Dr Debbie Smith, Plettenberg bay, Garden route, Bryanston


Infertility, IVF and acupuncture

Female fertility

Enhancing Fertility: A Holistic Approach to Conception and Reproductive Health

Embarking on the journey of parenthood is a profound and delicate endeavor, with the miracle of conception influenced by myriad factors. At our practice, we recognize that fertility is not solely a matter of reproductive organs but an intricate dance of overall health, lifestyle, and emotional well-being. Our approach is grounded in holistic principles, employing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy to optimize fertility for both men and women.

Understanding Infertility and its Causes

Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse, is a complex concern influenced by various elements. Factors such as poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles, excessive stress, and inadequate supplementation can contribute to compromised fertility. For those over 35, seeking guidance after six months of unsuccessful attempts is advisable.

The Complexity of Conception: Factors Affecting Fertility

Conception is a delicate interplay influenced by numerous factors, including physical obstructions, hormonal imbalances, menstrual cycle irregularities, and more. Even a minor deviation in factors like estrogen production, uterine lining thickness, or the timing of egg release can significantly impact the chances of conception. Furthermore, a woman’s overall health, stress levels, exercise habits, and diet play pivotal roles in this intricate process.

Benefits of acupuncture and fertility:

        • Regulating the menstrual cycle
        • Reducing stress by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. High stress levels are associated with reduced chances of conceiving
        • Improving blood circulation to the pelvic organs, including the ovaries and uterus, allowing the reproductive organs to work to their full potential
        • Increasing blood circulation to the uterus ensures optimal endometrial thickness
        • Helping to trigger ovulation in some women with ovulatory dysfunction
        • Helping women with PCOS, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, pelvic inflammation
        • Improving sperm count, motility, and structural abnormalities

The recognised causes of female infertility (in order of decreasing incidence) are:

        1. hormonal factors and ovulatory dysfunction
        2. fallopian tube abnormalities
        3. uterine and cervical factors, and
        4. unexplained infertility

Most of these problems can be treated naturally or at least improved upon with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), diet and lifestyle, supplementation, acupuncture, and herbs.


Fertility affects 1 in 6 patients.

30 – 40 % of patients with endometriosis are unable to conceive.

According to some statistics, a woman’s fertility peaks in her early twenties and starts to decline as early as 27. By the time a woman is 35, her chances of conceiving are reduced by 50%, and this reduces further to 20% at the age of forty. While these statistics may be valid, there are ways a woman of almost any age can increase her chances of conception.

Aging, years of poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and stress deplete the reproductive system of both men and women. Women’s bodies become ill-prepared to accept the burden of conceiving and carrying a healthy child to term. Month after month, hopes rise, only to fall again with the onset of menstruation.

Research shows that even young women using IVF techniques have only a 20 – 30% chance of conceiving (at a cost of tens of thousands rands per attempt).

Male infertility refers to the inability of a male to achieve conception in a fertile female. This accounts for 40 – 50% of infertility. 10 – 20% of all men have sperm counts below the World Health Organization cut-off level. 1 – 2% of all males are completely infertile and produce no sperm at all.

Other common causes of infertility:

  • Pre-existing endometriosis – most common symptom is pain with menses, but the absence of pain does not exclude endometriosis. Clotty, dark menses can also indicate endometriosis.
  • Under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroid) – the “normal” blood reference ranges for the thyroid panel test are not necessarily conclusive in assessing thyroid health, interpretation of the thyroid hormones relative to other factors are key to provide an accurate picture. Please ensure that you email or bring in a copy of all your previous blood works. Hypothyroidism can contribute to a relative excess of estrogen.
  • Nutritional deficiency – deficiencies in key nutrients can affect enzyme and hormone pathways within the body.
  • Inappropriate body fat – a higher BMI can reduce your chances of fertility.
  • Environmental estrogens – sources from vegetables (pesticides), meats (non organic) and dairy.
  • Fluoride toxicity
  • Birth control pills – if you have been on birth control pills for a period of time it is advisable to complete a 10 day Health detox focusing on removing xenoestrogens.
  • Douching – despite its frequent recommendation as a treatment for vaginosis, douching disrupts mucosal and pH balance of the vaginal environment.
  • Use of addictive substances
  • Depression and stress

Acupuncture treatment protocols – females

Natural cycles

Treatments every 2 weeks. This will improve the menstrual cycle, reduce PMS symptoms, reduce period pain and prepare the body for conception.

It is best to schedule one of the treatments one day prior to predicted ovulation.

Blood tests would be repeated every 3 months.


Once a week treatment. Best to have 3 months treatment before IVF. Once medication is started then 2 x weekly treatments. Day before egg retrieval and day before implantation.

Acupuncture treatment protocols – males

Once a week treatment – this will address stress and increase sperm count.

Preparation for pregnancy should begin several months prior to conception. If both partners begin a preconception healthcare programme including fertility acupuncture, nutrition 3 – 4 months prior to conception, it is possible to have impact on the health of both the egg and sperm and reproductive outcomes. Our 3 month male fertility acupuncture and sperm improvement programme is recommended because the continuous process by which stem cells develop into mature spermatozoa takes around 3 months. Spermatogenesis (or sperm development) is a three month process!



Empowering Female Fertility: Integrative Care with Acupuncture, Homeopathy, and Herbal Medicine

The journey to motherhood is a profound and deeply personal one, often marked by its unique challenges and joys. Female fertility, a crucial aspect of this journey, encompasses a complex interplay of hormonal balance, reproductive health, and overall well-being. At our practice, we recognize the multifaceted nature of female fertility and offer an integrative approach that combines acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbal medicine to support women on their path to conception.

Understanding Female Fertility:

Menstrual Health:

•  Regularity of menstrual cycles.

•  Hormonal balance, including estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH levels.


•  Timing and regularity of ovulation.

•  Quality of the egg released during ovulation.

Reproductive Anatomy:

•  Health of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

•   Conditions affecting reproductive organs, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors:

•  Nutrition and diet.

• Stress levels and emotional well-being.

•  Exposure to environmental toxins.

How Our Modalities Can Help:

Acupuncture for Female Fertility:

Regulating Menstrual Cycles: Acupuncture has shown efficacy in regulating menstrual cycles, addressing irregularities that may impact fertility.

Promoting Ovulatory Health: Studies suggest that acupuncture may enhance ovulation by influencing hormonal balance.

Uterine Blood Flow: Improved blood circulation to the uterus supports a healthy environment for embryo implantation.

Homeopathy for Female Fertility:

Hormonal Balance: Homeopathic remedies are tailored to address hormonal imbalances, promoting overall reproductive health.

Addressing Underlying Conditions: Homeopathy aims to identify and treat underlying conditions contributing to fertility challenges.

Herbal Medicine for Female Fertility:

Supporting Reproductive Organs: Herbal formulations target specific reproductive organs, promoting optimal health of the uterus and ovaries.

Hormonal Support: Certain herbs provide natural hormonal support, contributing to a balanced reproductive system.


Lifestyle Guidance:

•   Nutritional recommendations to support fertility through a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients.

•  Stress management techniques, including mindfulness and relaxation practices.

•  Lifestyle adjustments to create a conducive environment for fertility.

The content on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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