Acupuncture for IVF & ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies)
Specialist Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners can instil confidence in IVF patients by using protocols that are appropriately integrated into their IVF program.
Acupuncture can support the various Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) including, IVF, IUI, ICSI, Induced Ovulation and Sperm motility and volume.
Clinical trials have shown that Acupuncture contributes not only to how a patient feels during their IVF cycle but may also contribute to their chance of success.
Acupuncture and IVF come from very different origins and work in very different ways, and at first may seem to be unlikely partners. However there are sound reasons to consider an integrated approach which may offer patients a greater chance of success.
Acupuncture can support couples using IVF in many ways.
- Some clinical trials undertaken over the past few years suggest acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer improves implantation rates (Cheong Y et al, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 4 Nov 08)
- Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF prepares the uterine lining and improves hormone levels and may also increase pregnancy rates (Magerelli P et al Fertil Steril 2009 in press)
- Acupuncture has been shown to reduce anxiety levels associated with infertility and IVF. (Domar A Fertil Steril March 1 2008. Epub)
- Acupuncture has been shown to improve sperm morphology and motility (Pei J et al Fertil Steril. 2005 Jul;84(1):141-7follo)
Clinical evidence suggests that:
- Acupuncture is effective in reducing IVF side effects.
- Acupuncture during the first few weeks of pregnancy is helpful for women who have had a history of infertility and/or miscarriage.
Nicola has devised a 6 step protocol to take you from the beginning of your journey to the day Baby arrives.
Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicines, Vitamins and supplements, and dietary advice are used to nourish and prime the body for conception and ultimately pregnancy. A happy healthy egg and happy healthy sperm make a happy healthy mother and baby.
Before EPU the focus is to optimize egg quality and quantity and to commence the preparation of the Endometrium for successful embryo implantation. After EPU some women experience pain and mild trauma of the ovaries and increased stress levels so the treatment aim is to minimize these symptoms and facilitate a quick recovery.
These treatments are to optimize the endometrium for embryo transfer and implantation, and to reduce stress and cortisol levels. Ideally these treatments commence 2 days prior to transfer and the final treatment 1 hour prior to transfer.
This treatment commences 1 hour after transfer and then ideally 2 per week to help cement implantation and prevent miscarriage until pregnancy is confirmed.
Once pregnant we then focus our attention on keeping the embryo intact and attached to the uterus. Acupuncture during pregnancy is also extremely useful for treating; Nausea/Vomiting (morning sickness, heartburn, miscarriage, fatigue & exhaustion, anxiety, depression, hypertension, pre-birth preparation to soften cervix, inductions, oedema/fluid retention, constipation, haemorrhoids, nasal congestions, sinusitis, back pain, sciatica, breech and posterior positioned babies, labour pain.
In addition to returning the body to a state of balance and optimal reproductive health, some of the postpartum conditions that acupuncture can treat are; postpartum depression and baby blues, decreased energy and vitality, hormonal imbalances, persistent bleeding, lactation problems, mastitis, abdominal pain and night sweats.