ART is the collective term for fertility treatments that include IVF, ICSI and IUI. While acupuncture can help couples conceive naturally it is also a valuable support for people who are undergoing a program of assisted conception. Studies conducted in China and Germany show that having acupuncture alongside an ART program can significantly increase the chance of a pregnancy.
Acupuncture can benefit the ART cycle in the following ways:
Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer
Two treatments are given, one pre transfer and another post transfer. These treatments are based on protocols used in clinical trials showing up to 65% increase in pregnancy rates.
Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF
These treatments help increase blood supply to the uterus and ovaries. They also help regulate hormones, which are important to follicle development and implantation.
Acupuncture at any phase of the IVF cycle
Acupuncture can be used to manage some of the side effects that may be experienced during a cycle. Acupuncture can reduce fatigue, moodiness, abdominal swelling and discomfort and other side effects reported by women during their IVF cycles. In addition women report greater relaxation and control of anxiety during the process.
Acupuncture after egg collection
It is recommended that IVF patients have an acupuncture treatment after egg collection
to reduce any local tissue trauma or bleeding, and help prepare a calm environment for the arrival of embryo.
Acupuncture for frozen embryo transfer, with or without medication
These treatments are similar to the acupuncture given on the day of transfer. Two sessions, one pre and one post transfer. These treatments are designed to increase blood flow to the uterus, improve implantation and thus pregnancy rates.
Acupuncture during the first few weeks of pregnancy
Acupuncture has been demonstrated to have significant immune–modulating effects. This may be important in reducing the risk of rejection by the mother’s immune system in the early days of pregnancy as the embryo implants and the pregnancy is established. Treatments are usually given weekly or fortnightly during the first trimester. Clinical trials show that regular monitoring and reassurance reduces miscarriage rates.
Other Assisted Fertility Cycles
ART is the collective term for fertility treatments that include IVF, ICSI and IUI. While acupuncture can help couples conceive naturally it is also a valuable support for people who are undergoing a program of assisted conception. Studies in China and Germany show that having acupuncture alongside an ART program doubles the chance of a pregnancy.
How does Acupuncture work from a Chinese Medicine perspective?
Acupuncture corrects imbalances of Qi and blood, relieves stagnation and promotes harmony between the physical and emotional aspects of the body; regulating the reproductive system and promoting optimum function.
How does Acupuncture work in Western Medicine?
The exact mechanism of Acupuncture is still unknown to Western Medicine. Extensive research in the areas of fertility as well as many other areas of Chinese Medicine has proven its effect. Scientists think that Acupuncture’s effect on blood flow to the uterus and ovaries increases implantation sites for the embryo. Other physiological effects such as endorphin release help to regulate and promote optimum function in other organ systems.
Stress, anxiety and conception
Trying to fall pregnant can be a stressful time – especially if things are taking a little longer than expected. Acupuncture has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety, increase blood flow to the organs and calm the mind. We feel at Acupuncture East that stress management has a key role to play in fertility, conception and early pregnancy management.