Acupuncture Can Help During IVF
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used as a successful adjunct to IVF, GIFT, IUI, ICSI, ART procedures to increase pregnancy outcomes. The success rates for in-vitro or other medically assisted fertility treatments remain disheartening, yet when used in conjunction with Chinese Medicine increases the likelihood of conception.
There are different approaches to acupuncture support of IVF and other assisted reproductive proceedures.
A basic approach – PRE AND POST EMBRYO ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
Acupuncture treatment should occur within 24hrs before and after embryo transfer.
For the treatment prior to transfer, acupuncture is thought to increase the arterial blood flow to the uterus to nourish and support the endometrium, move Qi (energy flow) and blood, as well as create physical and mental relaxation for the woman prior to the transfer.
For the treatment after transfer, acupuncture treatment is used to create a calm environment in the uterus and minimise any discomfort or cramping from the transfer procedure. Acupuncture points are selected that will support healthy implantation of the embryo and also improve the health of the blood flow and tissue of endometrium to support a pregnancy.
A meta-analysis of seven clinical trials in which acupuncture was used to support embryo transfer during IVF has concluded that it improves rates of pregnancy and live birth. Dutch and American researchers analysed results from seven clinical trials (selected as eligible from a total of 108), all published since 2002 and carried out in four Western countries. They included data on 1366 women and compared acupuncture given within one day of embryo transfer, with sham acupuncture, or no additional treatment. All except one used a similar acupuncture protocol (based on Paulus et al). The analysis showed that combining real acupuncture with embryo transfer was associated with signifcant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy rate. Women who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer procedure and 91% more likely to have a live birth.
(Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Mar 8;336(7643):545-9.)
Beyond the basic appoach – CONTINUAL ACUPUNCTURE AFTER EMBYRO TRANSFER
We recommend Acupuncture treatment 4 days after transfer to further assist implantation, then weekly until 12 weeks gestation. By continuing to stimulate blood flow to the blastocyst, acupuncture helps to maintain the health and strength of the blastocyst-corpus-luteum relationship, thereby maintaining the proper level of progesterone. Then, after 10 weeks pregnancy, your placenta takes over the role of secreting progesterone. Acupuncture stimulates blood flow to the placenta helping it to do its job of protecting and nourishing your growing baby. One major reason for miscarriage is in appropriated blood flow to the placenta.
OUR PREFERRED HOLISTIC APPROACH – THE FERTILE LIFE METHOD
The Fertile Life Method, the holistic approach of our Fertility Program is our preference as it is more aligned with the holistic principles of TCM. This comprehensive approach helps to prepare your body for IVF by addressing your whole health and the complex issues that may be affecting your fertility. Our specialist natural fertility practitioners assist you at each stage during your IVF cycle to maximise hormone balancing and cycle regulation, egg development and the healthy building of the endometrial lining. Regular acupuncture also helps to reduce the effects of stress, as well as the side effects of any drug medications that you might be taking during your IVF cycle. Idealy starting 3 months proir to IVF cycle