Acupuncture may improve the success rate of IVF.
Are you considering In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? Does this make you stressed or anxious? Do you want to increase the chances of a successful procedure? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, acupuncture before and after your IVF cycle may help. Here at Centre of Balance, we understand the emotional, physical, and psychological toll that undergoing IVF may have. We may be able to help you through these challenges with acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.
What Happens at the Clinic?
Centre of Balance practitioners will recommend a treatment plan individually tailored to your circumstance. They may recommend treatment leading up to your first IVF cycle aiming to increase the effectiveness and success of IVF. However, before treatment begins, an acupuncturist conducts various diagnostic procedures to understand your symptoms, underlying conditions, and other factors necessary for an individualised approach.
- Prior to the Embryo transfer day, acupuncture treatment primarily aims to calm the patient, restore a balance of qi (body’s energy), regulate hormones necessary for reproduction, and increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Also, acupuncture treatment may help an IVF patient feel relaxed and receptive on the big day.
- The period after IVF can be tense and even stressful. Waiting for 2 weeks to know the outcome of the procedure is psychologically and emotionally challenging. So, this is where acupuncture comes in; the treatment helps the IVF patient maintain a calm demeanour and balanced qi.
Your acupuncturist may prescribe Chinese herbs which may improve the results of the IVF. The practitioner may have diet and lifestyle recommendations to help boost your chances of IVF being successful, in which case it could be a good idea to visit well in advance of the procedure. So, how exactly does acupuncture treatment aim to improve the success rate of IVF?
How May Acupuncture Help?
- Relaxes the patient and relieves stress- According to the 13th Volume of Human Reproduction by Renato Franchin et al. (1998), the rates of pregnancy and implantation may reduce if a woman experiences uterine contractions after embryo transfer. Acupuncture settles the mind and body, relaxing the abdomen and making the patient feel comfortable. Also, studies show that implantation of embryos is negatively affected if the level of stress hormones is elevated. This may be remedied by acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, which help to make the patient feel relaxed.
- Improves cytokine levels and T-cell.
- Reduces adrenalin and cortisol levels.
- Increases the levels of serotonin, encephalins, endorphins, and other endogenous opioids.
- Warms the womb- According to ancient Chinese medicine, a ‘cold womb’ is one of the causes of infertility. Therefore, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine warm the womb by encouraging the flow of blood and qi to nourish the embryo.
The Scientific Evidence
There is lots of research that supports the role of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in improving the outcomes of IVF. Below is a summary of the findings of two meta-analyses that collectively include 41 randomised trials and thousands of patients.
In the systematic review and meta-analysis by Shen C et al. (2015) the authors evaluated 21 randomized studies that included 5,500 patients with the aim of determining the impact of acupuncture treatment during IVF. They concluded that acupuncture significantly improved the outcome of IVF when performed before and after the procedure. Another meta-analysis by Huijuan Cao et al. (2013) sought to investigate the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine in improving IVF. The systematic review included 20 randomised trials of a large number of couples in the UK and China. The results of the study showed that a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and IVF improved the success of IVF.
So, it’s clear that acupuncture treatment is a worthwhile treatment which may increase the success rate of IVF. For best results, consult an acupuncturist a few weeks before the procedure. Call us now to book your initial consultation.