How Acupuncture Supports IVF
We Know Just How Stressful and Taxing IVF Can Be for an Individual or Couple.Between the expense, the hormones, and the timing of it all, it’s hard on your body and mind, and sometimes hard on your relationship too. We’re here to support you through all of that, and to help you find balance throughout the whole process. Research has supported the fact that acupuncture can increase success rates of IVF – which is why many reproductive endocrinologists recommend acupuncture alongside IVF cycles. The value of acupuncture is many-fold during the IVF process:
- Improves circulation to the ovaries and uterus
- Helps with egg and sperm quality and development
- Supports healthy uterine lining
- Addresses side effects of the medications
- Prevents miscarriage
- Alleviates stress and anxiety, which are such a common part of an IVF cycle
Preparing for an IVF Cycle
While many of our IVF patients come in just before their stims cycle, we do recommend three months of acupuncture prior to starting IVF whenever possible. This gives us time to help your body find balance, address any underlying deficiencies, identify any lifestyle issues that might be interfering with conception, and optimize circulation to the reproductive organs.
This period of treatment generally includes weekly acupuncture care, herbal medicine, supplements, nutritional recommendations, and other lifestyle changes.
Our Care Is Always Tailored to the Needs of the Specific Patient
And how did we come up with the “three month” number?
It takes about three months (give or take) from when your body starts the process of developing the egg / sperm to when that egg / sperm is released for IVF. So when we have three months to get things into balance, we tend to see better response to IVF treatment, and better outcomes.
Leading Up to Egg Retrieval
Once IVF medication has started, we recommend treatments twice a week prior to egg retrieval, to help with egg development, medication side effects, and uterine lining (when planning a fresh embryo transfer).
There has been an abundance of research into acupuncture protocols for supporting the IVF process. We use an evidence-based approach to our care during this time, although, as always, we also treat your individual needs.
Leading Up to Embryo Transfer
For those patients doing a fresh embryo transfer, treatment between retrieval and transfer can be helpful to help your body reduce cramping and bloating after the retrieval procedure, relax the cervix, and prepare your uterine lining for implantation.
For those patients doing frozen embryo transfer, we love to use the period of time between retrieval and transfer to help you prepare for implantation with weekly acupuncture treatment. The treatment during this time will focus on healing post-retrieval, optimizing your uterine lining, and balancing your body after the powerful stims!
Day of (Or Soon Before) Embryo Transfer
A plethora of research has been dedicated to the value of acupuncture treatment the day of the embryo transfer. There are specific protocols that we perform for the day of (or day before) embryo transfer.
The important thing to remember is that, while so much research is focused on this day-of-transfer care, most of the research is conducted in the case of acupuncture being provided at the same location as transfer. It can be stressful to feel the scheduling pinch of rushing from the acupuncturist office to the fertility clinic, or rushing back to us right after – and we most certainly don’t want you to be feeling stressed right before and after your transfer! That’s why we focus on providing pre- and post-transfer treatments within 24-48 hours of transfer.
Acupuncture treatment at this time helps with reducing stress, improving uterine circulation, preventing uterine contractions, and optimizing for implantation.
Weeks After Embryo Transfer
We recommend weekly treatment after transfer to help support implantation, embryo development, and early placental formation, as well as support for first trimester pregnancy symptoms (which can be challenging)! The beginning of pregnancy lays the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby – and the value of this first trimester care can’t be overstated.
Most of our IVF patients also go on to work with us throughout their pregnancy, and into postpartum! Your goal isn’t just conception, it’s a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Click here to read more about our pregnancy and postpartum care.