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Would-Be Moms Turn to Acupuncture Fertility Treatments


Parents Say Technique Helped Them Conceive

BOSTON -- It's been know to alleviate migraines and backaches. But what about acupuncture as a remedy for infertility?

News Center 5's Liz Brunner said that though there is no scientific evidence to prove it, more and more couples believe acupuncture provided the magic ingredient that allowed them to become parents.

Twins Megan and Nicholas Herd joyfully arrived 18 months ago after their parents struggled through six years of infertility. In vitro fertilization treatments weren't working and the Herds began to consider adoption.

"I was on my last cycle of IVF when I decided to try acupuncture," Jackie Herd said.

She soon became pregnant. Jackie Herd said that she is certain the ancient Chinese treatment made her dream come true.

"I feel that it was able to relieve a lot of stress that was being stored in the body and it allowed the fertility drugs to be more effective, and I have the results," Jackie Herd said.

Jackie Herd's acupuncturist, Qiangde Nie, has a reputation for success with helping infertile couples achieve pregnancy. Nie said that about 80 percent of the women he sees for infertility become mothers.

"People coming in crying, 'Hey Dr. Nie, I want to quit. I want to adopt a baby,' but some people continue and have success," Nie said.

No definitive research has been done to prove acupuncture works for infertility. But acupuncturists say the treatment helps because it stimulates chi -- the life energy that moves through the body. Because the needles stimulate balance, the body's systems work better.

Even Western doctors don't rule out acupuncture's benefits.

"It's not harmful, (it's) very relaxing for some people. Certainly for ovulatory disorders that's where the best evidence is that it might be helpful and we'll just have to wait and see," Dr. Nancy McShane said.

Candice Bangert didn't wait. She sought out Nie after she gave up on fertility drugs. Doctors said she wasn't ovulating but after a month of acupuncture treatments she got pregnant. She's now expecting her second baby, without any fertility treatments.

"I'm a believer. I'm about to have my second child. I wasn't ovulating. I didn't think this was going to happen," Bangert said.

"I've been trying for two years. I decided I didn't want to go to medications so I tried acupuncture. In the first month and a half, I was pregnant," patient Bobbie Benson said.

Nie proudly shows his picture album full of children and the parents who praise him for making their parenthood possible. But he's quick to say that a combination of Eastern and Western medicine often works best.

"When people are getting old, I want them to have success soon, have a baby. So I say do anything Western ask you to do, I support (it). Each time people call, 'Dr. Nie I'm pregnant', that's a happy time for me," Nie said.