For most women, IVF is a costly and lengthly process that has a low success rate that continues to decrease as time passes. It leaves the majority of women emotionally, mentally exhausted and for some financially drained. Recognising the physical and emotional strain, western medicine is encouraging more women/couples who undergo this gruelling process, to seek complementary therapies. Acupuncture being the most common. If you’re still unsure whether you should get acupuncture here are my 5 reasons why I think you should!
(credit: lyon road art)
1. Certain studies have shown it increases the success rate of IVF
Hullender and her team discovered women who added more acupuncture sessions were twice as likely to have a baby compared to women who did IVF alone, and 60% more likely when compared with women who just had two acupuncture treatments on the day of embryo transfer. Acupuncture helped their IVF outcomes. Certainly in my clinical experience, I have seen positive results in women who received a course of treatments months prior to and throughout IVF as opposed to the women who had session sporadically (1).
2. It improves blood flow
Healthy blood and oxygen flow to organs is vital proper function. For any fertility issues, proper blood flow to the reproductive organs is even more important. This is where acupuncture can help! Acupuncture increases healthy blood through vasodilation (2). Better blood flow to uterus, means better lining, better response to hormonal drugs, and of course better chance of implantation success. (credit: healthline parenthood)
3. Your body is treated holistically
In Chinese Medicine, a healthy body will be a picture of cohesion where all the systems within are working harmoniously. This idea of looking at fertility holistically is now being welcomed by western medicine. More specialists are looking at digestive, immune, nervous system function, lifestyle, dietary habits and its impact on reproductive health. In my clinical practice, it is standard for each patient to have an in-depth consultation that covers all aspects of their health. For most people, I am treating multiple issues such as digestive, hormonal, sleep as well as fertility issues. As a result I’ve seen many patients who follow treatment plans and apply recommended changes, experience many positive benefits.
4. It is a powerful relaxant and helps with stress.
One of the biggest side effects of IVF is the emotional stress. I have seen the difference a session can make in someone’s mindset. Women going through IVF typically put up a front to cope with the stress of the whole situation. For most, my sessions offer them a safe space where they can talk openly about their thoughts and emotions, while also having the acupuncture to calm their nervous system (3).
5. You receive continuous care and support
Most people don’t know how bizarre and clinical IVF is. Weekly visits to the clinic for a quick ultrasound, blood test, surgical procedure become the norm. Most women have communication with their specialists or their team at least a few times a week throughout a cycle. Depending on the result these women usually spend months going back and forth to their specialists with the hope that a new dosage of drugs or a new combination will bring a better result. However when the cycle is successful, suddenly that weekly contact is gone and some women are left with a feeling of panic and abandonment. This is where I can also help, as my treatments usually extend far beyond the end of IVF, and pregnancy. It is one of the many privileges of my job, that I am able to journey with them in pregnancy and motherhood.
(Credit: Kelly Jaeger/Discover)
I have treated a multitude of women who have gone through IVF at various stages. Some who I started seeing several months before the process started, some at various points throughout IVF, and even some who had tried cycles with and without acupuncture. But they realised that they had better lining, follicular recruitment and less side effects when they were receiving acupuncture.
The saddest thing I often hear is when women say “I wish I started this earlier, or I wish I had known that acupuncture could help”. Don’t let that be you. If you have any questions or concerns, I’d love to help you.
1. Hullender R.L. et al ., “Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes.” 2015 Reprod Biomed Online. 2015 Jun;30(6):602-12. doi: 10.1016
2. Uchida S, Hotta H “Acupuncture Affects Regional Blood Flow in Various Organs” 2008 Evid Based Compl & Alt Med 2008 April | https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem051
3. Balk J, et al “The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: A pilot study” Comp Therapies in Clin Prac 2010 August Vol 16(3) 154-157