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After spending time with two of San Diego’s most sought after acupuncturists in reproductive medicine, Carla Nerelli, L.Ac found a passion for using acupuncture to help enhance fertility in both men and women. Carla brings this passion to help SLO Family Acupuncture patients restore their body’s natural fertility and ability to acheive pregnancy.

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year. At least 10-15% of American couples are considered infertile. It is important that both partners get tested because currently 40% of infertility is due to male factors. Depending on the cause, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be of great assistance in optimizing the body to conceive naturally as well as providing support care during In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures. For more information about acupuncture and IVFclick here.

Treatable Causes of Infertility 


Photo by Whitney Turner

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Benign uterine fibroids
  • Early menopause (Premature ovarian aging or failure)
  • Elevated prolactin (hyperprolactinemia)
  • Endometriosis
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage
  • High stress
  • Latent infections
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Pelvic adhesions
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm motility and/or morphology
  • Hormonal problems
  • Medications – including those for depression and/or high blood pressure
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Varicoceles
  • Injury to the testes
  • Exposure of the the testes to high temperatures – tight and unventilated clothing, excessive hot tub use, workplace condition
  • High stress
  • High intake of tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and/or caffeine
  • Surgery of the reproductive tract – undescended testes, hernia repair, disorders of the prostate gland, cancer, and damage to the vas deferens

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Fertility 

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for centuries to treat several causes of infertility. Treatment consistency, compliance with herbal medicine, and changes in lifestyle, can all significantly increase success rates. Acupuncture is used to:

  • Enhance immunity
  • Enhance production and quality of follicles
  • Improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus
  • Improve the thickness of the uterine wall lining
  • Improve ovarian function
  • Improve quality of oocytes
  • Lessen the side effects of pharmaceuticals
  • Reduce uterine contraction after embryo transfer
  • Reduce the chance of miscarriage
  • Reduce stress
  • Regulate the menstrual cycle
  • Regulate hormones

Acupuncture and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Chiang Mai Sunset

Photo by Whitney Turner

When acupuncture is unable to treat a person’s infertility and/or the decision to undergo assisted reproductive techniques (ART) has been made, combing acupuncture with an ART procedure can greatly improve the chances of a successful pregnancy. Whether undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donor transplant, frozen embryo transfer (FET), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), or zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) acupuncture can help to prepare the uterus and reproductive organs, enhance a woman’s immunity, and decrease stress and anxiety.

Several clinical studies have shown the efficacy of acupuncture when combined with IVF procedures. Acupuncture, when administered 25 minutes before and 25 minutes after embryo transfer can almost double pregnancy success rates. For best results, it is advisable to begin acupuncture treatments 3 months before an IVF procedure.

To find out more about acupuncture and IVF procedures, contact SLO Family Acupuncture.