Acupuncture for IVF support
At each stage in your fertility and IVF journey it is important to feel that you are being supported and heard. IVF can be challenging at times to navigate, with injections, blood tests and plenty of unknowns. However, there are many ways that you can make each stage a smoother process. Your support team may include family and friends, an IVF specialist whom you trust and a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and Acupuncturist.
IVF Acupuncture is often recommended for patients as an adjunct therapy during their IVF cycle for follicular development, 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.
Acupuncture for fertility and IVF support ideally begins before your first stimulated IVF cycle although Acupuncture treatment can begin at any stage of your assisted reproduction journey.
Preconception support before beginning your IVF cycle
Acupuncture treatment for IVF support begins at least 2, ideally 3 months before beginning treatment to support preconception care and to prepare your body for the upcoming cycle by supporting your menstrual cycle and Ovulation and supporting blood flow to the uterus. This will include Chinese Dietary Therapy and lifestyle suggestions and include a supplementation review and if appropriate, Chinese Herbal Medicine prescription.
It is important to note that both your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and your IVF specialist are aware of any medication, supplements and Chinese Herbal Medicine that you may be taking leading up to and during your IVF cycle.
With your consent, we encourage shared care between your IVF specialist and our practitioners for optimal treatment outcomes.
Partner support for Heterosexual couples
In a heterosexual couple, we recommend that the partner attends a partner fertility consultation leading up to the IVF cycle if possible to discuss lifestyle advice, sperm analysis and possible supplementation and if appropriate, Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Scheduling your appointments throughout your IVF cycle
At The Dao Health, your practitioner will provide you with an Acupuncture treatment plan that will follow your IVF cycle for ideal treatment outcomes. This will include Acupuncture weekly beginning from your menstrual bleed and then within 24 hours before and after your embryo transfer. If your practitioner is unavailable this day The Dao practices a practitioner shared care treatment model to ensure appointment availability.
Ideal treatment for IVF support
Ideally, we recommend treatment weekly for twelve weeks before beginning your IVF cycle for Preconception care and to support optimal conditions before your IVF cycle. At a minimum, we recommend treatment weekly in your IVF cycle and within 24 hours on either side of your embryo transfer.
Which appointment type should I book in for?
We recommend booking in for an Initial Women’s Health Consultation and Treatment at The Dao Health.
What does the research tell us about using acupuncture for IVF support?
Outcome measures: To examine the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of acupuncture as an adjunct to embryo transfer compared with controls or no adjuvant treatment to improve clinical pregnancies and live births among women undergoing IVF.
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 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 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.
REFERENCE: 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.