Right to the Point: Acupuncture as a Treatment for Infertility

Few hardships reach more people or kill more hope than infertility. Over 1 million women in the US struggle with infertility[1], and treatments such as in-vitro fertilization can cost more than $20,000 per attempt[2]. What few people realize is that there is an option more affordable, accessible, and natural: acupuncture.

Sound dubious? Of course, some causes of infertility cannot be cured by acupuncture or similar remedies. But many women with unexplained infertility have found success in receiving acupuncture treatments[3], and you or your loved one could be another! If you’re not convinced, let us debunk some of the most common myths about acupuncture and how it could give a happy ending to your infertility story.

 

Myth #1: Acupuncture hurts!

For most people unfamiliar with acupuncture, the treatment sounds like a run-in with a porcupine. In reality, the insertion of an acupuncture needle shouldn’t hurt any worse than a mild bug bite. Many patients don’t feel pain at all! The insertion of an acupuncture needle may cause feelings of heat, tingling, or heaviness, and some patients may feel some soreness after a treatment. But acupuncture is certainly less painful than infertility.

Myth #2: Acupuncture is just eastern mumbo jumbo.

It’s true that acupuncture is believed to have originated in China, but the concepts behind it aren’t very different from those behind massage therapy used throughout North America. Acupuncture is based on the simple idea that the body is made up of many different systems, such as the digestive and reproductive systems, that all connect to and influence each other. This idea is supported by many scientists and physicians.

Myth #3: Acupuncturists aren’t real doctors.

People may think of acupuncturists as uneducated people working out of their garages, but did you know that professional acupuncturists are usually licensed and often have additional certifications? Many have a degree (such as a Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), and some are medical doctors as well; you should be able to find an acupuncturist with whatever qualifications you are looking for. Still worried? Don’t be—many acupuncturists specializing in fertility also work closely with reproductive endocrinologists and fertility doctors to coordinate your treatments and healthcare.

Myth #4: Acupuncture can’t fix something as complex as infertility.

Remember the idea that the body’s systems affect each other? The low performance of a woman’s reproductive system is sometimes rooted in problems with one or more of the other systems in the woman’s body. The goal of acupuncture is to strengthen and regulate all systems of the body so that they can work together, thereby helping the reproductive system function properly. It may sound simple, but it is often effective. Medicinal herbs are often added to acupuncture for increased benefits.[4]

Myth #5: Acupuncture is too expensive.

You might be surprised by how affordable acupuncture can be, especially compared to other fertility treatments. But even if the price of acupuncture treatment seems high to you, it doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Some health insurance companies will reimburse for acupuncture treatments. Even if the acupuncturist or facility you choose doesn’t do direct insurance billing, you will always have the option of submitting a claim to your insurance company. In addition, many acupuncture facilities offer package discounts and payment plans.

 

Trying something new is always intimidating. But hopefully resolving some of the scariest and silliest misunderstandings about acupuncture has opened your mind to its possible benefits in the area of fertility. Don’t hesitate to do some more research or find an acupuncturist nearby. Your baby could be waiting.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/02/06/the-cost-of-ivf-4-things-i-learned-while-battling-infertility/#155d147724dd

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