IVF Acupuncture in Bexley & London
Acupuncture for women during IVF
I use acupuncture to support women through all the different phases of the IVF cycle. What I generally recommend is that patients begin their treatment a month in advance of starting their IVF drugs or at the very least when they start the drugs. However, acupuncture performed just on the day of embryo transfer alone has been shown to increase clinical pregnancy rates by up to 65%.
The aim of the acupuncture treatment at the different stages is as follows:
- Before any contraceptive pill or down regulation begins the treatment aims to correct any underlying imbalances that are a potential barrier to the treatment working.
- Once the drugs have been started the treatment will help to manage any side effects being experienced as well as relieving any tension and anxiety. Typical side effects include low energy levels, moodiness and irritability, headaches, poor sleep, hot flushes and night sweats, bloating and abdominal discomfort. The acupuncture treatment here is based on my clinical experience and will be different for each patient depending on their symptoms.
- Clinical trials have demonstrated that acupuncture performed during the medication phase of IVF increases blood supply to the uterus and ovaries and has a beneficial regulatory effect on hormones which may be important to follicle development and implantation.
- Acupuncture the day after egg collection is recommended to help reduce any feelings of discomfort from the procedure and to prepare for transfer.
- On the day of embryo transfer acupuncture is performed just before going to the clinic and immediately after using protocols from clinical trials which showed a significant increase in pregnancy rates.
- One week after embryo transfer I recommend having a further treatment to support any implantation.
There have been several clinical trials that have looked at acupuncture performed at the time of embryo transfer to see if they increase clinical pregnancy rates. You can view this research by clicking here.
Acupuncture during the first few weeks of pregnancy
Once a positive pregnancy test is achieved patients continue coming for acupuncture until their nuchal scan at the end of the first trimester. Acupuncture has immune modulating effects which are important in reducing rejection of the embryo by the mother’s immune system during the first few days of pregnancy as the embryo implants. Acupuncture also increases blood flow to the uterus and newly forming placenta which is particularly important if there are clotting factor problems. Treatment generally aims to support the pregnancy and treat any problems that may arise such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue and prevent any possible miscarriage.
Acupuncture for men during IVF
Men should be taking steps to improve the quality of their sperm months before the IVF process begins and if there are obvious problems with the sperm as highlighted by a sperm test then acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help to improve this. See Fertility for more information.
During the IVF process it is recommended that men have an acupuncture treatment before their sperm is collected. Sometimes the pressure and anxiety to produce a sample on the day of egg collection is enough to cause a problem.
Before and beyond IVF
If you have had a number of failed IVF attempts then it is worth considering the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to enhance your reproductive health before embarking on another round of IVF. Or if IVF is no longer an option for you then acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can offer another way of approaching and treating infertility. See Fertility for more information.