The Dao Does…Timing of Acupuncture in your IVF cycle ~
Acupuncture is often recommended for patients as an adjunct therapy during their IVF cycle for follicular development, and thickening of the endometrial lining, to reduce stress levels, support blood flow to the uterus, support implantation outcomes and increase clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates.
It is not commonly known that the dose of Acupuncture pre IVF cycle and during the cycle is also a key factor when it comes to the success of using Acupuncture to support a positive pregnancy and live birth. As we know for all medications, the dose of Acupuncture matters as well as the timing during the IVF cycle and frequency. When practicing evidence-based Acupuncture treatment it needs to be considered how dose delivery can be optimised during an IVF cycle.
It is commonly known that Acupuncture is recommended for pre and post-IVF transfer although when diving deeper from Professor Caroline Smith et al. in 2019, investigated in a systematic review and meta-analysis; Acupuncture is performed around the time of embryo transfer. The analysis showed there was a 50% increase in clinical pregnancy rate with over three treatments and that treatment the day after embryo transfer showed no benefit to clinical pregnancy rate. Interestingly, the analysis also showed that Acupuncture had a greater benefit for patients who previously had been a poor responder to IVF rather than patients in their first IVF cycle. The study also showed that a greater number of Acupuncture treatments increased clinical pregnancy rates and 12 sessions of Acupuncture had an improved outcome for live birth rates over IVF Embryo transfer alone and Embryo transfer with Acupuncture on the day of.
So, if you are currently preparing for an IVF cycle or undergoing treatment at the moment what can you take away from the current research in addition to what I see is beneficial for patients in the clinic:
IVF & Preconception Care
- Planning for 2-3 months of weekly Acupuncture treatment prior to beginning both stimulated and non – stimulated IVF cycles.
- In this period of treatment prior to beginning your cycle, the focus will also be preparing the body from a fertility perspective through Chinese dietary therapy, Yang Sheng lifestyle changes, and discussions around supplementation
Acupuncture treatment throughout your IVF cycle
- At The Dao Health, treatment is recommended weekly from day one of your IVF cycle ( during your menstrual bleed ) to support follicular development, thickening of the endometrial lining, and calming of the central nervous system.
- Post egg retrieval, treatment is recommended 48 – 72 hours post to reduce pain and bloating.
- Pre and Post egg transfer is ideal as close as possible to the transfer. We recommend transfer treatments within 24 hours of your transfer and strongly advise for these treatments be undertaken on the day of transfer for ideal outcomes. If your practitioner is unavailable this day The Dao practices a practitioner-shared care treatment model to ensure appointment availability.
- During the two-week wait, we recommend Acupuncture treatment weekly to support implantation and calm the central nervous system.
Smith CA, Armour M, Shewamene Z, Tan HY, Norman RJ, Johnson NP. Acupuncture performed around the time of embryo transfer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2019 Mar;38(3):364-379.
By Elizabeth Cullen