Acupuncture for Fertility: What Does “Improving Egg Quality” Really Mean?
Of all the great things that acupuncture can do to help fertility, one of them is improving your egg quality.
Acupuncture for Fertility: the goal isn’t to just get pregnant
In Chinese medicine, the goal is that you end up pregnant with a strong viable fetus in a strong balanced body that can sustain that fetus. This prevents miscarriage, and increases the chance of your pregnancy resulting in the live birth of a strong, healthy baby.
But “egg quality” can be confusing to understand.
One of the reasons this concept gets confusing, is because it’s easy to mix up egg QUALITY with the egg’s chromosomes/DNA.
Improving egg quality vs. changing egg’s DNA: What does acupuncture actually do?
We can’t change your egg’s chromosomes. But when we improve your egg’s quality, what we CAN influence is how your egg’s cells will grow, develop, and divide.
Good eggs result in better embryos, measured by:
- Cell number: After conception there should be at least 2-4 cells at 48 hours, and 7-10 cells by 72 hours. (measured during IVF)
- Cell regularity: All the dividing cells should be very similar in size
- Degree of fragmentation: In fragmentation, portion of cells break off, and you want as little of this as possible.
- Multi-nucleation: When a cell has more than one nucleus. This is a high-risk embryo as there may be chromosomal problems.
Does Acupuncture affect Egg QUANTITY?
While we can’t change how many eggs you have, what we CAN change is how many are responsive to hormonal stimulation, whether natural (your own hormones) or exogenous (taken as a medication). The more eggs that respond to stimulation, the more ovulate, and the more chances there are of getting pregnant. And not just pregnant, but pregnant with an egg that will make a good quality, viable embryo.
Overall fertility treatment: Acupuncture and herbs work to:
- Increase the responding follicles by increasing the quality of the eggs
- Regulate immunity: to help the ever increasing immune related fertility problems, whereby immune factors attack a growing embryo, among many other problems. (more on this in a soon-to-come blog)
- Increase blood flow and therefore oxygen and nutrient supply to the ovaries, improving the fluid environment of the follicle.
- Improve semen quality to produce better quality and more viable embryos
- Increase circulation to the uterus to improve thickness and quality (oxygen and nutrients) of the uterine lining, as well as increase implantation sites for the embryo
- Decrease need for drugs to get pregnant, by regulating the menstrual cycle
Will we one day say we can increase the number of eggs?
On a slightly different topic, I’ve been stumbling upon more and more medical literature stating that science might have been wrong about the age-old wisdom that we’re born with as many eggs as we’ll ever have.
So in the future we might find out that Chinese medicine actually increases the likelihood of us producing new, and/or more eggs!
But for now we’ll leave it with this and continue to help fertility in the ways that we know is beneficial for egg quality and quantity.
If you’d like to get started on fertility treatment to improve your egg quality as well as work on any other factors that need support, you can schedule an appointment using the button below.