Fertility Acupuncture and IVF
Acupuncture is a powerful adjunctive therapy that you can add to your IVF cycle and studies show that it does definitely Increase success rates.
How can you increase your chances of IVF success? Acupuncture helps with IVF because is helps support the body in ways that are important during an IVF cycle. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the production of stress hormones that can interfere with the development of follicles. Secondly, acupuncture helps improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which can help with follicle development, as well as a healthy uterine lining.
The calming effects of acupuncture should not be discounted. If the brain and the emotions are calm during a cycle, this allows for better hormonal signalling, which is paramount for a successful IVF cycle. The brain and the ovaries have a spiraling communication loop and if the pituitary gland and hypothalamus are not distracted with stress hormones, they can focus on their communication with the ovaries.
When should you do acupuncture during your IVF cycle?
The best practice is to start getting regular acupuncture treatments before the IVF cycle begins. IVF is a little like a marathon with the down regulation and the stimulatory drugs. Remember you’re doing the work of up to 30 cycles in just one IVF cycle! You want to prepare your body beforehand if at all possible.
Ideally, we like to help our patients prepare for 1-3 months before their IVF cycle. We recommend weekly treatments during this preparatory period.
My focus in on preconception care and I believe that the more nourished and balanced your body is with a healthy diet, key lifestyle practices and targeted nutritional supplementation, the better your chances are to get pregnant with your first IVF cycle.
Fertility, IVF and Acupuncture
What does your doctor think of adding acupuncture to the mix?
Many reproductive endocrinologists are paying attention to the statistics and referring their patients to acupuncturists these days. More and more doctors are opening up to the wonders of acupuncture.
Should you focus on IVF and acupuncture timing?
Most of the studies that have come out on the effects of acupuncture on IVF success rates have followed a set protocol. This protocol has involved an acupuncture treatment before retrieval and then again after transfer. The most famous study was done by Paulus and in this study they found that 42.5% of the acupuncture group got pregnant, where as only 23.6% of the non-acupuncture group got pregnant.
We take a kind of logical approach to the timing question. If acupuncture is helpful in the moment; in the middle of the cycle. Shouldn’t it be helpful to really prepare the body for the IVF cycle and therefore boost our chances of success? Well, in our clinic, we have definitely found this to be the case.
Many of our patients first come to us because they are trying naturally to get pregnant. We work with women anywhere from a few months to a year to prepare their bodies for pregnancy. Sometimes when we’re not successful naturally, women move on to Clomid, medicated IUIs or IVF. Keep in mind that many of these patients worked with us for up to a year or more nurturing and nourishing their bodies.
We have our best IVF success with these patients. They are usually the healthiest that they have been in years. The #1 side effect of our holistic fertility program is a palpable feeling of wellbeing. Our patients just feel good. That’s what they tell us. So, when they do move on to IVF, they often get pregnant on their first cycle, as long as there weren’t other major issues contributing to poor egg quality, uterine function or subpar sperm quality.
So what’s the secret to acupuncture and IVF success?
I believe the true secret to acupuncture and IVF success lies in preparation. It may not be a quick fix, but with 17 years of experience as an acupuncturist, I’ve found that small incremental steps are what yield success. The body can not be transformed overnight. It just doesn’t work that way.
If we’ve reached the point, where we need some assistance from medication to produce viable follicles, it stands to reason that our bodies didn’t reach this point overnight. Therefore, it might take a little preparation to get the body ready for a successful IVF cycle. I encourage you to plan ahead and make an appointment with us before you start your IVF cycle. Even a few weeks is better than no preparation at all.
Once you come to Acupuncture Works you will immediately feel like you’ve entered a space of understanding. We know you’ve been through a lot and you’re giving it your all to get pregnant. I take my role as your acupuncturist very seriously and am on board with you 100%. I am fully invested in your well being and will do everything in my power to increase your potential for IVF success.
If you have any questions at all, please call me on 0208 368 1130 or send me an email. We look forward to joining your team and supporting you through your next IVF cycle.