Does Acupuncture help with Fertility?

According to statistics from the NHS around 1 in 7 couples struggle to conceive naturally.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes this figure is now 1 in 6 people (around 17.5%) of reproductive age worldwide experience infertility in their lifetime.  Fertility affects millions of people.  


Infertility can be primary or secondary.  Primary infertility is when a pregnancy has never been achieved by a person, and secondary infertility is when at least one prior pregnancy has been achieved.   The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has linked lifestyle factors such as obesity, strenuous physical labour, excessive exercise, substance use, heavy drinking, high blood pressure and others to increasing rates of infertility.

With infertility on the rise, people are turning to alternative and natural methods to help them conceive and have a family.  


The theory and practice of acupuncture originated in China. It was first mentioned and recorded in documents dating a few hundred years before the Common Era. Earlier instead of needles sharpened stones and long sharp bones were used around 6000 BCE for acupuncture treatment.  It has been practiced in China for more than 3000 years. 

Acupuncture has been used over the years to treat some of the causes of infertility.    Acupuncture has been found to be beneficial in regulating the menstrual cycles, increasing the blood flow to the uterus and the ovaries, and reducing stress. Acupuncture also helps with implantation rates and provides excellent support for patients undergoing assisted reproductive treatments such as IVF.

Acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy; it consists of the insertion and stimulation of extremely thin sterile needles at specific points on the body which flow through 14 pathways known as channels or meridians.  A licensed practitioner will use these pathways to conduct the Qi (or energy) between the surface of the body and the internal organs.   

How Acupuncture works with Fertility

2019 meta-analysis on 27 different studies that looked at the effect of acupuncture on pregnancy outcomes showed that acupuncture did have a positive influence, but notes that more data from larger scale studies with more robust measurement strategies was needed to validate these findings.

Acupuncture may potentially improve your fertility in the following ways: 

Balance hormones: Acupuncture stimulates the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing and releasing hormones that affect ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy. By balancing the levels of hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH), acupuncture may help better prepare your body for fertility treatment.

Increases blood flow: Acupuncture helps to increase blood circulation to the reproductive organs, especially the uterus and ovaries. This may improve the quality and quantity of eggs and the thickness and receptivity of the uterine lining. 

Reduces stress: Stress can have a negative impact on your fertility by disrupting your hormonal balance, affecting your ovulation, and lowering your libido. Acupuncture is known to reduce stress by stimulating the release of endorphins. It also can calm your nervous system and lower your blood pressure, improving your overall health and well-being.

How Acupuncture compliments Fertility bio-medical treatments

Acupuncture can be a valuable addition to your fertility treatment plan, whether you are trying to conceive naturally or with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IVF.  Here are some of the ways acupuncture can complement your fertility treatments:

Enhances IVF outcomes: Some studies have suggested that acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer can increase the pregnancy rates of IVF patients, by up to 42%. This may be due to acupuncture’s ability to improve blood flow to the uterus, relax the uterine muscles, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Supports overall wellness: Acupuncture can help you address other health issues that may affect your fertility indirectly, such as insomnia, digestive problems, allergies, or chronic pain. 

Promotes emotional well-being: Trying to conceive can be emotionally challenging and cause frustration, sadness, anger, or guilt. Acupuncture can help you cope with these emotions by providing a safe and supportive space to express yourself and receive compassionate care. Acupuncture can help you cultivate a positive and hopeful mindset to boost your confidence and resilience.

Our expertise in Acupuncture

YOLO Acupuncture has fertility focused treatments and a special interest / focus in fertility.  We consistently update methods by consulting the latest research as part of the fertility treatment.  YOLO Acupuncture is also part of the British Acupuncture Council, the leading self-regulatory body for acupuncture in the UK.  Members of this are on a register that is regulated and approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, an independent body accountable to the UK Parliament.