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The use of acupuncture for infertility problems is becoming more commonplace as the supposed wonders of IVF treatment continue to disappoint.

Not so long ago IVF was seen as the answer to the difficulties that many couples were experiencing in conceiving a child. But a number of recent reports, the latest being the February 2009 report from Dr Nargund, head of reproductive medicine at St George's Hospital in Tooting, South London, UK, have thrown doubt on the ability of IVF treatment to provide reliable help to childless couples.

According to Dr Nargund, "having IVF treatment doesn't make a lot of difference to the chances of having a child", and can even cause harm to mother or child, or both. There have been cases of cerebral palsy and premature birth, where many babies don't survive their first week. The longevity and quality of life of babies that do survive have also been called into question.

Acupuncture, on the other hand, has no known drawbacks or side-effects. It has been practised with great success for thousands of years in China and the far east, and more recently in the rest of the world. Now it is being turned to not just for regular ailments and illnesses, but as a proven aid to conception for couples experiencing infertility problems.

Why should this be? It's more than just the failure of IVF treatments to deliver what they've promised. It's the realisation that problems of human fertility require more than a "quick fix", that they are probably symptomatic of a deeper malaise within the individuals concerned, and that it is this that requires attention.

The key point is that, typically, couples who cannot conceive a child are healthy in other respects, so there is no obvious "cure" that can be directed at their problem, as is the case with nearly every specific disease. This is where an examination of the lifestyle of the couple is so important. Modern life, especially for young and not-so-young couples seeking to start a family, is often full of stress.

Stress affects the body in various ways, according to the individual's strengths and weaknesses. It causes tension and can lead to a lowering of resistance to disease and illness. Other factors typically play a part, such as personal hygiene and exposure to an unhealthy environment, but the main enemies are stress and tension.

Acupuncture recognises this, and teaches that most diseases and complaints arise when the flow of energy throughout the body is blocked. The blockage may be caused by an imbalance between the positive and negative energies, which is a good way of describing tension - the involuntary tensing of muscles in certain parts of the body.

This in turn restricts the flow of blood to the vital organs, including in some cases the reproductive organs. This can lead to low hormone levels, a feeling of tiredness and, worst of all, low quality eggs or sperm.

Acupuncture works to remove the blockages and free the flow of energy to the vital organs. Patients invariably feel relaxed and rejuvenated after just a few sessions at the hands of a qualified acupuncturist. Tests have shown that acupuncture treatment increases fertility. Whether you are undergoing IVF treatment or are trying to conceive naturally, your chances are considerably improved through acupuncture.

Though not necessarily a primary fertility treatment in itself, acupuncture has to be credited with being at the very least a powerful supplementary treatment that helps prepare the body and its reproductive organs to be in peak condition to pro-create.

Philip Gegan is a former UK lawyer who has come across some dark secrets relating to IVF and the treatment of childless couples which are disturbing yet at the same time offer fresh hope to those trying to conceive a child. He is helping to spread the word at http://www.fertilitywithoutivf.com.