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There is a lot of research available about the effects of Chinese medicine on fertility and pregnancy. As mentioned before, ongoing research that complies with Western medical protocols, despite being very difficult to emulate, needs to be undertaken to clarify some of the results and the impact of these on treatment approaches. Here at Gold Coast Fertility Acupuncture, all yearly ongoing professional development requirements, as stipulated by our governing body AHPRA, are undertaken solely in the field of Chinese medicine and gynecology, ensuring our practitioners stay up-to-date with the current research in this field. So as new research comes to light, the practitioners adapt their treatments accordingly. However, some of the research listed below has been instrumental in determining treatment methodologies over the years, and that is why they have been included on this page.

Below are the abstracts from a range of different researchers listed under heading and sub-headings for your perusal. As always, consult your Western medical practitioner to discuss whether Chinese medicine is appropriate for you.

Preparing to Conceive

Regulating the Menstrual Cycle

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Cochrane S, Smith CA, Possamai-Inesedy A, Bensoussan A. Acupuncture and women's health: An overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women's reproductive health. Int J Women's Health. 2014;6: 313-25.

Zhou K,Wu J, Liu Z. Electroacupuncture modulates reproductive hormone levels in patients with primary ovarian insufficiency: Results from a prospective observational study.Evid Based Complement Altern Med. 2013;2013:657234.

Ernst E, Lee MS, Choi TY. Acupuncture in obstetrics and gynecology: An overview of systematic reviews. Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(3): 423-31.


Tan L, Tong Y, Sze SC, Xu M, Shi Y, Song XY, Zhang TT. Chinese herbal medicine for infertility with anovulation: A systematic review. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(12): 1087-1100.

Ried K, Stuart K. Efficacy of traditional Chinese herbal medicine in the management of female infertility: A systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2011;19(6): 319-31.

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Egg & Sperm Quality

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Females / Egg (Please also refer to articles under IVF and Assisted Reproductive Technologies)

Stener-Victorin E, Kobayashi R, Kurosawa M. Ovarian blood flow responses to electro-acupuncture stimulation at different frequencies and intensities in anaesthetized rats. Autonom Neurosc. 2003;108: 50-55.

Males / Sperm

Dieterle S, Chunfang L, Greb R, Bartzsch F, Hatzmann W, Huang D. A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2009;92(4): 1340-43.

Pei J, Strehler E, Noss U, Abt M, Piomboni P, Baccetti B, Sterzik K. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertil Steril. 2005;84(1): 141-47.

Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Lederman H, Bartoov B. Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study. Androlog. 2000;32(1): 31-39.

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Lifestyle Factors such as Stress, Sleep & Diet

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Eshkevari L, Permaul E. Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the rat. J Endocrinol. 2013;217: 95-104.

Kim H, Park HJ, Han SM, Hahm DH, Lee HJ, Kim KS, Shim I. The effects of acupuncture stimulation at PC6 (Neiguan) on chronic mild stress-induced biochemical and behavioral responses. Neurosc Letters. 2009;460(1): 56-60.


Zhang ZJ, Chen HY, Yip K, Ng R, Taam Wong V. The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture therapy in depressive disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. 2010;124(1-2): 9-21.

Wang H, Qi H, Wang BS, Cui YY, Zhu L, Rong ZX, Chen HZ. Is acupuncture beneficial in depression: A meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials? J Affect Dis. 2008;111(2-3): 125-34.

Weight Control

Güçel F, Bahar B, Demirtas C, Mit S, Çevik C. Influence of acupuncture on leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cholecystokinin in obese women: a randomised, sham-controlled preliminary trial. Acupunct Med. 2012;30: 203-07.

Li MY, Wei DY, Wu JM. Analysis on the interrelation between acupuncture-induced weight reduction and menstruation. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2007;32(2): 142-44.


Cao H, Pan X, Li H, Liu J. Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complemen Med. 2009;15(11): 1171-86.

Chen HY, Shi Y, Ng CS, Chan SM, Yung KK, Zhang QL. Auricular acupuncture treatment for insomnia: A systematic review. J Altern Complement Med. 2007;13(6): 669-76.

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IVF & Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)

IVF & Assisted Reproduction

Qian Y, Xia XR, Ochin H, Huang C, Gao C, Gao L, Cui YG, Liu JY, Meng Y. Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilization: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2017; 295(3): 543–58.

Villahermosa DI, Santos LG, Nogueira MB, Vilarino FL, Barbosa CP. Influence of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation when embryo implantation has failed: A prospective randomised controlled clinical trial. Acupunct Med. 2013;31(2): 157-61.

Zheng CH, Huang GY, Zhang MM, Wang W. Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Fert Steril. 2012;97(3): 599-611.

Huang DM, Huang GY, Lu FE, Stefan D, Andreas N, Robert G. Acupuncture for infertility: Is it an effective therapy? Chin J Integr Med. 2011;17(5): 386-95.

Stener-Victorin E, Humaidan P. Use of acupuncture in female infertility and a summary of recent acupuncture studies related to embryo transfer. Acupunct Med. 2006;24(4): 157-63.

Magarelli P, Cridennda D. Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: A cure? Fert Steril. 2004;81(3): S20.

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Ovarian Hyperstimulation

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Magarelli PC, Cridennda D, Cohen M. Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertil Steril. 2009;92(6): 1870-79.

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Egg Collection (Oocyte Pick Up)

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Zhang J, Wang X, Lü R. Analgesic effect of acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4) on transvaginal oocyte retrieval with ultrasonography. J Trad Chin Med. 2013;33a (3): 294-97.

Ng EH, So WS, Gao J, Wong YY, Ho PC. The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility. Fertil Steril. 2008;90(1): 1-13.

Sator-Katzenschlager SM, Wölfler MM, Kozek-Langenecker SA, Sator K, Sator PG, Li B, Heinze G, Sator MO. Auricular electro-acupuncture as an additional perioperative analgesic method during oocyte aspiration in IVF treatment. Hum Reprod. 2006;21(8): 2114-20.

Humaidan P, Stener-Victorin E. Pain relief during oocyte retrieval with a new short duration electro-acupuncture technique - an alternative to conventional analgesic method. Hum Reprod. 2004;19(6): 1367-72.

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Embryo Transfer or Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) -

Fu H, He Y, Gao Y, Man Y, Liu W, Hao H. Acupuncture on the endometrial morphology, the serum estradiol and progesterone levels, and the expression of endometrial leukaemia-inhibitor factor and osteopontin in rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011: 606514.

Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, Haramati L, Langenberg P, Berman BM, Boulter LM. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live births among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008;336(7643): 545-49.

Westergaard LG, Mao Q, Krogslund M, Sandrini S, Lenz S, Grinsted J. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves reproductive outcome in infertile women: A prospective randomized trial. Fert Steril. 2006;85: 1341-46.

Dieterle S, Ying G, Hatzmann W, Neuer A. Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: A randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Fert Steril. 2006;85: 1347-51.

Paulus WE, Zhang M, Strehler E, El-Danasouri I, Sterzik K. Influence of acupuncture on pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fert Steril. 2002;77(4): 721-24.

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Waiting for Test Results

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Mental / Emotional

Grant LE, Cochrane S. Acupuncture for the mental and emotional health of women undergoing IVF treatment: A comprehensive review. Aust J Acupunct Chin Med. 2014;9(1): 5-12.

Isoyama D, Cordts EB, de Souza van Niewegen AM, de Almeida Pereira de Carvalho W, Matsumura ST, Barbosa CP. Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: A prospective randomised controlled study. Acupunct Med. 2012;30(2): 85-88.

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During Pregnancy

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First Trimester

Liu F, Luo SP. Effect of Chinese herbal treatment on Th1- and Th2-type cytokines, progesterone and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin in early pregnant women of threatened abortion. Chin J Integr Med. 2009;15(5): 353-58.

Liu Y, Wu JZ. Effect of Gutai decoction on the abortion rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. Chin J Integr Med. 2006;12(3): 189-93.

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Morning Sickness

Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial. Birth. 2002;29(1): 1-9.

Carlsson CP, Axemo P, Bodin A, Carstensen H, Ehrenroth B, Madegård-Lind I, Navander C. Manual acupuncture reduces hyperemesis gravidarum: A placebo-controlled, randomized, single-blind, crossover study. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2000;20(4): 273-79.

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Optimum Health & Wellbeing Throughout Pregnancy

Post Natal Recovery


Sniezek DP Siddiqui IJ. Acupuncture for treating anxiety and depression in women: a clinical systematic review. Med Acupunct. 2013;25(3): 164-72.

Manber R, Schnyer RN, Lyell D, Chambers AS, Caughey AB, Druzin MC, Celio C, Gress JL, Huang MI, Kalista T, Martin-Okada R, Allen J. Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial. Obstet & Gynecol. 2010;115(3): 511-20.

Guerreiro da Silva JB. Acupuncture for mild to moderate emotional complaints in pregnancy- a prospective, quasi-randomised, controlled study. Acupunct Med. 2007;25(3): 65-71.

Manber R, Schnyer RN, Allen J, Rush AJ, Blasey CM. Acupuncture: A promising treatment for depression during pregnancy. J Affect Disord. 2004;83(1): 89-95.


Smith CA, Cochrane S. Does acupuncture have a place as an adjunct treatment during pregnancy? A review of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews. Birth. 2009;36(3): 246-53.

Ee C, Manheimer E Pirotta M White A. Acupuncture for pelvic and back pain in pregnancy: A systematic review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;198(3): 254-59.

Kvorning N, Holmberg C, Grennert L, Aberg A, Akeson J. Acupuncture relieves pelvic and low-back pain in late pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004;83(3): 246-50.

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3rd Trimester

Vas J, Aranda-Regules JM, Modesto M, Ramos-Monserrat M, Baron M, Aguilar I, Benitez-Parejo N, Ramirez-Carmona C, Rivas-Ruiz F. Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: A multicentre randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2013;31(1): 31-38.

Vas J, Aranda JM, Nishishinya B, Mendez C, Martin MA, Pons J, Liu JP, Wang CY, Perea-Milla E. Correction of nonvertex presentation with moxibustion: A systematic review and meta analysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;201: 241-59.

Van den Berg I, Bosch JL, Jacobs B, Bouman I, Duvekot JJ, Hunink MG. Effectiveness of acupuncture-type interventions versus expectant management to correct breech presentation: A systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2008;16(2): 92-100.

Neri I, De Pace, VivianaDe Pace V, Venturini, PaoloVenturini P, Facchinetti, Fabio Facchinetti F. Effects of three different stimulations (acupuncture, moxibustion, acupuncture plus moxibustion) of BL.67 acupoint at small toe on fetal behavior of breech presentation. Amer J Chin Med. 2007;35(1): 27-33.

Habek D, Cerkez Habek J, Jagust M. Acupuncture conversion of fetal breech presentation. Fetal Diagn Ther. 2003;18(6): 418-21.

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Prenatal & Labour Support


Betts D, Lennox S. Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: an observational study of its use in midwifery practice. Med Acup. 2006;17(3): 16-19.

Labour Support

Gribel G, Coca-Velarde LG, Moreira Sa RA. Electroacupuncture for cervical ripening prior to labor induction: A randomized clinical trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet 2011;283: 1233-38.

Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labor at term: A randomized controlled trial. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2001;113(23-24): 942-46.

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Postnatal Recovery

Postnatal Depression (Please also refer to articles under Mental/Emotional Aspects of Pregnancy)

Chung KF, Yeung WF, Zhang ZJ, Yung KP, Man SC, Lee CP, Lam SK, Leung TW, Leung KY, Ziea ET, Taam Wong V. Randomized non-invasive sham-controlled pilot trial of electroacupuncture for postpartum depression. J Affect Disord. 2012;142(1-3): 115-21.

Breastfeeding/Lactation Support

Neri I, Allais G, Vaccaro V, Minniti S, Airola G, Schiapparelli P, Benedetto C, Facchinetti F. Acupuncture treatment as breastfeeding support: Preliminary data. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(2): 133-37.

Wei L, Wang H, Han Y, Li C. Clinical observation on the effects of electroacupuncture at Shaoze (SI 1) in 46 cases of postpartum insufficient lactation. J Tradit Chin Med. 2008;28(3): 168-72.

Caesarean Section Pain

Xu J, MacKenzie IZ. The current use of acupuncture during pregnancy and childbirth. Curren Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2012;24(2): 65-71.

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Gynaecological Conditions

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Zheng YH, Wang XH, Lai MH, Yao H, Liu H, Ma HX. Effectiveness of abdominal acupuncture for patients with obesity-type polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complem Med. 2013;19(9): 740-45.

Johansson J, Redman L, Veldhuis PP, Sazonova A, Labrie F, Holm G, Johannsson G, Stener-Victorin E. Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013;304(9): 934-43.

Jedel E, Labrie F, Odén A, Holm G, Nilsson L, Janson PO, Lind AK, Ohlsson C, Stener-Victorin E. Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011;300(1): 37-45.

Lim C, Wong WU. Current evidence of acupuncture on polycystic ovarian syndrome. Gynecol Endocr. 2010;26(6): 473-78.

Stener-Victorin E, Jedel E, Mannerås L. Acupuncture in polycystic ovary syndrome: Current experimental and clinical evidence. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008:20(3); 290-98.

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Painful Period (Dysmenorrhoea) / Endometriosis

Smith CA, Zhu X, He L, Song J. Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Data Syst Rev. 2011.

Cho SH, Hwang EW. Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea: A systematic review. Brit J Gynecol. 2010;117(5): 509-21.

Rubi-Klein K , Kucera-Sliutz E, Nissel H, Bijak M, Stockenhuber D, Fink M, Wolkenstein E. Is acupuncture in addition to conventional medicine effective as pain treatment for endometriosis?: A randomised controlled cross-over trial. Euro J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010;153(1): 90-93.

Yu YP, Ma LX, Ma YX, Ma YX, Liu YQ, Liu CZ, Xie JP, Gao SZ, Zhu J. Immediate effect of acupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP6) and Xuanzhong (GB39) on uterine arterial blood flow in primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(10): 1073-78.

Witt CM, Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Roll S, Jena S, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: A randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;198: 166e1-8.

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