Going through ART cycles can be incredibly stressful and anxiety provoking. Almost all women undergoing IVF report some level of anxiety. Acupuncture has not only been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, but has also demonstrated positive impacts on reproductive health.
Many fertility doctors are becoming aware of the benefits their patients experience with the addition of acupuncture to their ART cycles. Some clinics have even made acupuncturists available onsite. Receiving acupuncture treatments during an IVF (including during oocyte hyperstimulation phase, before retrieval, and before and after embryo transfer) has shown improved pregnancy rates in several different studies.
Here is an example of some of those studies:
Day Of Embryo Transfer
We offer pre and post embryo transfer treatments. Increased uterine contractions at the time of embryo transfer have been associated with poor implantation outcome. A 2001 German study resulted in a greater pregnancy rate in patients who had a specific acupuncture treatment both immediately prior to and after embryo transfer. In this study, 42.5% of the acupuncture group experienced clinical pregnancy, whereas just 26.3% of the control group (those who did not receive acupuncture), had a positive outcome. The acupuncture treatments relax the uterus, stabilize the endocrine system and calm the patient. These combined effects decrease the chance of uterine contractions and enhance a positive implantation and pregnancy. Fertility and Sterility, Vol.77, No. 4, April 2002
Acupuncture for Uterine Blood Flow Pre IVF Cycle
In a study conducted at the Fertility Centre Scandinavia in Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers sought to evaluate whether electro acupuncture (EA) can reduce impedance in the uterine arteries. In this study, women received EA eight times, twice a week for 4 weeks. The mean PI was significantly reduced to less than 2.6, both shortly after each of the eight EA treatments and 10-14 days after the completion of the series of treatments.
This study indicated that by utilizing this electro-acupuncture protocol, the chances of fertilization were enhanced. Electro-acupuncture can reduce a high Pulsitility Index, thereby increasing artery blood flow.
TIMING TREATMENTS WITH YOUR ART CYCLES:
In most cases, weekly acupuncture sessions are recommended. If you start using ART, speak with us about the ideal schedule to support you during your cycle. During an IVF the following schedule is typically most helpful:
- weekly acupuncture leading up to the start of your medications
- twice a week during the ovarian stimulation phase, timing one before the retrieval
- before and after embryo transfer
- a session one week after the transfer to support a potential pregnancy
During an IUI, weekly sessions are recommended with one timed around the day of the IUI. This schedule is a bit more flexible as the cycle is not as controlled.
Acupuncture Treatment for Infertility and Pre IVF Cycle
In addition to offering offsite acupuncture treatments to patients that are undergoing an IVF cycle, we also treat patients for fertility related disorders whether or not you are using medically assisted fertilization techniques.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and herbal therapy, treats the following:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Certain causes of miscarriage
- Decreased libido
- Poor lining
- Prior IVF Failure
- Low ovarian reserve
- Low sperm count, quality and motility
If you are struggling to conceive or have just started the process and are feeling anxious about it, you should consider adding acupuncture and Chinese medicine to your care. It can not only increase the odds of conceiving, but can also improve your quality of life by reducing stress and anxiety while you try to get pregnant.