Acupuncture is an ideal treatment support for Western medial fertility treatments known as ART (assisted reproductive technology). Going through fertility treatments can be an extremely stressful experience. Acupuncture has a proven track record for reducing stress, and stress hormones in the body. Many Doctors of reproductive medicine approve of supporting patients undergoing fertility treatments with acupuncture to reduce the affects that stress can cause on the hormones, and on developing follicles. At the same time, acupuncture has a normalizing and balancing affect on the body. Furthermore, there are no drugs on acupuncture needles that can cause interfere with the drug protocols.
Some of the key benefits of acupuncture during IVF and IUI cycles are
- Stress reduction. Calming of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Improved blood flow to ovaries and uterus.
- Improve pregnancy rates when combining IVF with acupuncture.
- Improved egg quality when starting acupuncture in advance of the IVF.
- Early pregnancy support to reduce miscarriage rates.
- Reduced side effects from IVF medications.
- Improvement of the uterine lining.
As seen above, stress can play a detrimental effect on fertility. And, it can also be a detriment to having a successful IVF cycle. Stress can reduce blood flow to certain parts of the body. Since the ovaries are not essential to fight or flight, reduced blood flow can mean the ovaries are not nourished with enough blood and nutrients, reducing egg quality.
Many patients considering IVF are approaching their 40’s and will often have egg quality issues. It is recommended that a patient start acupuncture 3 months prior to beginning stimulation drugs for an IVF cycle, to best enhance egg quality. For further reading about acupuncture and IVF treatments please see this article.
Acupuncture is also commonly giving during the time of the embryo transfer to improve implantation rates according to a well known German study. This is done by giving two different treatments just before and after the transfer. This is a special out-call treatment done in the IVF doctor’s office on the day of the transfer. Please contact our office about rates, and availability for an IVF outcall procedure.
With IVF, the stress doesn’t stop with a positive pregnancy test. The following weeks can be very stressful with a succession of tests, and ultrasounds. This is why it is recommended to continue weekly acupuncture support up to the end of the first trimester (week 12). During this time, we will not only treat stress, but also to prevent miscarriage, calm morning sickness, treat insomnia, and other issues that may come up.