Acupuncture & IVF

acupuncturebackMuch of the attention acupuncture for infertility has received is due to its effect in IVF success rates. This is probably the area that has been studied most thoroughly with relation to fertility acupuncture. Studies have shown an increase in success rate from 10-65%. Because IVF is such an expensive and time-consuming process it makes sense to do whatever one can to increase the chance of success, which explains the rise in popularity of acupuncture in combination with IVF. Acupuncture treatment is relatively inexpensive when compared to IVF and offers many benefits:

Alleviation of side-effects of hormonal stimulation, improving the patient’s overall well-being
Improved blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, resulting in better ovarian response (e.g. more follicles) and a receptive endometrium
Stress reduction, in what is inherently a stressful process
Reduction of uterine contractions, enhancing the chance of implantation

 

Acupuncture Treatment with IVF Protocol

The best time to seek acupuncture treatment prior to an IVF cycle is three months prior. Three months allows adequate time to balance hormones and achieve optimal overall health prior to IVF. The stimulating drugs that are given in IVF are very good at getting the body to produce many eggs (10-20 as opposed to 1 in an average menstrual cycle). The ability of reproductive technology to achieve this is nothing short of amazing, but it does nothing to support the health of these eggs. With acupuncture treatment prior to IVF, you can optimize your reproductive health before this enormous stress is incurred. Traditional Chinese medicine has been treating infertility for thousands of years, and there are proven acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas to support fertility.

The typical protocol is acupuncture treatment 1x a week prior to IVF, with the administration of Chinese herbs. Once the injections have begun, the herbs are typically stopped, and acupuncture treatment is administered 2x a week during the stimulation phase. Acupuncture is also given on the day of the embryo transfer and 1x week until the results of the cycle are known.

Though three months of preparatory treatment is ideal, acupuncture will help your chances of success at any point during or prior to an IVF cycle. Do not hesitate to call even if you have already begun your cycle.

Treatment Tailored to You

Each treatment plan is devised based on a thorough history, exam and diagnosis. There are many different patterns of imbalance related to infertility, and this is where Chinese medicine excels. We will investigate all aspects of your health history, diet, and lifestyle which may be affecting your ability to conceive.

IVF Success Story

“I came to Allison after one failed IVF cycle. I hadn’t really prepared for the IVF treatment, it was recommended to me due to my age, FSH level (39 years old, FSH 10.5) and a male factor as well. I ended up not responding well to the drugs, but a couple of medium quality embryos were transferred. I was also told I would never produce enough quality embryos to be able to freeze any. When it was unsuccessful I decided I needed to change my approach and get in the best possible shape for acupuncture. As a Southern girl, I had never given much thought to diet, and I had a very stressful job.

I went to see Allison, and followed the treatment protocol for three months. I incorporated stress-relieving activities like yoga, and improved my diet tremendously. I had weekly acupuncture and took Chinese herbs. I noticed an improvement in my energy and digestion almost immediately. My menstrual cycles also improved. I decided I was ready to try IVF again. The results were dramatically different. I produced twice as many follicles and had four of the highest grade, which absolutely shocked my reproductive endocrinologist. We were also able to freeze several embryos. After a couple of weeks I found out I was pregnant! I now have a healthy 6 month old baby boy, and I am so thankful to Allison for her support and treatment. Through it all she was really nice and supportive, and could explain in detail what to expect of the IVF cycle (which my reproductive endocrinologist did not always have the time for). I would recommend her highly to anyone seeking help with infertility issues.”

Renee B.