4 Alternative Fertility Treatments
If you’re having trouble conceiving, you may be seeking out fertility doctors, searching for medicines and even starting to look into IVF treatment. While these are great options, you may also consider using natural fertility treatments in conjunction with traditional treatments.
Unlike traditional medicines, some of these therapies have been around for thousands of years. Alternative treatments may be especially helpful for those whose infertility is unexplained.
While these alternative fertility treatments are believed by some to help couples conceive, there’s not a significant amount of research to back their opinions. More research needs to be conducted in these areas to fully determine if they can increase a woman or man’s fertility. However, unlike traditional medicines, these alternative treatments pose little risk or side effects. So, with little to lose, why not try a few and see if they help you conceive?
It is important to note that we cannot guarantee whether these treatments work. Alternative treatments are likely most effective paired with traditional treatments.
Acupuncture as a Natural Fertility Treatment
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice. When you think of acupuncture, images of being poked with long, sharp needles probably come to mind. However, it’s not that extreme. Acupuncture needles are very thin and are only inserted at specific acupuncture points. According to traditional Chinese medicine, these points are located on the meridians, which energy (chi) travels through. Acupuncture is believed by many to correct energy imbalances.
How Does Acupuncture Help Fertility?
A 2012 study concluded that adding acupuncture to IVF treatment could significantly increase the chances of getting pregnant. In the study of 160 participants, half received two acupuncture treatments: one before having the embryos transferred to the uterus and one after. Out of 80, 36 of these women got pregnant. The other half received no acupuncture treatment and only 21 got pregnant.
While research has shown that acupuncture can be helpful when used in conjunction with IVF, researchers do not agree on whether acupuncture alone is helpful. Some believe that acupuncture alone can stimulate egg production and increase blood flow to the ovaries. Some studies show that acupuncture can also help men by increasing their sperm count, motility and quality. Acupuncture can also reduce stress. Since some studies show that chronic stress can decrease fertility in both men and women, this treatment could be a good option for couples with anxiety.
Acupuncture therapy generally takes places several times weekly. There are about 12 sessions; each lasting for about 30 minutes. Once disposable needles are inserted in the body, they will remain there for about 20 minutes. A good acupuncture practitioner also gives you other medical advice for conceiving on each visit. Suggestions may include herbal supplements or nutrition advice.
If you’re wondering what exactly happens when you’re being treated with acupuncture, watch the video below. It gives you a good idea of where the needles will be inserted to increase fertility and how to process works.
Hypnosis as a Natural Fertility Treatment
What is Hypnosis?
When you think of hypnosis, you probably have an image of an old man waving a pocket watch in front of your face saying, “You are getting very sleepy.” But, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. When you are hypnotized, you reach a state of consciousness where you are relaxed and extremely open to suggestion. Unlike what’s depicted in media, you are not asleep when you’re hypnotized. However, you lose awareness of external stimuli and you are focused (kind of like when you’re watching a movie or reading a good book).
When a trained professional gets you into this state, they will then suggest certain thoughts, feelings or behaviors with the intent you will use your new knowledge in your fully conscious state. Hypnosis operates on the belief that thoughts significantly impact you physically and mentally. For this reason, hypnosis has been used to treat a variety of mental conditions: depression, anxiety and stress. You’ve probably heard of hypnosis practitioners claiming they can help you stop smoking. Some people even report that hypnosis has helped them manage pain.
How Does Hypnotherapy Help Fertility?
Okay, so it sounds pretty crazy. Can someone really access your subconscious and help you get pregnant? Like acupuncture, hypnosis has helped women get pregnant when used in conjunction with IVF treatments. A 2006 Israeli study showed that IVF treatments were two times more successful when they were coupled with hypnosis. However, many researchers will argue that there is not enough evidence yet to conclude that hypnosis is helpful for fertility.
Can hypnosis alone help you get pregnant? A 2010 review of research concluded that “Research provides compelling evidence that hypnosis is an efficacious treatment for state anxiety… and anxiety-related disorders.” So, why does this matter? Research has found that women with high levels of a stress hormone stop ovulating, making them unable to conceive. Any treatment to help you reduce stress may be beneficial.
Unlike an acupuncturist, anyone can claim to be a hypnotherapist, so you have to be leery about whom you choose. To find a true professional, ask about their training, professional affiliations, credentials and read online reviews.
Alternatively, you can try a cheaper method: self-hypnosis. There are some guided hypnotherapy videos on YouTube and even an app with tracks to help you relax and conceive. These programs are very similar to guided meditations.
Keep in mind that some people may be easier to hypnotize than others; it all depends on how deeply you can relax.
Reflexology as a Natural Fertility Treatment
What is a Reflexology?
Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the hands, feet and ears. The therapy is based on the belief that certain areas correspond to different muscles and organs. Reflexologists use hand and foot charts as a reference and may use items to assist them in applying pressure.
How Does Reflexology Help Fertility?
Certain areas on the foot are said to correspond to egg production. By applying pressure to these areas, reflexologists believe they can correct imbalances and other issues. In a 1996 study of 61 participants, 15% became pregnant within six months of reflexology treatment. For the women in the group that had menstruation problems, 77% saw an improvement. However, there is a limited amount of research in this field to draw a conclusion. If you don’t want to spend the money on several reflexology treatments, you could get your partner to practice reflexology on you instead. The video below shows 10 different reflexology techniques that could help fertility and explains which organs the area corresponds to.
Seeing a Naturopathic Doctor as a Natural Fertility Treatment
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic doctors use traditional and natural healing practices and principles. Naturopathic physicians believe in treating the body as a whole and they are concerned with prevention and cause, not just symptoms. For example, if a patient has depression, a naturopath may recommend diet and lifestyle changes coupled with natural supplements and relaxation techniques. However, a family physician may be quick to prescribe an anti-depressant. Naturopaths aim to treat you as a unique individual and they generally ask you many questions before giving you health advice.
Naturopathic doctors are licensed practitioners who undergo training. However, many naturopaths recommend using their services in conjunction with the advice of a traditional or family doctor.
How Does a Naturopathic Doctor Help Fertility?
A naturopathic doctor can help you decide which of the above treatments, and more, are right for you. He or she may help you get pregnant by addressing the factors that your doctor may push aside. Your naturopathic doctor can help you diagnose the reasons why you’re having trouble getting pregnant. They can use various types of tests to determine the cause (ex. a hormonal imbalance). Based on the suspected cause, they can recommend various natural treatments. This could include a change of diet. A naturopath will teach you what vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are helpful for conceiving. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, they may provide tips to stop bad habits or lose weight.
If you are chronically stressed, they may provide suggestions to treat your worry. These could include yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques.
Other treatments a naturopath could recommend are acupuncture, bodywork (such as massage), homeopathic medicine and more.
Some couples may lack general knowledge about how to increase fertility in women and how to strengthen sperm. A naturopathic physician can also help you track your fertility cycle. You can only get pregnant about six days of the month; this is called your “fertility window.” He or she can also teach you about basal body temperature and cervical mucus, which can also be helpful in determining the best days to get busy.
Have you ever tried an alternative fertility treatment? If you have, comment below whether it worked for you. If this article gave you some ideas, be sure to share it with friends who are also hoping to conceive.