Acupuncture May Improve the success rate of Frozen Embryo Transfer!
If you are considering Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) as a solution to your infertility challenges, then acupuncture might just be the right intervention to significantly improve your chances of implantation and pregnancy. As highlighted in previous articles, infertility is a serious issue that is affecting more and more women in society. Due to the emotional, social, and psychological trauma associated with the condition, patients are increasingly seeking alternative treatments to boost their fertility. Studies show that acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine may be effective complementary treatments that may improve the success rate of conventional medical procedures such as FET. As expected, one of the main questions that our patients at Centre of Balance often ask is: What exactly can you do to facilitate a successful FET?
How Acupuncture May Boost FET
Acupuncture treatment uses tiny needles to stimulate certain acupuncture points that are associated with imbalances in the human body. These imbalances of Qi manifest themselves as medical conditions such as infertility. Regarding the success rate of FET, the benefits of acupuncture include:
- Facilitating a hormonal balance necessary for implantation and pregnancy.
- Relaxing the patient and relieving stress, which can contribute to the infertility problem.
- Encouraging blood circulation to the uterus through stimulation of specific meridians related to the reproductive system.
- Facilitating a healthy uterine lining thereby improving the chances of a successful implantation.
In addition to acupuncture treatment, practitioners at Centre of Balance Cambridge recommend a few lifestyle changes to improve the success rate of FET. This includes eating a healthy diet primarily comprised of whole foods and regular mild exercise.
What does Science say about FET and Acupuncture?
A randomised controlled trial published in the Acupuncture in Medicine journal sought to determine the effect of acupuncture in women undergoing FET. Specifically, they studied the impact of transcutaneous electrical acupuncture point stimulation (TEAS) on ultrasound markers of endometrial receptivity – using 3D power Doppler parameters and endometrial HOXA10 protein expression. This was achieved by stimulating acupuncture points on the legs and abdomen (Zigong, SP6, CV4, and CV3) of 68 women during three menstrual cycles leading to the FET.
The researchers from Shandong and Shanghai Jiaotong University compared the findings from a TEAS group and a mock TEAS group to determine the rate of live births, clinical pregnancy, embryo implantation, endometrial protein expression, and endometrial receptivity. They concluded that the acupuncture treatment increased the success of FET by improving the quality and structure of the uterine lining, rate of implantation, clinical pregnancies, and consequently the number of live births. Although the study only focused on the period prior to the frozen embryo transfer, it is important to continue acupuncture treatment post transfer.
Expert Advice: Acupuncture has an accumulative effect and receiving continuous treatment a few weeks before the frozen embryo transfer is more effective than a single treatment on the actual day. Therefore, our highly experienced acupuncturists at Centre of Balance advise patients undergoing FET to visit us a few months before they begin the FET cycle. This will help us create a highly personalized and convenient acupuncture routine to facilitate the best outcome and service delivery.
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Shuai, Z., Lian, F., Li, P., & Yang, W. (2014). Effect of transcutaneous electrical acupuncture point stimulation on endometrial receptivity in women undergoing frozen-thawed embryo transfer: A single-blind prospective randomised controlled trial. Acupuncture in Medicine, acupmed-2014.