In trying for a baby, couples are often faced with a minefield of emotions and life changing decisions, not to mention the financial burden of fertility tests and IVF. Acupuncture has a long and successful history in reproductive medicine. It can be used to help boost female and male fertility, prepare the body for conception and pregnancy and to treat underlying conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and irregular cycles. The focus at all times is on treating the individual.

For women, acupuncture helps prepare the womb for conception, by regulating the menstrual cycle. With treatment, pain and clotting can stop and periods can become more regular at 25-35 days and lasting for ~5 days. At this point the emphasis of treatment changes to strengthening the endometrium ready for ovulation.

For men, acupuncture can strengthen the energy of the body to improve the sperm’s quality, motility and count.


Acupuncture can also be a valuable complement to IVF for both men and women helping to substantially improve the chances of success. Acupuncture is focussed on diagnosing and treating the individual. It will also help in maintaining a calm mind and healthy body throughout the IVF cycle.

A preparation course of two to three months before IVF is important to increase the chances of success, depending on the individual case. 

Acupuncture, when used to support embryo transfer during IVF, has been shown to improve the success rate of pregnancy and live birth. In recent clinical trials, women who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer procedure and 91% more likely to have a live birth. (Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Mar 8;336(7643):545-9.)

Acupuncture then works alongside the different stages of the IVF cycle.

Down Regulation
Acupuncture treatment is aimed at gently nourishing the body to help with the goal of allowing the ovaries to rest.

FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
Acupuncture uses nourishing and moving treatments, which can help increase the chances of ripened follicular development in the ovaries.

Embryo transfer
Post- egg retrieval and pre-implantation, acupuncture can help increase the thickness and the quality of the uterine lining to encourage implantation.

Ideally, treatments should be carried out pre-transfer and up to 2-3 days afterwards. Special out-of-hours appointments can be made with your pracititoner around the time of your embryo transfer.

Luteal Phase / Progesterone hormone led:
Acupuncture is used to strengthen the body and help maintain pregnancy, whilst encouraging a calm state of mind.

IAN STONES - A ZITA WEST AFFILIATE                                Zita West logo   

Ian is one of the founding members of the first national fertility network launched by Zita West in 2009. By choosing a Zita West affiliated acupuncturist not only do you get the benefit of Ian’s individual experience, and the experience of 140 network members, but the benefit of the unique training and support that comes from Zita and her colleagues too.

As an affiliated practitioner Ian has exclusive access to a range of Zita West factsheets containing valuable advice on how to improve various aspects of your reproductive health, all of which are provided free of charge.

Whilst seeing an affiliated practitioner you will also be entitled to a discount on a range of Zita West products including telephone based consultations with the London based clinic, multivitamins as well as Zita’s bestselling books and CD’s.


Acupuncture is recommended by many midwives and offers women drug free relief from the multitude of problems that can arise during pregnancy (morning sickness, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, pregnancy-induced hypertension, oedema, lower back pain, pain of the symphysis pubis).

Prebirth, acupuncture can enhance the prospects of an efficient labour (by helping relax and soften the ligaments, aiding cervical dilation) and acupressure points can be taught to the birthing partner.

Moxa treatment can also assist with the correction of a breech presentation.

Acupuncture can be used effectively to help induce labour in consultation with your midwife.  

Miscarriages are a sad and too frequent occurrence (12-25% chance of miscarrying, depending on the maternal age1). Acupuncture, complementary dietary and lifestyle advice can all help to reduce the risk of miscarriages.

1 Lyttleton, J.(2004). “Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine.” Churchill Livingstone, London.


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