IVF SUPPORT

Clinical studies support the use of acupuncture for women undergoing IVF – a 50% increase in success rate with acupuncture vs. without.   

You can commence treatment at any point in your IVF cycle but for optimum results it is recommended  to start your treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs at least 3-4 months prior, to prepare for IVF.  My treatment plan is a holistic and integrative IVF support programme.

Chinese medicine assists the IVF process by:

Stabilising the hormones of the menstrual cycle

Improving ovarian and uterine blood flow

Promoting ovulation and improving egg quality

Improving quality and thickness of  the endometrium

Supporting the luteal phase (progesterone)

Facilitating embryo implantation and preventing miscarriage

Improving sperm count, motility and morphology

Decreasing stress levels

A systematic review published in 2011 concluded that Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4-month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF.

(Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility:  A systematic review.  Karen Reid, Keren Stuart).

During your cycle there are certain times when acupuncture has been shown to be useful:

TREATMENT PROTOCOLS FOR IVF

1)      Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF

1-2 treatments per week for 4 weeks plus treatment at time of transfer.

To improve follicle development, reduce side effects of the medications and improve the uterine lining.

Evidence that 8 acupuncture treatments increased blood flow to the uterus and increased pregnancy rates (Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture.  Stener-Victorin E, et al Human Reproduction 1996; 11:1314-1317.

Acupuncture & IVF Poor Responders:  A Cure?  Magarelli P, Cridennda D, Fertility & Sterility 2004; 81(Supplement 3):S20.

2)     Acupuncture after egg collection 

1 treatment after the procedure or within the following two days

It is recommended that IVF patients have acupuncture treatment after egg collection, to reduce any local tissue trauma, bleeding or cramping, to reduce stress and to help prepare the environment for the arrival of an embryo.

 

3)     Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (including frozen embryo transfer)

Before and after transfer – 2 treatments

Circulates blood to the uterus and calms the mind – before transfer.  Prevents uterine cramping, increased implantation success, reduces the change of miscarriage and calms anxiety – after transfer.

This treatment is based on protocols used in clinical trials which showed  an increase in pregnancy rates for specific groups of women with expected pregnancy rates of 30% or less.

Studies have shown that acupuncture of the day of transfer (before and after) can increase the probability of a positive pregnancy test.

Acupuncture & Embryo Transfer Studies  (Image of Journal – Fertility and Sterility)

Paulus W et al, Fertil Steril 2002 Vol 77,pp721-724

Smith C et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vl 85, pp1352-1358

Westergaard L et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pp1341-1346

Udoff L C et al, Fertil Steril 2007, Vol 86, ppS145

Teshima D R K et al, Fertil Steril 2007, Vol 88, ppS330

Benson M R et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 86, ppS135

 

4)     Acupuncture weekly after transfer

Reduces risk of miscarriage, reduces stress and anxiety and supports your developing embryo.

 

5)     Acupuncture at any phase of the IVF cycle

1-2 Treatments per week as needed

Acupuncture can be used to manage side-effects of the treatment and to reduce anxiety.

Some side-effects of treatment may include fatigue, mood swings, abdominal swelling and discomfort.

At the clinic I aim to also nurture the emotional aspects, which are equally as important during the IVF process.