How to Find a Fertility Acupuncturist

Where to Find One, What to Ask, What Training They Should Have

The jury is still out on whether acupuncture is an effective treatment for infertility, but some studies show promising results. In a 2019 meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of smaller studies), acupuncture treatments given along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) resulted in increased pregnancies and live births, as well as fewer miscarriages.

Acupuncture treatments are also known to reduce stress levels and improve relaxation, which is beneficial for anyone dealing with fertility issues.

If you're interested in trying acupuncture to boost your fertility, you'll want to find an acupuncturist who has training and experience with fertility treatments. Not all acupuncturists specialize in this field, so it's important to seek out someone who does. 

Woman at the acupuncturist

helovi / Getty Images

I asked Jill Blakeway, Clinic Director of The YinOva Center in New York City and author of the book "Making Babies: A Proven Three Month Program for Maximum Fertility," for her suggestions on finding an acupuncturist for fertility. 

Here's what she had to say.

Choose a Certified Acupuncturist

Certification requirements for acupuncturists vary by state. Most states require acupuncturists to pass a national board exam given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), in addition to completing a licensing process in their state.

If you've received a recommendation for a certain acupuncturist but are unsure of their credentials, you can check the NCCAOM directory, which lists all practitioners certified with the organization.

Seek Out Someone Trained in Both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs in combination with in vitro fertilization have been shown to improve fertility rates, but their use is still controversial due to potential issues with safety and contamination. Herbs are a topic you should speak to your doctor about before taking them. Blakeway suggests that for infertility, you should seek out an acupuncturist who is also an herbalist.

"In some states [such as California], all acupuncturists have to be trained herbalists," explains Blakeway. "And in others, licensed acupuncturists [do not have to be certified] herbalists. So it's worth noting that not all acupuncturists are trained and certified herbalists."

Because state requirements for the practice of using Chinese herbs vary considerably, consulting the NCCAOM State Relations Map for Chinese Herbology is a good idea to find out what to look for in your state.

Look For an Acupuncturist With Experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Blakeway suggests that you ask about the type and extent of fertility training that your potential acupuncturist has completed. 

Particularly since some acupuncture points and Chinese herbs are contraindicated after embryo transfer and during pregnancy, it's vital your acupuncturist is familiar with infertility issues as well as pregnancy.

Practitioners who specialize in this field can earn a certification from the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. To find someone with this certification, which ensures that they have experience with fertility issues, check out the ABORM Directory.

Ask About Their Training and Fertility Experience

According to Blakeway, the acupuncturist should have at least three to four years of training. A master's degree from a program accredited in acupuncture or Chinese medicine is also required to practice acupuncture in most states.

In addition to this, find out how many years they have treated patients dealing with infertility. 

While asking a prospective acupuncturist about their training and experience may feel awkward, know that these are questions they should be prepared to answer. You want to be sure you find someone who is both educated and experienced to help you with your fertility issues.

Ask If They Use Disposable Needles

Reusable needles were used by some acupuncturists in the past, but current standards of practice require the use of sterile, disposable needles.

Ask About the Costs of Treatment

While prices vary depending on the treatment plan and the experience level of the acupuncturist, an initial consultation typically starts at $125. 

Subsequent treatments average around $75­–$150 per treatment session. Keep in mind that by purchasing a package of treatment sessions up front, you may be able to get a discount.

The total cost of fertility acupuncture treatments can add up to $1,000–$3,000 after taking into account all of the treatment sessions and any herbs that your acupuncturist recommends to optimize the effects of the acupuncture. Ask what you'll need for your particular situation, and be sure to get an idea of the total cost before beginning treatments.

Check to see if your acupuncturist provides itemized receipts or invoices that you can submit to your insurance. Some insurance plans will cover the cost of your treatment, and it's definitely worth checking with your insurance provider to see what coverage they offer.

Ask About Necessary Follow-ups

Acupuncturists generally suggest at least three months of treatments, one to three times a week, prior to beginning conventional fertility treatments.

When you become pregnant, treatments are typically recommended once a week until the end of the first trimester, after the risk of miscarriage has gone down.

If you can't afford multiple treatments or would rather not have a series of sessions, a one-time treatment on the day of the embryo transfer may be beneficial. 

Ask Your Fertility Clinic for Recommendations

More and more fertility clinics are working alongside acupuncturists. You may want to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider if they can recommend someone in particular. There may also be a discount if the acupuncturist and fertility clinic work together.

Whether or not you use an acupuncturist recommended by your doctor, tell your doctor that you're seeing one. Also, it's extremely important to keep your doctor informed about which herbs you are taking, because certain herbs can interact with fertility drugs.

Use the AcuFinder.com Database or Ask Your Friends

In addition to the NCCAOM and ABORM sites, you may want to search the database at Acufinder.com, which maintains a nationwide directory of acupuncturists.

If you belong to an infertility support group, ask other group members for referrals. 

While you can also seek out referrals in fertility forums, be aware that those recommendations may or may not be trustworthy. If you do get a referral from a forum, check the acupuncturist's credentials using the tips above to make sure they are certified and experienced. 

A Word From Verywell

Finding an acupuncturist to help with infertility might seem like a daunting process at first; there are quite a few factors to consider. But now that you know the right questions to ask and how to find an acupuncturist in your area, you can seek out someone experienced with infertility issues who will help in your journey to welcome a new little one into the world.

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  1. Smith CA, Armour M, Shewamene Z, Tan HY, Norman RJ, Johnson NP. Acupuncture performed around the time of embryo transfer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2019;38(3):364-379. doi:10.1016/j.rbmo.2018.12.038