Here at Natural Fertility Info, we are always hoping that a naturally conceived pregnancy is in your future. Unfortunately, we also understand that isn’t always possible and that sometimes… medical treatments will be necessary in order to achieve pregnancy. In those cases, we always advocate for an integrative approach – combining western medicine treatments with alternative methods in order to experience the best of both worlds.
Receiving the Benefits Each Realm of Medicine has to Offer
When it comes to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), this stance holds strong. We encourage all our readers pursuing IVF to continue adhering to a healthy fertility diet and maintaining some of the wellness practices we always hold so dear. And of course, a few extra needle pricks couldn’t hurt either.
We get it. When you are going through IVF, you are likely beyond the point of being over needles. After giving yourself multiple injections a day for the last several weeks, lying back for an acupuncture appointment may not be at the top of your list of things to do. Hear us out though, because we think you will come to agree that those extra needles are totally worth the additional pricks they require.
Unlike many alternative treatments, acupuncture has been gaining support in the western medicine world as science has started to recognize its many benefits. There have been a variety of studies conducted reviewing the implications for acupuncture and fertility, and recent reports have shown a 65 percent increase in pregnancy success rates when IVF is combined with acupuncture treatments. Those same studies have shown rates of live births nearly doubled in cases where acupuncture was used, compared to IVF patients who received no acupuncture or sham acupuncture.
What Makes Acupuncture so Effective for IVF?
The reasons acupuncture can increase success rates aren’t fully understood. Ultrasounds have shown that acupuncture can improve uterine blood flow, which may create a more hospitable environment for implantation.
One thing most doctors and scientists seem to agree on is that acupuncture at the very least can have a calming effect on patients. While embroiled in the stress of fertility treatments, that improved relaxation can be crucial to overall wellness – particularly when you understand how stress hormones can inhibit fertility. If for no other reason, acupuncture can be a great relaxation technique to rely on.
If you are hoping to receive the full benefits of treatments, however, you should consider utilizing acupuncture treatments on the same day as your embryo transfer. Many fertility clinics are now employing full time acupuncturists specifically for this reason, so it is worth talking to your doctor to find out what is available. In cases where a clinic does not have an on-staff practitioner, however, they may still allow you to bring your own in. Or you can plan on making an appointment with a local acupuncturist in the hours immediately following your transfer. When looking for a practitioner, try to seek out someone who has experience working with fertility patients, as they will have a greater understanding of the points which should be manipulated.
Remember that acupuncture is not a guarantee that your IVF cycle will work, but it can be a natural way to improve your chances of success. Enjoy the relaxation benefits that acupuncture can provide, and sit back, envisioning your healthy embryo accomplishing a smooth implantation into your uterus. The risks are limited when it comes to this alternative treatment, and the benefits can be well worth the few extra needle pricks required.
- Acupuncture and IVF: Does it Improve Success? (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://haveababy.com/fertility-information/ivf-authority/acupuncture-and-ivf-does-it-improve
- Hitti, M. (n.d.). Acupuncture for In Vitro Fertilization? Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20080207/acupuncture-for-in-vitro-fertilization
- Norton, A. (n.d.). Does acupuncture boost IVF success? Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/29/us-ivf-acupuncture-idUSTRE80S0PI20120129