrual cycle gradually became more regular settling around 30 days at which point I fell pregnant.  I definitely would recommend Acupuncture to anyone struggling with fertility’


‘Thank you for the acupuncture Derek that I had alongside my IVF treatment.  Good news!  I’m pregnant.  Can’t thank you enough!’


‘Just to let you know I did a pregnancy test this morning and it has come back positive – so happy.  Thank you so much for everything you have done’.


How to maximise your chances of conceiving naturally

  1. Research shows that even a few Traditional Acupuncture treatments may help.  However three months is approximately the time it takes for the eggs containing follicles to develop in the ovaries and to release the egg at ovulation.  As a woman cannot make any more eggs, the main way of improving fertility is to improve the quality of her existing eggs by crucially improving the environment in which they develop.
  2. So if you have a diagnosis of unexplained infertility and have a fertile partner, you should ideally think about having a 3 month ‘preparation’ period of acupuncture with accompanying adjustments to nutrition and lifestyle that can be advised by your acupuncturist in order to maximise your chances of conceiving.

Research Evidence – Female Fertility:

Improve chances of conceiving naturally without drugs.

Researchers have discovered that women who used Acupuncture without any other fertility treatment were more likely to conceive in the same period of time as women taking fertility drugs without the side effects of fertility drugs.

[1] Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Female Infertility, Journal of Fertility and Sterility, Chang et al, 2002;78:1149-1153.

Researchers at the Department of Gynaecological Endocrinology and Reproduction at the Women’s Hospital, University of Heidelberg, reported that “acupuncture seems to offer a valuable alternative therapy for female infertility due to hormone disorders” after research showed that an acupuncture group of 45 patients achieved a higher rate of pregnancy than a similar group treated with hormones, suffered no side effects and reported additional health benefits.

A review of the medical literature on acupuncture and female fertility published in the Journal Fertility and Sterility has shown that acupuncture can help reduce stress, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and normalize ovulation and the menstrual cycle. As such, women struggling to get pregnant may want to add acupuncture to their roster of fertility-boosting treatments, according to study author Dr. Raymond Chang of Cornell University

Improve IVF success rates

Research has shown that women who have Acupunture as well as their IVF treatment were significantly more likely to become pregnant than those who used IVF alone.acupuncture-fertility

[2a] Acupuncture on the Day of Embryo Transfer Significantly Improves the Reproductive Outcome in Infertile Women: a Prospective Randomised Trial. Journal of Fertility and Sterility, Westergaard et al, 2006. www.

In a Danish study to investigate the benefits of acupuncture in assisted reproduction (IVF and ICSI), pregnancy rates were significantly higher for female patients who received acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (immediately before and immediately after transfer) than those who did not receive acupuncture.

[2b] Journal of Fertility and Sterility. Paulus et al, 2002, Vol 77, No4, 721-4

A separate study carried out at the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Centre in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has compared the pregnancy rates of 114 women, half of whom received acupuncture before and after embryo transfer, while the other half underwent transfer without acupuncture (control group). The acupuncture group obtained a 51% pregnancy rate and an 8% miscarriage rate compared to 36% and 20% respectively in the control group. Acupuncture also was found to reduce the risk of tubal pregnancy and increase the live birth rate.


Research Evidence – Male Fertility:

Acupuncture can improve sperm quality

Sperm takes three months to develop. So, in order to maximise your chances of having fertile sperm, you should think about having a 3 month ‘preparation’ period of acupuncture with accompanying adjustments to nutrition and lifestyle that can be advised by your acupuncturist.  A sperm test before and after the three month preparation can used to monitor fertility levels.

[3a] Quantative Evaluation of Spermatozoa Ultrastructure after Acupuncture Treatment for Idiopathic Male Infertility. Pei et al. Journal of Fertility and Sterility, 2005:84(1) 141-7.

Acupuncture given twice weekly for 5 weeks. Significant increase in the percentage and number of sperm without structural defects compared to the control group.

[3b] Effects of Acupuncture and Moxa Treatment on Patients with Semen Abnormalities. Garfinkel, 2003.

In a Brazilian study carried out at the Human Reproductive Division of Sao Paolo Federal University, male patients with sperm abnormalities who were treated with acupuncture showed a significant improvement in sperm morphology (i.e. normally formed sperm).

[3c] Influence of Acupuncture on Idiopathic Male Infertility in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Zhang, 2002. Journal of Huazhong University Sci Tech Med Sci. 22(3) 228-30.

Research on sperm from men with fertility issues in an IVF setting. Measured outcomes before and after Acupuncture. After Acupuncture fertilisation rates significantly higher.