In the above video, Jen Winer, founder of Winer Acupuncture in Minnesota, teaches how Acupuncture is commonly combined with Assisted Reproductive Technology and In Vitro Fertilization to help a person get pregnant.

Infertility based on Western medicine, to look at it from an age standpoint; if you're a female under 35 years old, you would be considered having infertility problems if you have been actively trying for one year and have not conceived. If you're over 35 years old, it would be actively trying for six months and not conceiving. And then also in that category is recurrent miscarriages, or not being able to retain a pregnancy.

In the United States right now, it's quite amazing; 9 million people are having trouble conceiving. It could be either you, or someone you know. The chances of that happening is one in eight.

Statistically, when you're looking at how much of this is a female factor, or how much of this is a male factor, versus, how much of this is (categorized as) Unexplained, the statistics show that 35% to 45% of all cases are due to female fertility problems, 15% to 35% are due to male, and 15% to 25% are due to a combination of male and female issues. So, the female might have an issue with growing follicles, or implantation. The male might have an issue with their sperm quality, the way it moves, or the amount he has. Then 10% to 20% of all cases are identified as unexplained. So they really aren't finding an answer as to why these two people can't become pregnant. The female is healthy, the male is healthy, there's just no answer. This is when often times when people might move on to acupuncture, Chinese herbs, assisted reproductive technology like artificial insemination, or in-vitro fertilization. I've seen many patients get pregnant with acupuncture and herbs alone, but many times we have to combine with Western medications. Sometimes, it's as simple as a patient needs some progesterone to start their cycle, so that we can get their cycles back on track. Sometimes they may have to go farther because they aren't ovulating, and we can do treatments to help trigger ovulation but sometimes their body needs a little push.

The really exciting thing about going through acupuncture combined with Western medicine, or alone, and getting pregnant; many times, after one pregnancy the body kind of... figures it out! And then, once the couple wants to try again, if they do, a lot of my patients have gotten pregnant on their own! Working with the body, balancing it, and then the body knowing, "oh that's what I was supposed to do?! Okay, let's do that again!" And it works out great.

A female patient who (has), really, nothing wrong with (her or her partner) that could be found; perfect body type, perfect situation to get pregnant, under a lot of stress, because fertility can be an incredibly stressful thing to deal with. However, she did go in and get a little bit of endometriosis removed, which sometimes the littlest bit can cause a problem. As her doctor was looking around, she saw the veins supplied to her ovaries, and she says, "Wow, those veins are really, really small, but they're pumping quite hard!" My patient (told her Dr.) that she just came from acupuncture! Her Dr. says, "oh that makes sense." So finally, through a few rounds of assisted reproductive technology, we had to do IVF, in vitro fertilization, combined with acupuncture; also doing a before and after treatment, it can be very, very successful! {These success rates go from 20% to 60-70%, when you're combining acupuncture and Chinese medicine}. She got pregnant, had a happy healthy boy, up on the Baby Board. Talked to her a few months ago, and she says that she thinks she is ready to try again. Well, I hadn't heard from her in a few months, so I just checked in again, and...she said "I'm pregnant!" And he whole time, we we're kind of like, hmm, must have been, maybe, the vein supply because, we just thought, you know, they're tiny. But, she did it, and she couldn't be happier! And her pregnancy is going fantastic, and we're still doing supportive treatment to help through the pregnancy, which can also make the labor a lot easier.

That's a beautiful story. If they can end in success, that's all anybody can ask for, right?

Absolutely. Acupuncture can help on so many levels with many of these issues. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, we can help with getting more circulation, more supply to the ovaries, and helping to hopefully decrease the size of the cysts that are on the ovaries, and the cysts can sometimes emit a hormone, which again, when one hormone is off, they all kind of get thrown off. Luteal phase defect, when you're looking at studies, the group that had acupuncture, and the group that didn't have acupuncture, the success rate actually doubled with the acupuncture group, as far as, I don't want to say fixing that, but as far as, making that happen the way it should. Luteal phase is the second half of your cycle after you ovulate, and it's when your body creates progesterone. And the progesterone is what helps you hold a baby in. So people who have recurrent miscarriages often have a part of what this luteal phase defect is. I'm not a medical doctor, I can't diagnose, or say that's what you have. I'm just giving you a definition. But if you do have a lower progesterone, that can definitely cause an issue where you might not be able to retain the baby and have recurrent miscarriages. So by balancing the body, we are, in a sense, balancing the hormones in the entire body, which helps with that issue. Again, are there times we have to have progesterone from Western pharmaceuticals as well? Absolutely. It just depends on the situation, depends on the person. Unfortunately, a person will have to go through three miscarriages before they kind of look into why the person is having the miscarriages. So again, not only is it important to be a whole-body treatment, instead of just singling in on a certain issue, but being a support system for that patient is just huge. Imagine, having to have three miscarriages before you can find out what is happening. It is very difficult, and sometimes it just happens, and it has nothing to do with anything the patient did. But as humans we have a tendency to just go there. So it's really being supportive, and hanging in there, and talking about how we can best make this happen, and best make this possible. We can work on poor blood flow to the uterus, we can work on fibroids, we can work on polyps, ovulation, blocked fallopian tubes. Acupuncture is a slower medicine, which does work on scar tissue. However when we're trying to get a patient pregnant, we have to look at what's the safest route, what's the best route, and what's going to be the most optimal route to get them to their goal as quickly as possible. So, sometimes it's not the female at all, where she's not having a problem with creating follicles, the follicles going down the tubes, the tubes are cleared, they make sure of that. They've been checked out, where they don't have endometriosis, they don't have signs of cysts or polyps, and all of that has been ruled out. Oftentimes, fertility clinics, which is a good thing, and OBGYNs if there's some unexplained fertility going on, will do a semen analysis. A semen analysis can show several things. For males, motility, morphology, and sperm count. Motility is the way it swims, morphology is the shape of the sperm, and then count, is the count. The average male sperm count dropped 45% between 1940 and 1990, and a lot of that's caused by environmental exposure, exposure to recreational drugs, exposure to medications, also smoking. Smoking has shown that, that can significantly lower counts, and create abnormal sperm. And they've shown studies, where after quitting smoking for the males, after 6 to 12 months it significantly improves. And then of course, you know, not just with male factor fertility and female factor fertility, sometimes you just have to look at, is this female's body working to get pregnant with the male's body? We find our partner, we get married, but that's not saying that all the times, it's going to be that easy, where you'll immediately get pregnant. Again, a lot of that is unexplained infertility, and either it takes a long time to find out why it is explained infertility, or eventually we will get to our goal and it just takes a little bit to get the body balanced.

Those are powerful statistics that you shared Jen. Thank you for sharing with us.

We like to plant in people's heads, allow at least three months, of once a week of treatments, to get the body balanced and prepared to carry a baby, and also to help with the sperm count, morphology and motility. Now, when you're looking at how long it takes to make a follicle into egg status so that it's ready to go, that actually is a hundred and fifty days. So, when we say three months, it can be three to six, but I've seen people get pregnant within a month, I've seen people get pregnant within six months. It all depends on what we're dealing with, what the diagnosis is, and what other things we're having to work with. If we have to combine it with Western medicine, if we aren't, if there are other things affecting the issue, especially endometriosis, which is unfortunately one of those things that can't be found unless they actually are to laparoscopically go in and look, to see. Even the tiniest bit of that can cause a problem.

Q: How quickly do you recommend people come see you?

A: As soon as possible. I mean, honestly, the sooner the better. Because, acupuncture is kind of a slower medicine. It's not like taking, for example, an ibuprofen and in 15 minutes you're getting pain relief. It's a very cumulative effect, so each time you get a treatment, we're getting the body better, better, better, better, better. Now, fertility is a little different. When you're treating that. Because, there's also different treatments for each week of your cycle. Different treatments based on the first half of your cycle, versus the second half of your cycle. Different treatments as far as, if you're not ovulating properly, different treatments as far as if your FSH level is higher. So, there are many other things we look at, that help us with diagnosis and, fortunately, it does come from Western medicine sometimes. Basal body temperature graphs, for example, we can look at. And even though it's telling us this is when they're ovulating, this is when they're getting their period, based on the way that graph looks, also helps us diagnose. And we can relate that to our Chinese medicine diagnosis terms. So there's many, many things we can do, and the sooner the better. What I do with my patients, is I work with them, and if there are herbs that I think they should have, I definitely make sure that after ovulation, they are completely safe to get pregnant on. Before ovulation, usually completely safe too. Unless we need something that, for example, we're going to work with polycystic ovarian syndrome and work with ovaries, and that might be an herb you take from day one to ovulation. So it's not interfering with the second half of the cycle. A lot of things to consider there, but essentially the sooner, the better. Because, even just getting your stress down alone, it's going to up your chances so significantly.

I love that.

And also, as a cost point, because I know a lot of people are concerned with cost, looking at most people go through seven rounds of assisted reproductive technology before they get pregnant. Just on that alone, that's a huge expense. And if we can get you pregnant on two rounds of assisted reproductive technology while combining acupuncture and herbs, you are going to be saving a lot of money. You're going to be balancing your body, your entire body, so you're going to get the benefit of us not working only on the fertility aspect. But, do you have allergies? Do you have insomnia? Do you have a sore neck? Do you have frequent urination? Do you have an old injury that is really revving up and you can't walk on your ankle very well because you sprained it ten years ago? Do you have an autoimmune issue, or chronic inflammation? All of those things can be worked with, with acupuncture. So, essentially, in one treatment, though it's very homed in to your fertility issue, we're still going to touch on all those points.

That's great. Thank you. That explains a lot.

In TCM, there's never a bad cycle. We're constantly working to keep you calm, to keep your anxiety down, to keep your nervous system balanced, to keep more blood flow going to the uterus and to your organs. Blood circulation is key. Not only to get to your organs and uterus, but to also flush out the excess cortisol, and things that might be in there that's not serving your body. It also works, again like I said, with calming down the nervous system, getting your natural endorphins going, working with balancing the hormones. As we talked about before, when one hormone is off, all the other hormones can be off as the body tries to compensate that. And it also works with helping with the follicle, as far as how big it gets, as far as the quality of the follicles, and also working with the lining of the uterus, and getting that thick enough for implantation. We want our clients to get to their goal as quickly as we can make that happen. Now, it can be a slow process, so that can be very stressful, sometimes frustrating. So that's where the support system of your practitioner comes in. And throwing all these other options out there, not to stress the patient out, but to give them the hope that they know there are other things we can look at, and there are other things we can look at together as a team: getting their doctor involved, getting their husband involved. He may not have a motility, or a morphology, or count problem, but there may be herbs he can be taking just to help. Even though, his count is at an okay count, or just on the threshold of being too low, we can make that higher, we can help make that higher. I should say we can make that higher, it can be effective for people. But a lot of times when the partner comes in to help, in that way even, just taking herbs, it makes them feel more like they're not doing everything alone. It makes them feel like they're doing something together. I think a lot of times it gets lost, where the husband, or the partner, who's not trying to conceive and carry the baby kind of feels helpless and doesn't know what they can do to help. When you feel like you're in this together, you're taking your herbs, I'm doing my acupuncture, we're going to talk about these other issues, we're going to rule out what could be possibilities of problems, instead of flying blindly through, and just trying and trying every month and getting a negative. It creates a much better environment for the patient.

Lovely. Working as partners together helping both the male and female, helping the Western medicine side of things, supporting and supplementing, not just what's needed to get pregnant, but also maintain that pregnancy, and speed up the labor process. Amazing words, all good things. We are so grateful that you gave us this time, and helped explain this. I'm already at ease just thinking about it. We love your Baby Board, and we wish you most success. We hope we grow more, more, more pictures on that Baby Board!

We will! We'll keep doing it. Thank you.

Thank You Jen. Appreciate your time.