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Acupuncture for Fertility in Singapore

If you are receiving fertility treatments or concerned about your ability to get pregnant in Singapore, consider including a natural, complementary practice thousands of years old: acupuncture.

And, you have landed up in the correct place. 

Because our primary focus is in TCM Fertility Acupuncture Treatment

In Singapore.

We all know about the overwhelming anguish and sense of loss experienced by women struggling with infertility issues is driving many to seek other treatment options to overcoming infertility. From home remedies, fertility drugs, and even surgery, to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and donor eggs and embryos, modern healthcare has vastly expanded the array of options available for couples struggling to conceive.

But not all can afford the financial costs of infertility which can range from hundreds of dollars spent on drugs to tens of thousands spent on advanced procedures. Therefore alternative and holistic treatments are gaining wider appeal among the general public.

Acupuncture in particular has rapidly grown in acceptance by the general public and practice among therapists today. Not only is acupuncture valued for stress-relieving and relaxing benefits, but also as a component of fertility treatments.

Before we go further, let’s listen to what the reviews say..

Reviews about us

Infertility & TCM

Infertility is considered an inability to conceive in a sexually active couple who are trying to get pregnant for one year. About 8-12% of the couples in the world are facing problems with infertility, and in this modern times the per cent is getting bigger, and 20% of the cases are due to both male and female factor. If you are facing fertility issues of your own, Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM)  and acupuncture can be used to optimise your fertility health naturally. EMW Physiotherapy & TCM uses evidence-based approach to help you realise your dreams of starting a family.

The philosophy in TCM is that you are able to treat infertility issues and conceive naturally when you are more balanced physically, mentally and emotionally. Using TCM, EMW Physiotherapy & TCM physicians guide our patients to achieve in their overall well-being rather than focusing on infertility definitions or tiny details of implantation.

An interesting finding by Tel Aviv University researchers discovered that a combination of TCM and intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a winning solution for women who are having difficulty conceiving. They have also found a positive link between acupuncture and fertility.

"When combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5% of the test group was able to conceive, compared with 39.4% of the control group, which received no acupuncture or herbal therapy."

HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS
HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS

How does acupuncture help with fertility in Singapore?

Acupuncture is an ancient Asian medicinal art based on ‘meridian theory’ devised 5,000 years ago that involves the use of thin, cylindrical needles that are inserted into specific portions of the body called acupuncture points.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the numerous functional— and, in the course of time, occasionally also substantial—disorders are disturbances in the area of circulation and the production of Qi and blood. By maintaining the flow of Qi and blood in the meridians, disorders can be managed and treated. Each of the acupuncture points act as a gate—sending energetic information electromagnetically via the fascia deep into the body.

Three main mechanisms have been suggested to explain the effect of acupuncture on subfertility: 

  1. by regulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian axis thus affecting ovulation and the menstrual cycle [1], 
  2. by affecting blood flow to the uterus [2] and 
  3. by affecting endorphin production and secretion, thus inhibiting the central nervous system and reducing stress [3,4].

Acupuncture proponents have recommended it for a variety of medical conditions that affect fertility. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, endometriosis, and issues with ovarian reserve and sperm quality. It may also help relieve some of the side effects associated with fertility drugs (such as bloating and nausea). Acupuncture has been shown to promote relaxation.

Success Stories - #Anovulation

We been trying to conceive for 2 years. We have always thought the main issue is the irregular period. We decide to go to the hospital for checkup. The gynae advice us to take clomid for 6 months to help to increase the number of eggs. The gynae informed us that this is a cheaper alternative than going through fertility test. Most couples, managed to conceive within the 6 months by taking clomex.

After 6 months, there is still no improvement, he then advice us go for throughout fertility checkup. The checkup consist of both male and female issues. For the male, there will be a semen analysis. For the female, they check if there is a blockage in the fallopian tube and ovulation of the egg. After the checkup, we found out the issues. I have hormone imbalance therefore affecting my ovulating cycle. On the other hand, my husband has abnormal sperm morphology known as Teratozoospermia. To help us, the gynae gave me Letrozole Sandoz to boost ovulation and vigor ace for my husband to increase the quality of the sperm. The gynae told us to try for 3 months, and if there is still no improvement, he recommend us to do IVF.

IVF is not only expensive, but physically texting on the body and not 100% success rate. We decided to try alternative treatment. We source for traditional chinese medicine online, but most of them are chinese speaking. Communication will be a big issue for us as we don’t speak the language.

I start asking around if they know of any chinese practitioner to help with our issues. A friend recommended Dr Pang. He specialise in handling fertility issues and he is able to communicate in English. He is very patience and friendly in giving us appropriate advice. We start seeing him in October for once a week. Every week, we update one another on the progress,  and he will tweak the herbs based on our condition. The herbs is effective that within a short period of 3 months, I managed to conceive successfully. 

As a non-chinese couple, we highly recommend traditional chinese medication for those who have fertility issues. There is no harm trying alternative medication to assists with the issues.

Can acupuncture make you ovulate?

A study published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, involved 24 PCOS patients between the ages of 24 and 40 whose menstrual periods were absent or irregular. The women were treated for 30 minutes twice a week for two weeks, then once a week, for a total of 10-14 treatments. 

After repeated acupuncture treatments, it was found that it induced regular ovulations in more than one third of the women with PCOS. The group of women with good effect had a less androgenic hormonal profile before treatment and a less pronounced metabolic disturbance compared with the group with no effect. For this selected group, acupuncture offers an alternative to pharmacological ovulation induction.

Success Stories - #Endometriosis

Hello my name is Kahmahchi (27) and my husband is Vishnudev (25). I have always wanted to have children. At the age of 20, my partner and I found out that I had endometriosis as I was having irregular periods since my puberty at 16. I had to undergo an operation to remove a growth in my uterus wall at a local hospital. After the operation, it didn’t stop the irregular periods and cramps. I kept trying everything that would give me a child one day. The doctors suggested that I might not be able to have my own children. So, I was telling my family about it and my aunty who is a Chinese told me to go to the TCM. After 5 years of trying, my partner and I decided to visit the TCM. That’s where I met Dr Edmund Pang in December 2016. He helped me to regulate my period and our yin/yang. Then once my period was regular, Dr Pang started chinese herbs for FERTILIY and taking basal temperature for 6 months. In May 2017, I become very fatigue and nausea, I was finally pregnant. I’m so grateful to Dr Pang, it took 6 months of Chinese herbs to help me get pregnant.

How can acupuncture complement IVF in Singapore?

1. Stress reduction

Acupuncture is effective for relieving stress and relaxing the sympathetic nervous system through the release of endorphins in the body.This can increase the body’s ability to produce and respond to changes in hormonal signals and increase overall blood flow throughout the body. In addition to acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Herbs can also be administered to support the growth of a healthy endometrium lining.

2. Improve IVF outcomes

The results of a review suggests that acupuncture has a positive effect of pregnancy rates when given with IVF. The researchers conclude that acupuncture given with embryo transfer, improves rates of pregnancy and live birth in women who are undergoing in vitro fertilisation. [5]

3. Improve uterine blood flow

A study showed that blood flow to the uterine arteries was significantly increased not only during the time of treatments, but for up to 14 days after! [2] This study shows that acupuncture can be particularly useful to women that have known blood flow issues to the uterus and ovaries, but it can help all women going through IVF.

4. Improve implantation rates

The most immediate possible effect is that acupuncture served to “relax” the uterus around the time of the transfer. Several studies have shown that the uterus has contractions and that these contractions could cause expulsion of the transferred IVF embryos. If the contractions were reduced by acupuncture then that could be a mechanism for an improvement in IVF pregnancy rate.

What the research says..

Paulus et al. evaluated the effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in ART (IVF) by comparing a group of patients who underwent acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer with a control group that did not have acupuncture [6]. Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.Those authors’ conclusions were that acupuncture seemed to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates after IVF. 

More recent randomized controlled studies evaluated the effect of acupuncture on reproductive outcome in patients treated with IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) [7,8]. Again, both studies showed that acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improved the reproductive outcome of IVF/ICSI compared with no acupuncture

A recently published systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials suggested that acupuncture given concomitantly with embryo transfer improves the rates of pregnancy and of live births among women undergoing IVF [9] and a research team from Hong Kong further validated this claim [10]. 

Success Stories - #Unexplained Infertility

Alice(not her real name) was married for 7 years, did a round of IUI in 2016, IVF in 2017 prior to seeing me. Her AMH was very high, 47.5. Her cycles were rather regular, and there was ovulation. However, their timing wasn’t always on time, therefore there was a frustration due to the long period of waiting.  She was on TCM herbs for 3 months before trying another round of IVF in 2018 May. That cycle didn’t work out and she went for a third round in Nov 2018, which was unsuccessful as well. They intended to go Taiwan for IVF, before testing positive by natural conception in March 2019. They took quite a bit of time during their fertility journey but they persevered on. That did the magic and she delivered her baby Jan 2020. 

When should you get acupuncture for fertility in Singapore?

Generally speaking, the most important times to have acupuncture are:

  • During the follicular phase – day 5, 6, 7 or 8 of your menstrual cycle (day 1 being the first day of heavy flow)
  • The day before, day of or day after ovulation (as indicated by your LH surge)
  • During implantation time (6 – 10 days after ovulation).

This works out to be approximately once or twice a week except when you are menstruating.

In an ideal world, we would like to begin seeing you 3 – 6 months prior to conception/transfer so that we can help with egg quality, work on any cycle or lining irregularities, address any nutritional concerns, and help reduce stress. If you are going through IVF or FET, we are also working to prepare you for your transfer.

For couples undergoing IVF/IUI treatments, you can opt for our TCM-IVF Enhancement Programme. We are one of the few TCM clinics that focuses on fertility acupuncture treatment in Singapore.

EMW Physiotherapy & TCM develops a customised TCM course for you during your IVF fresh or frozen cycle. During your cycle, only acupuncture will be administered. However, if you are able to start your treatment prior to your IVF cycle, we recommend starting TCM herbal medications and acupuncture at least 3-6 months prior to your cycle to improve your reproductive health.

If supplementation or herbs are warranted, they take time to work, so beginning earlier is best. Even if you decide to wait to start acupuncture, don’t wait to start supplementation. It takes 4 – 5 months for an egg to mature. If you can get started on a good quality preconception formula 3 – 6 months prior to conception/transfer, your eggs are going to have the opportunity to grow and mature in a nutrient rich environment. Our experience is that women who supplement their diets with appropriate amounts of vitamins and antioxidants typically have embryos with less fragmentation.

How many sessions of acupuncture do you need for fertility?

As mentioned, we will tailor treatments to your condition but will generally recommend a treatment 1–2 times a week. Each session after the first one may last up to an hour—first a discussion period to update your TCM physician followed by a 20–40-minute session with needles.

Success Stories - #Miscarriage

I had two miscarriages at the first trimester in late 2016 and early 2017. And then I had inter-menstrual bleeding in Aug 2017 and went to KK for examinations but no abnormalities were found. We both did the full fertility checkup in Sep 2017 but found nothing abnormal too. Hence I had started the TCM treatment since Dec 2017 under different doctors until May 2018.

We began to try to conceive from then onwards, and went to seek help from Dr Pang in Sep 2018 as recommended by a friend. 

Dr. Pang, as the head of the branch, has been very patient and answered all our questions since our first visit. I got pregnant within a couple of weeks after seeing Dr. Pang, and I started to be worried about the fetus growth, so I visited him every week, and he would adjust the prescription accordingly to keep me and the baby healthy. I stopped to visit Dr. Pang at 10 weeks when the pregnancy was stable, and there was no other complications till the end of my pregnancy. After I gave birth, Dr. Pang even visited me at the hospital and prescribed me some medicine for my swift recovery.

Dr. Pang is patient, responsible, understanding, and knowledgeable. He is like a friend to us. We were lucky to have Dr. Pang as our doctor, and I have recommended him to a lot of friends.

Will the needles hurt?

The sensations vary from completely unnoticed to a small pinch followed by a sensation of tingling, numbness, a dull ache, the movement of a warm fluid, or heaviness. Usually patients will go into deep relaxation during treatment. Let us know if you are taking aspirin or other anticoagulants (blood thinners). As a clinic that deals primarily with fertility acupuncture treatment in Singapore, we use disposable needles therefore the risk for infection is very, very low.

Our TCM Physician

Acupuncture for Fertility in Singapore
Physician Edmund

Edmund graduated with a First Class Hons in Biomedical Sciences and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Nanyang Technological University, before taking a Masters in Gynaecology(TCM) in Liaoning, China. 

He has successfully treated patients with unexplained infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) and endometriosis and helped them conceive naturally with Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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References

[1] Ferin M, Vande Wiele R. Endogenous opioid peptides and the control of the menstrual cycle. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1984;18:365–73. 

[2] Stener-Victorin E, Waldenström U, Andersson SA, Wikland M. Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Hum Reprod 1996;11:1314–7. 

[3] Ku YH, Chang YZ. Beta-endorphin- and GABA-mediated depressor effect of specific electroacupuncture surpasses pressor response of emotional circuit. Peptides 2001;22:1465–70. 

[4] Kim JH, Nam D, Park MK, Lee ES, Kim SH. Randomized control trial
of hand acupuncture for female stress urinary incontinence. Acupunct
Electrother Res 2008;33:179–92.

[5] Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, Haramati A, Langenberg P, Berman BM, Bouter LM. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis.BMJ. 2008 Mar 8;336(7643):545-9. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39471.430451.BE. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

[6] Paulus WE, Zhang M, Strehler E, El-Danasouri I, Sterzik K. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertil Steril 2002;77:721–4. 

[7] Westergaard LG, Mao Q, Krogslund M, Sandrini S, Lenz S, Grinsted J. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective randomized trail. Fertil Steril 2006;85:1341–6. 

[8] Dieterle S, Ying G, Hatzmann W, Neuer A. Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Fertil Steril 2006;85:1347–51. 

[9] Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, Haramati A, Langenberg P, Berman BM, et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br Med J 2008;336:545–9. 

[10] Ng EH, So WS, Gao J, Wong YY, Ho PC. The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility. Fertil Steril 2008;90:1–13.

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