Acupuncture as alternative treatment for infertility

I always consider acupuncture a great adjunctive therapy for most of my patients whether is pain or various other health issues, especially for women. This is a great blog written by Karen Lang, acupuncturist and owner of Dogwood Healing Arts here in Atlanta.

Acupuncture Increases the Success Rate of IVF

For some women and couples in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the answer to their dream of having a child. Numerous studies have demonstrated that acupuncture improves IVF success rate. One large study found a 50% increase in success rate when acupuncture is done alongside IVF. IVF can take a significant emotional and financial toll so why not do everything possible to increase the chances of success?

Ideally, I like to start treating women at least three months prior to starting IVF in order to regulate their hormones and address any underlying issues that are contributing to infertility. It is not uncommon for women to become pregnant naturally during this time. If IVF is being done solely due to male fertility factors then one month of acupuncture prior to IVF would be ideal.

During the stimulation phase of IVF, I like to see women twice a week. Acupuncture works by increasing the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, reducing stress and anxiety (which can impact fertility) and addressing any side effects of the medications. Following stimulation, one acupuncture treatment prior to egg retrieval and one between retrieval and transfer is the standard of care.

Acupuncture before and after transfer of the embryo is essential. Acupuncture can take place 24-48 hours before and after transfer. Pre and post transfer acupuncture works to relax the uterus and calm any uterine spasms from the transfer process as well as reduce anxiety and calm stress. An acupuncture treatment one week following transfer supports implantation. In cases of sub-fertility, it is ideal to continue with acupuncture once a week for the first trimester to protect the pregnancy.

Many women undergo IUI prior to IVF and acupuncture works in a similar fashion to improve the chances of success. I generally see women once a week throughout the IUI process.

Know someone considering IVF? Please share this information with them!

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