Many couples have to go through a number of cycles of IVF before becoming pregnant, and for others IVF is not successful.
The overall success rate for IVF is about 40 percent for women under the age of 35.
IVF is expensive, time consuming, and stressful, especially when a treatment fails. As a result, many couples are looking for ways to increase their probability of success.
Their approach is to combine Western biomedicine with complementary medical treatments, most notably acupuncture.
An increasing number of women are choosing acupuncture as a way to enhance their chances of both implantation and a successful pregnancy. A number of research studies support this choice.
At the University of Maryland in the US, researchers conducted a review of high quality papers on the impact of acupuncture on IVF success rates. They concluded that the women who were treated with acupuncture during IVF had a higher rate of success of implementation and live births than women who did not have acupuncture.
While practitioners of acupuncture have an understanding of Qi and balancing the body’s energy, they also understand the physiological changes that occur as a result of acupuncture that explain why it can be beneficial for women undergoing IVF:
- Acupuncture creates a healthier, more stable environment to support implementation of the embryo through increased blood circulation to the uterus. Furthermore, acupuncture helps to calm the uterine muscle and reduce contractions, decreasing the risk of expulsion of transferred embryos.- Research has also documented lower rates of ectopic (tubal) pregnancies related to IVF in patients who received acupuncture.
- Acupuncture alters brain chemistry and regulates the endocrine system. This means that the hormones that are crucial to balance the menstrual cycle, support conception, and sustain a pregnancy are regulated by acupuncture.- Also, the circulation of endorphins increase during acupuncture. These feel-good chemicals help regulate the menstrual cycle and help balance stress hormones.
- Acupuncture decreases the stress and anxiety that is associated with undergoing infertility treatments. This high level of stress disrupts a number of the body systems, from digestion to immunity. It can also affect the circulation of sex hormones, which are vital to successful conception and pregnancy.
For that reason, the relaxing effects of acupuncture are significant, and occur through changes in the brain, from the increased circulation of endorphins to the regulation of other neurochemicals.
The upshot is that several well-timed acupuncture treatments may help improve a woman’s chances of success with IVF. Some acupuncturists suggest treatments just before and just after implantation, however if the woman has other health issues, it would be wise to have the acupuncturist address them a few months prior to undergoing IVF.
Whether going through IVF now or planning to do so in the next several months, women and couples coping with infertility, could gain valuable insight from a Acupuncture Assisted Fertility Consultation with a licensed acupuncturist to see if acupuncture is right for them.
The earlier acupuncture for fertility is started, the higher the chances of getting pregnant. – Acupuncture is painless, natural, safe and effective.
Dominic is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist, and the Clinical Director of Health Source Acupuncture with offices in Linwood and Galloway, NJ.