Fertility / IVF Support

We have over 20 years experience in Fertility Acupuncture & IVF support.

Acupuncture is the insertion of ultra-thin, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points on the body which reside on channels or meridians; these are pathways in both the exterior and interior of the body. These points, when needled, can regulate the wayin which the body functions. Acupuncture helps by addressing problems that affect fertility such as an under-functioning thyroid (hypothyroidism) or over-functioning thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

What types of fertility patients typically get acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture is often combined with herbal remedies to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.

Can acupuncture be used to treat infertility?

Acupuncture, frequently combined with herbal medicine, has been used for centuries to treat some but not all causes of infertility. For example, acupuncture and herbs will not work to address tubal adhesions which can occur as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis. However, in this situation, an individual could still benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Additionally, acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.

When Should Acupuncture Treatment Begin?

Acupuncture is similar to physical therapy in that it is a process-oriented method of medical intervention. It is better to do more than less. Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before progressing to insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. This pacing of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect.

In a study by Stener-Victorin et al from the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fertility Centre, Scandinavia and University of Gothenburg, women are encouraged to receive acupuncture treatments pre and post embryo transfer. Clinical observations from the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medicine. However, conception occasionally occurs when acupuncture and herbal medicines areused without traditional medical interventions.

Acupuncture in IVF Support

The use of acupuncture in conjunction with IVF has been well researched, and it is now well accepted that acupuncture increases success rates with IVF treatment. Ideally patients will have a weekly visit with the acupuncturist on a weekly basis for a few months prior to the IVF transfer taking place. This lead up treatment assists with stress levels, provides the opportunity to familiarize with both the acupuncture treatment and the practitioner and allows the practitioner to correct any imbalances present. If you are about to begin your IVF cycle and haven’t left time for the lead up treatment, using acupuncture on the day of transfer only will still improve your chances of a positive pregnancy outcome.

Many research studies have found acupuncture to have a positive effect on IVF success rates. Clinical trials conducted in Germany (2002), Adelaide (2006) and Denmark (2006) have all demonstrated that using acupuncture in conjunction with IVF increased the pregnancy rate compared with women using IVF alone. A clinical trial conducted in Germany in 2006 used acupuncture during the luteal phase (days after ovulation) after IVF and showed a greater number of pregancies in the women using acupuncture compared to those who did not. A case series recorded in the UK (2006) also recorded a higher rate of pregnancy in women undergoing IVF who also used acupuncture, also noting that the acupuncture group were more relaxed which may have contributed to the success of the treatment. Researchers in Sweden summarized the current research into acupuncture and IVF and concluded that acupuncture has a positive outcome on pregnancy rates with no adverse effects. A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 concluded that acupuncture given to women undergoing IVF treatment improves the rates of both pregnancy and live birth.

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