Sub-fertility may affect up to one in seven couples trying to conceive. The number of couples that are actually infertile is relatively low, or around 5%.
Natural conception
Provided a couple is having regular unprotected sex, natural conception occurs within a year in 85% of cases. Out of 100 couples trying to conceive naturally:
  • 20 will conceive within one month
  • 70 will conceive within 6 months
  • 85 will conceive within one year
  • 90 will conceive within 18 months
  • 95 will conceive within two years

(source: Food Hospital, channel 4)

Why would you see a general practitioner rather than a fertility acupuncture specialist?
Acupuncture is in my opinion not a specialist trade and specialisms are a westernisation of Chinese medicine that does not actually fit what we are addressing. Specialist acupuncturists may often charge a substantial sum for their treatments and my rates are essentially a lot more affordable, with the same amount of dedication to your individual case.
What does the appointment involve?
When looking at fertility issues, an acupuncturist will classically examine the tongue, check the pulses and ask a multitude of questions to uncover the underlying imbalances in the body. Being in a modern western society however, we can’t and won’t ignore the useful information you may have from your specialist, such as records on sperm motility in men, and womb lining, hormones, etc. in women as these give vital clues to any practitioner working with infertility issues.
An article in the Times on February 8, 2008, suggested that acupuncture may raise the success rate of IVF treatment by up to 65%.
This information has since been debated backwards and forwards, but is in my opinion totally irrelevant as each person is unique. There are a lot of women and men out there who are having trouble conceiving children and about as many reasons behind it. Acupuncture takes a holistic view of why the body is reacting the way it is and what is happening on an emotional level as well. There is often a lot of pressure and expectations associated with trying to conceive and I feel acupuncture has a role to play in managing those stresses.
For people who are looking to go for IVF (or IUI) but are not in a rush to start fertility treatment, it would be my advice for both parties to have regular acupuncture treatments for a few months prior. Acupuncture works to regulate the menstrual cycle, regulate imbalances and reduce stress, which is often a large factor, particularly in unexplained infertility. It has also been shown to increase sperm motility and overall count. Combined with lifestyle adjustments this will prepare both individuals for the emotional time that is IVF, provided a natural pregnancy is not achieved prior to commencing the IVF cycle.
If all options have been explored or time is of the essence, acupuncture tends to be given prior to implantation and shortly after to increase the chances.
As infertility is an enormous subject, I could not possibly cover all the angles here. Please give me a call on 07522 062 338 or send me an email if you have any further questions.
References:
Infertility. Food Hospital, Channel 4.  (retrieved 09.02.12)