Fertility Acupuncture for Low Egg Reserve: Improving Follicle Quality and Count
Diminished ovarian reserve is something I commonly support Patients undergoing fertility treatments with. It can be a very stressful situation for Patients that are trying to conceive with low egg reserve: the number of treatment cycles required may be higher than average and there is a higher chance of having lower quality eggs (or increased risk of aneuploidy).
We often share informative posts discussing adjunctive treatment options that can improve egg quality, including various micronutrients and antioxidants that have been studied to support the quality of follicles. Recently a newly published systematic review and meta-analysis that reviewed 13 clinical studies on fertility acupuncture found that acupuncture tailored to reproductive health was able to increase various fertility parameters for Patients with low egg reserve that are trying to conceive.
Fertility acupuncture was found to increase the antral follicle count (AFC), increase anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels and increase egg quality.
How does Fertility Acupuncture affect Egg Quality?
There are several mechanisms that have been observed that may explain an improvement in egg quality, some of them include:
Acupuncture has been observed to reduce oxidative stress in ovaries related to diminished ovarian reserve
Acupuncture may reduce autophagy (degradation) of granulosa cells in the ovaries
Acupuncture may impact the gut microbiome, altering the accumulation of iron which may indirectly affect promote the number of mature follicles
Increasing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose transportation
The researchers concluded that fertility acupuncture may be a helpful non-pharmacological adjunctive treatment for patients with DOR pursuing assisted reproductive technologies in supporting follicle count and quality.
Limitations of the Study:
There was a high level of heterogeneity between the studies with regards to the treatment protocol, measured treatment outcomes and more research is needed to confirm the findings of the systematic review and meta-analysis.
This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healthcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.