How can acupuncture support the IVF process?
- Relaxation and improved sleep
- Maximising egg quality and improving blood flow to the uterus
- Improving overall health and aiding the digestive system to utilise nutrients
- Alleviating side effects of the IVF drugs i.e headaches, bloating, emotional disturbances
Read what the Harley street fertility clinic has to say about using acupuncture alongside IVF
There’s some good research on having acupuncture during IVF which suggest that the success rate is increased from 30% up to 50-60%. Research article: Acupuncture and IVF
When to have acupuncture
Egg quality is determined 90 days prior to ‘ovulation’ as too is sperm quality. It is a good idea therefore to begin preparing for IVF 3-4 months prior to starting your drug protocol. In simple terms, couples should aim to lead a healthy lifestyle to ensure they are in the best health possible. I do not advocate dramatic changes or extreme diets just clean healthy living. I give practical advice on how to ‘clean up your diet’ and reduce exposure to household chemicals etc that can disrupt hormonal balance. A good quality fertility supplement may be useful. I recommend Viridian pro-conception supplement for women and Fertility supplement for men which is available from Natural health and beauty in Trinity st, Colchester.
Usually beginning on day 21 on the cycle, the down regulation drugs are designed to ‘quieten’ the ovaries. It can affect patients differently, some may feel fine and others may experience varying degrees of PMT like symptoms. I like to organise a session around the time of the bleed to ensure a complete expulsion of the endometrium which will in turn ensure the lining has a better chance of rebuilding smoothly. If you’re someone who experiences painful and/or clotty bleeds, then treatment in the preparatory phase is useful to rectify this.
Once you start stimulation, acupuncture and possibly some moxa treatment can encourage good blood flow to the ovaries and uterus improving the lining and follicular development. Sometimes points are added that help relieve the fluid build up that often occurs. If patients are particularly nervous about egg collection we can schedule an appointment the evening before but otherwise it’s worth having a session after egg collection to reduce any inflammation, relieve fluid etc. Pre and post embryo transfer acupuncture sessions have been shown to improve implantation and ultimately live birth rates.
What I would add here, from experience, is that there’s an element of having to ‘go with the flow’ when it comes to IVF. Schedules don’t always run to plan so there’s an element of taking it as it comes!
If you would like to know more or book some acupuncture treatment alongside your IVF treatment Click to contact