There has been a lot of publicity over recent years surrounding the use of acupuncture to help women conceive.
There have been numerous reports of women who have managed to conceive following acupuncture treatment. There is some scientific research that supports the plausibility of this: for example, electro-acupuncture to the lower abdomen increases the blood flow to the womb (uterus) and acupuncture has been shown to trigger the release in the brain of the hormones governing fertility, both of which could aid conception.
Most of the scientific research has concentrated on the use of acupuncture as an aid to conception using in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
A systematic review and meta-analysis (considered the highest level of evidence based medicine) published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 concluded "acupuncture given with embryo transfer improved rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation". Other research has found that ear acupuncture can help women who have hormonal imbalances conceive. Acupuncture was found to be at least as effective as hormonal treatment and had less side-effects. Acupuncture may work by increasing the blood flow to the womb and ovaries and by its effect on female hormones.
Needles are usually placed in the legs, arms and over the over the lower abdomen.