Acupuncture is now regularly used in conjunction with IVF treatments in Australia and around the world. IVF doctors commonly recommend acupuncture to increase the chances of an IVF cycle succeeding, and recent studies have demonstrated a higher percentage of successful pregnancies when acupuncture is used in conjunction with any ART procedure.
During the course of your IVF cycle we use acupuncture to assist the IVF process. This involves:
- Promoting follicle development in the early part of the cycle
- Promoting follicle maturation for egg collection towards the middle of the cycle
- Helping the ovaries recover from egg collection
- Preparing the uterus for embryo transfer
- Supporting the uterus after implantation
- Reducing side-effects caused by IVF medications and procedures
We also assist with stress, anxiety and fatigue caused by the interruption to your usual lifestyle and the emotional and physical demands of the IVF process.
How does it work?
Put very simply, acupuncture supports IVF by:
- Directing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus to improve the function of the reproductive system;
- Settling the immune system so there is less chance of the body rejecting the fertilised egg, and;
- Reducing stress hormones which can interfere with the success of the cycle.
Improved IVF outcomes
Experience shows us that our acupuncture treatments give better IVF results. These are the outcomes we see:
- The best possible outcome – a positive pregnancy test
- Better hormone levels thoughout the cycle
- Lowered likelihood of overstimulation by IVF drugs
- Increased number of mature follicles at egg collection in women whoo tend to be poor responders to IVF
- Increased size of follicles at egg collection
- Improved quality of collected eggs
- Increased number and quality of fertilised embryos
- Thicker uterine lining
Reduction of IVF side-effects
IVF drugs and procedures can cause a number of unpleasant side-effects, such as nausea, bloating, abdominal pain and mood swings. Our patients report fewer and less intense IVF-related side-effects.
Wholistic health care
We always keep your broader health in mind. Most IVF specialists are aware of how important your general health is when it comes to the success or failure of an IVF cycle.
It makes good sense to improve general health levels before undergoing IVF, as reproductive health is only one aspect of your total health and wellbeing. Improving your general health naturally leads to improved fertility.
Before your IVF cycle begins and between IVF cycles, we take the opportunity to work with you on your general health.
We regularly use acupuncture and herbal medicine during these times to improve your sleep, reduce stress and anxiety and improve energy levels. Improvements in these important areas of your health reflect an improved functioning of your body, and directly assist IVF outcomes.
When should I start my IVF acupuncture treatments?
Ideally begin your treatments with us before starting your IVF cycle. The sooner we begin working together the better prepared you will be.
What is the treatment schedule?
If you are commencing IVF very soon we advise one to two treatments per week in the lead-up to you starting your IVF medications.
Once your IVF cycle has begun, your acupuncture treatments are timed according to your particular procedures, such as egg collection and embryo transfer days.
In a typical ‘short’ or ‘flare’ IVF cycle, we may recommend the following:
- A treatment in the early part of the cycle, approximately CD (cycle day) 4-6
- A treatment both before and after egg collection
- A treatment both before and after embryo transfer
- A treatment 4-7 days after transfer
In a typical ‘long’ IVF cycle we recommend attending twice during the initial phase (once you have begun Synarel nasal spray or Lucrin injections); then treatments as per the short or flare cycle as above regarding egg collection, transfer and post-transfer.
As your IVF cycle progresses the emphasis of your acupuncture treatments changes to support each procedure. For example, we promote good quality eggs leading up to your egg collection. Then, prior to transfer, we focus on building the lining of the uterus to create a healthy, fertile environment for implantation of your embryo. Post-transfer and leading up to your pregnancy test, we support you and the embryo in order to maintain your pregnancy.
Our clinical experience shows that women who start their treatments with us at least three months before their IVF begins are more likely to have a successful IVF cycle than those women who attend only during their IVF cycle. Starting early with us can save you time and money by reducing the chances of your IVF cycles failing. Many of our patients have fallen pregnant within this time and have not required IVF.
If all this sounds a little confusing, don’t worry – at your first consultation we will outline our recommendations for your individual acupuncture IVF support programme. This is a flexible plan that unfolds in response to how your IVF cycle progresses.
We offer individual treatment programs for women and couples undergoing any type of IVF or other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedure.
The full spectrum of ART procedures include:
- Ovulation induction (ovarian stimulation and cycle tracking)
- IUI (intrauterine insemination) or AI (assisted insemination)
- IVF (in vitro fertilization). There are three different types of IVF cycles: long protocol, short protocol and flare protocol.
- ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
- FET (frozen embryo transfer)
- PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis)
We see patients from a number of Sydney IVF clinics, including Next Generation Fertility, Fertility First, Genea, IVF Australia, RPA, and the Westmead Fertility Centre.