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How Does Acupuncture Help with Conception?

The Impact of Acupuncture on Uterine Artery Impedance and Egg Quality in Women Trying to Conceive

Understanding how acupuncture affects the uterine artery impedance and its potential benefits for egg quality is crucial for both patients and reproductive endocrinologists, especially in the context of fertility treatments. Here’s an in-depth look at this topic, supported by research.

Uterine Artery Impedance

Uterine artery impedance refers to the resistance to blood flow in the uterine arteries. This impedance is measured using Doppler ultrasound and is often expressed as the pulsatility index (PI) or the resistance index (RI). High impedance values indicate greater resistance to blood flow, which can lead to reduced blood supply to the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and potentially the ovaries.

Acupuncture and Uterine Artery Impedance

Acupuncture has been shown in several studies to lower uterine artery impedance. The mechanism is believed to involve the autonomic nervous system, mainly through the modulation of sympathetic nervous activity. By inserting needles at specific acupuncture points, acupuncture can:

  1. Reduce Sympathetic Nervous Activity: This leads to vasodilation (widening of blood vessels), which decreases resistance and allows for better blood flow.
  2. Increase Nitric Oxide Production: This compound is a vasodilator that helps reduce vascular resistance.

Results of Lowering Uterine Artery Impedance

Lowering uterine artery impedance improves blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Enhanced blood flow can:

  1. Improve Endometrial Receptivity: Better blood flow ensures a thicker, more receptive endometrium, which is crucial for the implantation of an embryo.
  2. Promote a Healthy Uterine Environment: Adequate blood supply brings nutrients and oxygen to the endometrium, creating a more conducive environment for embryo implantation and growth.
  3. Improve Ovarian Blood Flow and Egg Quality: Lower impedance and better blood flow to the ovaries can ensure they receive more oxygen and essential nutrients, which are critical for developing and maturing high-quality eggs.

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Benefits for Women Trying to Conceive

For women trying to conceive, lowering uterine artery impedance through acupuncture can offer several benefits:

  1. Increased Implantation Rates: Improved endometrial receptivity can lead to higher chances of embryo implantation.
  2. Enhanced Pregnancy Rates: A more receptive and healthier endometrium increases the likelihood of achieving and maintaining a pregnancy.
  3. Reduced Miscarriage Risk: Adequate blood flow can support the early stages of pregnancy, reducing the risk of early pregnancy loss.
  4. Improved Egg Quality: Better ovarian blood flow can create a healthier environment for follicular development, potentially leading to the production of higher-quality eggs.

Evidence and Studies

Several studies have supported the beneficial effects of acupuncture on uterine blood flow and its potential role in improving fertility outcomes. For instance:

  • Stener-Victorin et al. (1996): This study showed that electro-acupuncture can reduce uterine artery blood flow impedance in infertile women. Improved blood flow may benefit the ovaries as well.
  • Zhang et al. (2011): This study indicated that acupuncture treatment could improve endometrial receptivity by enhancing uterine and ovarian blood flow.
  • Chang et al. (2002): This study found that improved blood flow to the ovaries through acupuncture could enhance ovarian function and improve egg quality.
  • Magarelli et al. (2009): This study suggested that acupuncture can enhance ovarian blood flow, contributing to better egg quality and higher pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).


Acupuncture can lower uterine artery impedance, improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, enhance endometrial receptivity, and ultimately increase the chances of successful conception and pregnancy maintenance. Additionally, better blood flow to the ovaries can create a healthier environment for follicular development, potentially improving egg quality. This makes acupuncture a beneficial complementary therapy for women trying to conceive.


  1. Stener-Victorin, E., et al. (1996). “Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture.” Human Reproduction, 11(6), 1314–1317.
  2. Zhang, J., et al. (2011). “Acupuncture and blood flow to the uterine artery in women undergoing in vitro fertilization.” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 31(3), 231–234.
  3. Chang, R., et al. (2002). “Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture for the treatment of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.” Journal of Chinese Medicine, 69, 13–17.
  4. Magarelli, P.C., et al. (2009). “Acupuncture and IVF poor responders: a cure?” Fertility and Sterility, 92(5), 1672–1674.
  5. So, E., et al. (2009). “Acupuncture for infertility: is it an effective therapy?” BMJ, 338, a3115.
  6. Paulus, W.E., et al. (2002). “Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.” Fertility and Sterility, 77(4), 721–724.


  • Mike Berkley

    Mike Berkley, LAc, FABORM, is a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist and a board-certified herbalist. He is a fertility specialist at The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

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