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What is the best time in the cycle to begin acupuncture to boost fertility?

Q:  What is the best time in the cycle to begin acupuncture to boost fertility?

A: The prevalence of practitioners offering to assist in fertility has created a rather unwelcome myth that there are good and bad times to have treatment. From a Chinese medicine perspective, someone's fertility is a part of a much wider pattern of health and balance within the whole system, and the diagnosis made from this perspective will be about the person, not the part of the body or the time of the month. In exceptional circumstances there can be specific problems like Cold in the Womb which can be tracked back to specific events, but this is quite rare. The problems with fertility are often part of a much wider pattern, and treatment will have to be aimed at restoring balance across the system as a whole, which may take weeks or even months.

However, we would not want to write off the experience of an increasing number of our members who have undertaken postgraduate training in this area and whose focus has been on treating fertility and pregnancy for many years. Although the Chinese medicine does not set them apart, because we all use the same systems of diagnosis and treatment, their working knowledge of the problems which women experience and their experience of treating many women with fertility issues mean that they can be a great resource and help to a patient. They have seen similar problems before, and may well even have useful perspectives on what is happening from a western medical point of view - occasionally women slip through the conventional system with a fairly straightforward problem which has not been picked up. If you visit someone who focuses their work in this area, you may well benefit from their years of experience.

There are, though, no 'special points' which can be applied at specific times to make conception more likely. That said, many of us try to work in such a way that we treat near the time of ovulation to give the system the biggest boost possible, but there is no research evidence suggesting that this is any more than a construct which we use to fuel our own intention! Such research as does exist, which as our factsheet shows is not that great

tends to the view that the greatest help can come from treatment aimed at regularising the menstrual cycle or reducing the impact of PCOS. These, though, are usually treated systemically, i.e. for ten women presenting with irregular periods there may be ten different diagnoses and treatments in Chinese medicine depending on what is happening within their systems as a whole. In Chinese medicine every patient is unique, as is their treatment, even where there named condition is the same.

We are not able to give referrals to specific individuals or groups, but there are a number of well-established networks within the BAcC treating fertility issues with acupuncture, and a good search under 'acupuncture' 'fertility' and your area will very quickly identify those members who have undertaken postgraduate training in this field. We believe, though, that any BAcC member will be able to give you useful advice, and most importantly from your point of view, establish in a brief face to face assessment whether acupuncture is the best treatment to try to help you become pregnant.


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