Preparation for IVF / IUI
Using acupuncture to support an IVF or IUI cycle can increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy, as well as reduce stress and improve sleep during the process.
Ideally we will have 2-3 months of treatments before a cycle to optimize the environment. Acupuncture has been shown to
- normalize the menstrual cycle and hormone levels
- increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries to improve egg quality and implantation success rates. 8 sessions over 4 weeks has been shown to increase blood flow to the uterus.
- regulate the sympathetic nervous system reducing stress symptoms, improving sleep and supporting better overall health and immunity.
In one particular study, there was an average of 12 acupuncture visits that was associated with more pregnancies and births (85.7%) compared to no acupuncture (62.5%).
This timeline of 2-3 months also allows time for the male partner to optimize sperm health, both improving sperm counts and overall sperm health. Changes in diet, lifestyle factors and other details may indeed improve overall chances of a healthy pregnancy. Research also indicates that acupuncture can improve sperm health.
If 3 months is not possible, starting treatments as soon as possible is recommended. By optimizing the environment in which follicles mature, acupuncture can improve the quality of maturing eggs.
During IVF / IUI Cycle
Acupuncture during an IVF / IUI can help:
- Reduce the severity of symptoms and side effects associated with IVF/IUI hormone therapy and other medications
- Calm the sympathetic nervous system to improve sleep, regulate blood flow, reduce stress and
- Improve blood flow to support a healthy uterine lining
A landmark study by Wolfgang Paulus was published in 2001 in Fertility and Sterility. It showed that acupuncture increased the clinical pregnancy rates in the context of an IVF cycle as they found that there was a pregnancy rate of 42.5% in patients who had acupuncture versus 26.4% who did not.
They concluded that acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates after ART (IVF/IUI). Fertility and Sterility April 2001
Another study published in Fertility and Sterility analyzed live births with frozen embryo transfers (FET) with comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS). They concluded that “individualized acupuncture therapy with three or more visits and FET alone were associated with significantly more live births and fewer miscarriages when compared with ET Ac (embryo transfer day acupuncture alone).” Fertility and Sterility Oct 2020
Another study in 2009 from Fertility and Sterility looked at acupuncture treatments the day of an embryo transfer and found that “acupuncture patients reported significantly less anxiety post-transfer and reported feeling more optimistic about their cycle and enjoyed their sessions more than the control subjects.” Fertility and Sterility March 2009