Acupuncture and IVF
Increasingly, couples are turning to Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART), like Invitro Fertilization (IVF) to help with conception. Studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly enhance the effectiveness of IVF. In fact, a recent review of several well-conducted studies concluded that acupuncture can increase the success rate of IVF by 65%. When used along with IVF, acupuncture can improve outcomes by:
- Increasing ovarian response to follicular stimulating hormones
- Improving estrogen levels if they are low
- Enhancing egg quality by increasing blood flow and nutrients to follicles
- Improving sperm quality
- Reducing the side effects of IVF drugs
- Increasing thickness of the uterine lining
- Encouraging implantation
- Minimizing stress associated with the IVF process, which can hinder success
- Reducing post transfer uterine cramping, which may have a negative impact on implantation
Our acupuncturist, Angie Ng, has extensive experience in treating fertility issues and has helped many couples undergoing IVF. We typically recommend starting acupuncture treatments 3 menstrual cycles prior to beginning IVF drug stimulation to help improve the body's response to the medications. However, treatment options for women looking to improve their chances of IVF success can range from a few acupuncture sessions before and after embryo transfer to starting treatments several months before undergoing IVF in order to prepare the body for the process and achieve an optimal response. Where sperm issues are a factor, men can also benefit from receiving acupuncture in the weeks or months leading up to IVF. In addition to acupuncture, electro-stimulation, heat therapy, dietary modifications, meditation/breathing exercises, and herbal therapy may be employed as part of a holistic program. Like all acupuncture treatments, each treatment plan is tailored toward the individual. However, our acupuncturist is trained and highly skilled at employing certain protocols at appropriate times when needed. Such protocols have been shown to increase the thickness of the uterine lining and encourage embryo implantation.
When seeking acupuncture therapy, it is recommended to see someone who is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.). Licensed Acupuncturists are experts in their field and have received thousands of hours of training in acupuncture. "Certified" or "Registered" acupuncturists, or those who practice "dry needling", on the other hand, are often practitioners who have taken a crash course in acupuncture and have as little as 100 hours or less of training. Be sure to see a Licensed Acupuncturist to get the best care and the best results!
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