Acupuncture for INFERTILITY


"I highly recommend Dr. Lee for any health issues you may be having.  She will come alongside you and develop a plan of action for your specific circumstance.  I sought her out after reading numerous articles/books mentioning acupuncture helping couples to conceive.  I was thrilled to know she not only has a background in acupuncture, but as a naturopathic doctor as well.  I was growing weary of self diagnosing and trying different supplements on my own.  My husband and I had been trying to conceive for a year and a half when we first met with Dr. Lee.  I've always believed that infertility is only a temporary condition that is caused by a variety of conditions (auto-immune disorder, thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies, PCOS, etc.).  However, month after month of disappointment wears on you.  November, (6 months after working with Dr. Lee), I was starting to feel as though God was directing us toward foster care to adoption.  I continued seeing Dr. Lee because I believe in holistic health, but I can't say I didn't begin to doubt our ability to change infertility.  Well, God blessed us right before Christmas with our first positive pregnancy test.  We had our first ultrasound at 9 weeks, and when I heard the heartbeat, my heart melted.  It was real.  I felt blessed and so thankful. I credit Dr. Lee's knowledge and acupuncture as part of our success.  She worked with me to establish a healthy diet, eliminating food allergies, and recommended supplements to create a body capable of conceiving.  I also credit God and his perfect timing.  We are so thankful.  To those of you enduring the difficult journey of infertility, I encourage you to not lose hope.  My heart goes out to each and every one of you."  ~ Nicole ~

"The experience I had with Dr. Lee was nothing short of amazing!  She took the time to listen to my medical history and was able to put together a detailed plan of action for my health concerns.  After seeing her for only 4 months, she was able to help reduce the occurrences of a chronic cyst and was able to help my infertility problems.  I am now 5 months pregnant; something doctors told me would not/could not happen naturally.  I would recommend Dr. Lee with the highest regards." ~ Aja ~

“My time spent with Dr. Lee has completely changed my life. When I made the decision to try acupuncture, I was truly at the end of my rope. After 3 years of trying to get pregnant, all which began at the young maternal age of 25, I had given up hope of having my own biological children. Our long road of infertility began when we were unsuccessful at getting pregnant after over a year of trying. After countless doctor's visits, we found a specialist who diagnosed me with severe endometriosis. This diagnosis led to laparoscopic surgery followed by two rounds of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) along with injectable hormone treatments. Our journey took 3 years, put us into an incredible amount of debt, as insurance rarely covers infertility treatments, and we were both emotionally drained. After our second unsuccessful IUI round, we made the decision to stop all infertility treatment and move on to adoption. A few months after making that difficult decision, I found myself depressed and still feeling the physical effects of the synthetic hormones that my body had been filled with. After some online research I found Dr. Lee, decided I had nothing to lose and made my first appointment. My goal with acupuncture, initially, was not to get pregnant but to get healthy again. I wanted to work on my depression and I wanted my body back. Dr. Lee was incredibly kind, an intent listener and made me feel at ease immediately. After hearing my story, she got right to work and suggested changes to my diet along with a few supplements for my endometriosis and the inflammation in my body. It never occurred to me that my diet could be making my endometriosis worse. Within a few weeks, I was feeling so much better. I enjoyed my acupuncture sessions more and more; they were so relaxing and a great stress reliever. My body started to feel like my own again and my depression lifted. A couple months later, I brought up the idea of doing a few acupuncture points for fertility. Dr. Lee agreed that it couldn't hurt and we began. Within just a few sessions I got the biggest surprise and found out that I was, in fact, pregnant!  I continued to see Dr. Lee throughout my pregnancy and am convinced that my acupuncture sessions helped me to have a wonderful pregnancy. I had no morning sickness and no issues the entire 9 months. When I had aches and pains, Dr. Lee was quick to respond with suggestions that helped everything from back pain to constipation.Our daughter was born April 3, 2013, and she's perfect. She was 7lbs 11oz, 20.5 inches long. She had zero health issues, not even any jaundice and took to breastfeeding immediately. All of her good health and mine I attribute to the care I received from Dr. Lee. Her care has put my body in the best health it has ever been in and enabled me to give a healthy home for our child. I will continue to get acupuncture for the rest of my life and I hope that Dr. Lee will continue to be my naturopathic doctor for a very long time.”   ~ Marah ~

"I just wanted to keep you updated with how everything is going for me.  I am officially 3 months pregnant with TWINS!!!!  We are so happy!  I just wanted to thank you so much for everything.  I strongly believe that the acupuncture helped me get pregnant.  Thank you for helping me achieve my dream!  I referred a patient to you today!  I told her how amazing you are!" ~ Brittani ~

“We tried naturally by ourselves for over a year, and were not successful.  So when I started with Dr. Lee, I went with not a lot of expectations.  I went on believing it was probably not going to work because we had unexplained infertility.  Everything was functioning normally from what the doctors had told us, so there was really no reason why were were not getting pregnant.   I felt a lot healthier in general, and we were successful at getting pregnant after 2 months!”  

~ Jessica ~

"My wife and I have an almost two year old and are expecting November 2013.  Both came about two completely different ways.  The first time around we tried to conceive for at least a year with no success.  My wife went to her doctor and got tests and she suggested I go to an Urologist and gets tests.  The whole time we thought it was her, we were wrong.  Tests proved I had low counts and bad morphology, motility, and mobility.  Subsequent tests proved that at times certain counts and levels showed promise, so we remained positive.  Our next step was IUI, and it worked our 3rd or 4th try, thankfully.  Fast forward another year and we start to "try" again.  Several months later no results.  So I start to research alternative methods and a few google searches later I called Dr. Lee.  I scheduled an appointment right away.  It was clear from the onset that I made the correct decision, as Dr. Lee was so receptive to us and our situation that I knew this is where I needed to be.  After about 3 visits we both agreed my wife should visit too.  To conceive "naturally" it takes two, so why not both go through this together.  My wife agreed and had her first appointment, as I continued monthly treatments.  After about 4 months after we were both receiving acupuncture, my wife tells me we were expecting.  Our family has been blessed with one child and soon another, both coming to us two different ways. Comparing both approaches, it's obvious which I prefer.  Acupuncture is treating the "whole" patient, you, and offers additional health benefits.  Fertility issues can put couples in limbo, it's sometimes very hard to deal with, but the approach and process that Dr. Lee offered made this whole process so easy.  We highly recommend Dr. Lee!" ~ Jon ~

"I want to express my sincere thanks for all of your support and guidance on my fertility journey.  We welcomed our little bundle of joy 4 weeks early.  He has changed our lives . . . we are so in love with him.  You were a blessing to me during the years of ups and downs through the IVF process.  I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for me. I will forever be grateful." ~ Meghan ~

"After struggling with infertility for over 2 years, I decided to take a different approach and began seeing Dr. Lee.  I implemented several dietary changes, started some supplements, and did acupuncture.  The acupuncture was amazing, and I learned how to deal with stress and anxiety in better ways.  I also felt a lot better with the dietary changes I made, and I still follow some of the same diet principles.  Around 1 year after seeing Dr. Lee on a regular basis after starting with no period at all, I got pregnant and attribute many of the things I did and learned from her as part of the reason we got pregnant.  Dr. Lee has a wonderful demeanor and is non-jundgemental.  I'd recommend her to anyone that has been dealing with infertility or is interested in acupuncture for other reasons." ~ Amber ~

"I cannot thank Dr. Lee enough for everything she did for me.  I suffered from amenorrhea and infertility for about 2.5 years.  I tried to self-diagnose and tried other natural methods and home remedies, but nothing was working.  I did a lot of research and did not want to use conventional medicine and be given drugs for a quick fix.  I was also depressed and stressed because of my infertility and my job.  I was nervous, but after my first visit with Dr. Lee, I felt so relaxed and hopeful.  She was so caring and listened to my concerns and feelings.  I could tell she genuinely cared. After several months of acupuncture and homeopathic supplements, I started to see improvements and great results.  We finally conceived and now have a beautiful, healthy baby boy.  Dr. Lee helped heal my body instead of just masking the problem.  She also helped me to relax and have more positive thoughts.  I definitely believe God led me to get help from Dr. Lee and all with perfect timing." ~ Katie ~

"Acupuncture helped me to relax while going through IVF, as it was so stressful and emotional.  We were successful during our third cycle, and are taking things one day at a time!" ~ Jennifer ~

"Dr. Lee is AMAZING.  I went to Dr. Lee after years of struggling with infertility and numerous miscarriages.  My husband and I were at the point we were just about to give up and seek other ways of starting our family.  Prior to our last and final attempt of IVF, I reached out to Dr. Lee.  She made me feel at ease on my very first visit.  She listened to my concerns and my infertility issues and worked closely with my team of fertility specialists.  I am so happy to say that after just a few short months of sessions with her, I became pregnant once again.  But the difference this time was the simple fact that I am now a mother to a happy and healthy 3 month-old baby girl.  I cannot thank Dr. Lee enough for helping me to achieve this lifelong family dream.  I highly recommend her to anyone and especially anyone dealing with the same issues we were."   ~ Cyndi ~

"I sought out Dr. Lee after suffering from painful, irregular menstrual cycles.  The only options I was given by my physician at the time was to start taking hormonal birth control.  This was not an option for me, especially as my husband and I knew that trying to conceive in the near future was important to us.  My husband was then depolyed to the middle east, and I decided it was the perfect time to start taking control of my health and seek real solutions.  Dr. Lee was so comprehensive.  She took a thorough history and explained important ways to change my diet and supplements to maximize fertility.  She also performed acupuncture each and every time.  My cycles began to regulate for the first time in my life!  My husband and I had always assumed we would struggle to conceive due to my PCOS.  When he returned home from his deployment, I became pregnant that very week.  9 weeks later, at a routine ultrasound, I discovered that I was carrying twins!  We are so thankful to Dr. Lee for helping me achieve the hormonal balance I needed." ~ Ashley ~

"My husband and I started trying to start a family after we had only been married for 2 years.  We just recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary, and our daughter is 2 months old.  That shows what a lengthy journey it has been for us.  We were told to try for 1 year before seeking fertility help if we were unable to conceive within that first year.  Unfortunately for us, that was the start of a 7 year trial in which we saw 3 different fertility specialists, endured 4 failed IUIs, a miscarriage, laparoscopic surgery, fertility drugs, and countless other tests.  Needless to say we had pretty much come to terms with the fact that we wouldn't be able to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term.  Then a friend mentioned Dr. Lee.  Through acupuncture and diet adjustments we now have our Baby girl!  Dr. Lee helped us to optimize our fertility through natural means and supplements.  I believe the acupuncture helped my body relax and accept the pregnancy.  I will continue to refer women I meet with infertility problems to Dr. Lee in hopes that she is able to help the too."  ~ Kristin ~

Philip and I started doing fertility acupuncture with Dr. Lee after many years of "nothing happening."  She provided tons of great advice on health, nutrition, and increasing fertility.  We did 3 months of preparations and then proceeded with clomid, IUI, and weeks of progesterone.  First attempt was a success- everything came together, and we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby girl.  Dr. Lee is now helping us prep for another baby.  My husband says he wants to continue going to Dr. Lee even after we "aren't trying to get pregnant."  Her techniques are very relaxing.  I love the energy work that she does during the session and the bell at the end.  The guided meditations are excellent too.  It is funny how being a "pin cushion" can feel so right.  This time around, I plan to continue sessions through the end of pregnancy to help prep for labor and then afterwards to help balance postpartum hormones while enjoying those nice, quite moments!  I highly recommend anyone struggling with fertility or just planning on starting or enlarging your family, to work with Dr. Lee.  You will be glad you did!  ~ Jennie ~

My husband and I had been trying for a few years to get pregnant.  I have endometriosis and had laparoscopic surgery to remove widespread lesions and adhesions.  Even with this, we weren't getting pregnant.  Dealing with infertility is really emotional as my feelings would change regularly.  I was okay with not getting pregnant.  And then I wasn't.  I would be happy for friends who were announcing their pregnancy while at the same time being really sad for myself.  And then I was okay again.  It's a roller coaster.  
I went to see Dr. Lee to help with my endometriosis, hormones, and infertility at the advice of a friend.  Dr. Lee listened and offered thoughtful feedback and suggestions for managing my health.  I had never had acupuncture before, but I felt very comfortable Dr. Lee.  The sessions themselves were stress-relieving, and I felt energized.  And then we were pregnant!  It was an amazing and wonderful surprise.  I continued to see Dr. Lee every 2 weeks throughout my pregnancy, and still see her now!  Because of our challenges getting pregnant, part of me wasn't confident that the pregnancy would "stick."  The acupuncture helped relieve some of this stress and anxiety, and again, Dr. Lee provided thoughtful encouragement and guidance throughout my pregnancy.  I listened to guided meditations that helped me to connect with my daughter in utero, and to my own fears and excitement.  Dr. Lee's support has been an important part of my pregnancy and childbirth experience.  I highly recommend her to anyone experiencing infertility.  I actually highly recommend her to anyone for anything.  I'm a total acupuncture convert, much to the annoyance of my friends and family, probably.  I talk about it all the time.  Thank you, Dr. Lee!  ~ Rachel ~

I had a great experience working with Dr. Lee.  My husband and I both saw her for fertility related issues.  While in the end we underwent IVF to have a baby, I am confident that working with Dr. Lee was vital in getting my body ready to accept a pregnancy and also carry our baby with an uncomplicated pregnancy, to full term.  I started seeing Dr. Lee a little bit before working with a fertility specialist, and she really helped me look at my diet (for example getting rid of artificial sweeteners) and suggested supplements to support a healthy reproductive system and thyroid function.  Before seeing Dr. Lee, my menstrual cycles were not completely out of whack but were slightly off.  After a few months, they were on a consistent 28-day cycle.  After undergoing IVF and getting pregnant, I continued to see Dr. Lee throughout my entire pregnancy.  The acupuncture sessions helped a lot with the nausea I experienced during the first four months and helped keep me as comfortable as possible in those final few months and weeks.  I also really appreciated the guided meditations she would play during acupuncture.  I feel it really helped connect my mind and body to each other and also to the baby.  Overall, I highly recommend Dr. Lee.  She is a great guide if you are looking to incorporate a more natural approach to your medical problems, and she is very caring, approachable, understanding, and sympathetic person as well.  ~ Elaine ~

Listen to Blissful Living's show on stress and infertility where Dr. Lee is interviewed by Rochele Lawson: Stress Relief To Make Your Dream Baby Come True.

Here is a great article by Dr. Shannon Clark, an OB-GYN, explaining why she turned to acupuncture when she wanted to get pregnant: I'm An OB-GYN.  Here's Why I Turned to Acupuncture When I Wanted To Get Pregnant.

Why Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and herbs help to improve ovarian and follicular function.  It has been shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining. "It can allow you to cross the line from infertile to fertile by helping your body function more efficiently, which in turn allows other, more modern reproductive treatments, like IVF, to also work more efficiently," says James Dillard, MD, assistant clinical professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and clinical adviser to Columbia's Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

In a study of 160 women, published April 2002 in the reproductive journal Fertility and Sterility, a group of German researchers found that adding acupuncture to the traditional IVF treatment protocols substantially increased pregnancy success. Magarelli and Cridennda released findings in Italy involving patients with an average prognosis for IVF success. Those yielded clear numbers that the pregnancy rate increased with acupuncture by 24 percent, according to Magarelli.

What types of infertility patients typically get acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used for infertility conditions such as spasmed tubes, hormonal imbalance including elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with anovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation, low sperm count, motility, or morphology (acupuncture for 3-6 months).

When should acupuncture sessions begin?

Those interested in conceiving naturally should plan for at least 3 months of acupuncture, every other week throughout your cycle.  Clinical evidence has shown that patients who get acupuncture 1-2 months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer, and continued during the whole process have improved rates of success.  That way when the woman's cycle begins, her hormones are restored, strengthened, and balanced.

In the beginning, acupuncture can be done anywhere in your cycle as your whole cycle is geared for baby-making.  Once we get to know your cycle better, we can look at targeting specific areas that may need more support later on.  

When should I stop getting acupuncture?

Typically most miscarriages occur within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Therefore, acupuncture may often last through week 12 to help prevent miscarriage.

What are the risks of using acupuncture?

There are minimal risks when using acupuncture for infertility.  Licensed acupuncturists are trained in contraindicated acupuncture points when a woman becomes pregnant.

How may acupuncture work for infertility?

                Acupuncture may improve sperm quality and counts in infertile men.

                Acupuncture may improve the lining of the endometrium, including increasing the blood flow to the uterus.

                Acupuncture may help regulate hormone levels, specifically gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which in turn may improve ovulation rates.

                Acupuncture may help women with PCOS and anovulatory cycles.

                Acupuncture may help those with thyroid problems, as thyroid issues can lead to problems with fertility

                Acupuncture may increase the number of follicles produced during an IVF cycle.

In studies published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2002, Chang, along with noted Cornell University reproductive endocrinologist Zev Rosenwaks, MD, found a clear link between acupuncture and the brain hormones involved in conception. Chang says acupuncture has a neuroendocrine effect, impacting a three-way axis between the two areas of the brain involved with hormone production (the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands) and the ovaries, a constellation that ultimately impacts egg production and possibly ovulation.  Their research noted that acupuncture increases production of endorphins, the body's natural "feel good" brain chemical that also plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle.

Acupuncture is also a stress-reliever during an emotional time.  Part of acupuncture's success is relaxation. When the body is relaxed, all systems function better.  A paper published in Social Science and Medicine stated that psychosocial factors, like ineffective coping strategies, anxiety, and/or depression are associated with a lower pregnancy rate following IVF-procedures.  Support has been found that stress reduction through relaxation training or behavioral treatment improves conception rates.

"Acupuncture works to restore the flow of Qi -- your body energy -- so with regards to infertility, it has a calming, restorative effect that increases a sense of well-being and ultimately helps the body to accept the creation of life," says acupuncturist Ifeoma Okoronkwo, MD, a professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine.

Research Studies Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Combining Acupuncture with IUI or IVF

A comparative retrospective study of 123 women aged 28-46 years old, undergoing IUI, at a hospital.  Women who received weekly acupuncture, had higher pregnancy and birth rates, compared to those who did not receive acupuncture.

Link to Study

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 23 randomized controlled trials with 5598 women, demonstrates that acupuncture, especially around the time of controlled ovarian stimulation, improves pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF, compared to no acupuncture or placebo acupuncture groups.

Link to Study

A study of 100 women undergoing IVF/ICSI, had an acupuncture group receiving body and ear acupuncture before and after embryo transfer, and the control group with no acupuncture.  The pregnancy rate was 46% in the acupuncture group versus 26% in the control group.

Link to Study

Clinical pregnancy rates for women receiving acupuncture before and after IVF embryo transfer resulted in 39% compared to 26% for women with no acupuncture, and ongoing pregnancy rate of 36% compared to 22% with no acupuncture.

Link to Study

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 randomized controlled trials with 1366 women undergoing IVF, compared acupuncture within 1 day of embryo transfer either before or after, with sham acupuncture or no acupuncture.  The review concluded that acupuncture given around embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing IVF.

Link to Study

Acupuncture 2-3 days after IVF embryo transfer, has a positive effect on the outcome of IVF/ICSI according to a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study of 225 women.  116 women receiving acupuncture 2-3 days post embryo transfer, resulted in a clinical pregnancy rate of 33.6%, and ongoing pregnancy rate of 28.4%, compared to 109 patients that received placebo acupuncture, with a clinical pregnancy rate of 15.6%, and ongoing pregnancy rate of 13.8%.

Link to Study

Adding acupuncture 2 days post IVF embryo transfer, did not seem to make a statistical difference compared with just receiving acupuncture before and after embryo transfer, with a clinical pregnancy rate of 36% and ongoing pregnancy rate of 26%, compared to 39% clinical pregnancy rate and 26% ongoing pregnancy rate for women just receiving acupuncture before and after embryo transfer.

Link to Study

Health For Life Clinic: Natural Medicine & Acupuncture 
112 N. Cornell Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 669-1050
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