Acupuncture for IVF Assistance & Natural Conception
Are you hoping to conceive? Are you having trouble getting pregnant?
Acupuncture for IVF may be able to help you.
Did you know that it takes over 100 days (over 3 months) for human follicle to develop to an egg cell that is then released during ovulation?
This is how long it takes to improve quality of your follicle, and everything counts during those months to influence health of your future baby. Changing lifestyle, taking supplements, stress levels, acupuncture treatment.
If you are thinking about having acupuncture for IVF to help with natural conception, IUI cycle please start having fertility acupuncture at least three months before. That way you will have enough time for acupuncture to enhance egg quality, it will help regulating your cycles, will increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Acupuncture will also help you relax and control your cortisol levels.
What is my approach?
I do tailor treatment exactly to your needs to support your fertility journey, every patient will need different treatment. Please remember it takes two to conceive a healthy baby, so sperm health is also important. I treat heterosexual couples and same gender couples.
I am Fertility trained acupuncturist and I will be looking at your hormone results at sperm results to give you best advice on what to do next, to help you understand your results as very often patients are being told that everything is within norm but very often this is not the case.
I give you lifestyle advice if I think you will benefit from making small changes. I do also refer some of my patients to see specialists like Endocrinologist, Urologist, Nutritionist.
After consultation appointment you will receive letter with my advice, findings, and treatment plan.
Over the years I have worked with couples who have been trying to conceive naturally as first-time parents, have had multiple miscarriages, women have been diagnosed with PCOS, Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Asherman’s Syndrome but also have treated couples who went through IVF, IUI treatment or where about to start first IVF cycle due to unexplained infertility or sperm issues.
This journey can be very stressful for some but I am going to be there with you every step of the way to help with natural conception or assisted conception and will do my absolute best to help you become parents.
How does acupuncture for IVF work?
Acupuncture for IVF is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for centuries in Asia for the treatment of various conditions. The most common use of acupuncture in the Western world is for pain relief, but it is also effective for other conditions such as headaches, nausea, anxiety and fertility treatment.
Acupuncture may benefit the treatment of Infertility by:
- Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs (Ho 2009, Anderson 2007), can improve the thickness of the endometrial lining, so increasing the chances of embryo implantation.
promoting embryo implantation (Liu 2008).
- Increasing egg production (Jin 2009) and improving oocyte quality (Chen 2009), could increase the chance of fertilisation.
- Enhancing luteal function (Huang 2009) and regulating follicle stimulation hormone-receptor expression (Jin 2009).
- Regulating fertility hormones – stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA). Acupuncture promotes the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which regulates gonadotrophin releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, a follicle-stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary (Anderson 2007).
- Normalising cortisol and prolactin levels on IVF medication days (Magarelli 2008); reducing stress (Anderson 2007)
How Often I Should Have Treatment?
To help improve your fertility and support natural conception, you should have regular acupuncture treatments.
I normally recommend coming once a week, why that often you may ask?
I always say to my patients that they need to think of Acupuncture as a supplement, you cannot take a supplement once a month and think this will boost your fertility?
Acupuncture needs regular treatment as each treatment is focusing on nourishing your follicles or sperm if treating male fertility, regulating your cycle and hormonal balance, and all this takes time, as your cycle could be anything between 25 to 30 days, or even longer. If you suffer from PCOS your cycle can be even 60 days long. I tailor treatment according to your needs, as I want the absolute best for you, for your mental health and your fertility. You can continue the complementary and alternative methods alongside conventional medical practice.
Where Will I Insert the Needles?
This varies but mainly needles are inserted distally, on your legs, hands, forearms, or locally on your belly.
Acupuncture for IVF
According to statistics about one in seven couples in the UK have difficulty conceiving naturally. Acupuncture can support couples preparing for and going through IVF and ARTs.
The British Acupuncture Council has looked into research on how acupuncture can help the IVF process. A study from 2018 confirms that acupuncture helps during ovarian stimulation by improving ovarian blood supply. The clinical pregnancy rate was 52.6% in the acupuncture group versus 33.3% in the sham acupuncture group and 32.8% in the observational group.
When should I start acupuncture to support IVF?
Ideally 2 to 3 months before you start IVF medications.
Why so early?
As mentioned above it takes over 100 days for women follicles to develop and about 90 days for sperm to mature so you need all this time for acupuncture treatment to be able to enhance your fertility. Also acupuncture helps to:
- Reduce anxiety
- Optimise blood flow to the uterus, which helps with endometrium thickness for implantation
- Balance hormones before starting medication for long or short protocol
- Regulate your menstrual cycle
- Resolve underlying conditions, which may cause complications before conception or during pregnancy like endometriosis, PCOS, Thyroid issues etc.
Do I need acupuncture for FET?
Yes, you do and you should start having acupuncture 4 weeks before your FET (Frozen Egg Transfer)
- to help with your stress levels
- to support your endometrium lining
- to treat any effects of various medications, which may be used to suppress your cycle
- to regulate your natural cycle to start treatment on schedule
I am having IVF in 2 week’s time can I still have acupuncture?
Of course, you can, I will not be able to enhance your follicles as not enough time but I will be able to:
- keep you calm,
- potentially still help with improving thickness of your endometrium lining
- treat you 24h post trigger injection
- treat you after collection on the same day or day after to give your body boost, which you will need especially if you have fresh transfer on day 5.
- provide you with treatment before and after transfer to calm the uterus
- treat you during implantation process and 2 week wait time
Do you recommend treatment in first trimester?
Ongoing support post implantation is highly recommended. Treatment in that time helps my patients a lot with anxiety as acupuncture can keep you relaxed and calm. I am very often the only person that knows what you are going through so you may find appointment helpful from that perspective.
You will be able to talk to someone who understands your worries and can support you mentally. I strongly recommend having treatment during that time if there is history of recurrent miscarriage, if I am treating an older maternal patient.