Acupuncture and IVF

By Wade James

 

There is an increasing body of evidence showing the positive effects of using acupuncture during IVF treatment. Some IVF clinics will refer women directly to an acupuncturist while others either discourage patients from having acupuncture or leave it up to the individual to find their own practitioner.

Success rates for IVF treatment on its own vary from a low 2% for older women to 25-35% for women with good quality eggs. Hence the interest in acupuncture to help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Women having acupuncture with their IVF treatment can increase their chances of becoming pregnant by 65% and there is a 95% increase in the number of live births.

The physical, mental and emotional strain of IVF treatment along with the typical cost of around $5000 per try are further motivations for patients to try to improve their chances by including acupuncture as part of their treatment.

From 1 to 3 months acupuncture treatment can be given prior to IVF to help regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare for a successful IVF program. Our clinical experience has shown that some women will fall pregnant in this time as the changes required to their menstrual or ovulation irregularity may be minimal.

There are a number of stages during IVF treatment when acupuncture may be appropriate.

Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF can increase blood supply to the ovaries and uterus and can lead to a significant increase in pregnancy rates.

Acupuncture after egg collection can help with the after effects of the operation. The calming effects of acupuncture also help the woman prepare for embryo transfer.

A number of clinical trials have shown up to 65% increase in pregnancy rates if acupuncture is given before and/or after transfer of the embryo. Acupuncture clinics often make appointments open and flexible to allow for changes to the transfer times.

Acupuncture for women having a frozen embryo transfer can also increase pregnancy rates.

With up to 50% of infertility due to problems with the male partners sperm, it is also appropriate to consider acupuncture treatments for the male to improve sperm quality. Studies have shown acupuncture can substantially improve sperm morphology, motility and quantity.

IVF treatment can be a stressful time with women experiencing anxiety, moodiness and sleep disturbance. Acupuncture can help with relaxation and enhancement of general well-being.

Up to 3% of Australian babies are now the result of IVF, and as IVF has increased, acupuncture treatments with IVF have also become very popular, due to the research showing its value in improving success rates.

 

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.