Fertility & IVF Acupuncture
Your Fertility Journey
At House of Fertility and Healing we work with a broad range of women & couples at various stages on their fertility journey.
We get that this can be quite stressful and expensive for you, and for a whole lot of reasons. We know that you may have been on this journey for quite some time.
We notice that patients regardless of where they are on the fertility journey, are often wanting assistance in two main areas:
- Getting into the ‘right frame of mind’ – you might call it ‘stress reduction’, or ‘relaxation’
- Physical support – getting the body as healthy and balanced as possible
Know that we endeavour to provide professional and evidence-based support based on the best of our clinical experience. Please feel free to contact us with any queries not satisfied below.
Can Acupuncture Help?
There is some research evidence that Chinese medicine treatment may assist in supporting specific fertility treatments, such as IVF, and there is also broad agreement by Chinese medicine practitioners as well as other health practitioners about acupunctures usefulness as an adjunct to IVF. There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of IVF treatment. If you would like further information about how acupuncture may be able to help you, HOFH practitioners are happy to have that conversation.
Most people who have been on the fertility journey for some time know that if stress & anxiety where not problematic from the beginning, that they can become so as time marches forward. There is moderate evidence to suggest acupuncture may be useful in addressing anxiety (references below).
Although earlier systematic reviews found that evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture used to support IVF or other assisted reproductive technology was considered “unclear” by the scientific community, and in 2011 research suggested no statistically significant difference in the clinical or chemical pregnancy rates between real vs sham acupuncture (see below), a more recent (2017) systematic review by Qian et al found that acupuncture improves the clinical pregnancy rate among women undergoing IVF.
Another piece of research in 2015 came to the (rather clumsily worded) conclusion that “(our) study showed that acupuncture did not significantly improve the IVF clinical pregnancy rate when performed only at the time of ET (embryo transfer), while (we) found pooled benefit of acupuncture for IVF when performed at follicle phase and 25 min before and after ET, as well as 30 min after ET and implantation phase.”
IVF Acupuncture Treatments
Prior to Starting Your IVF Cycle
Some women choose to work with us prior to beginning an IVF cycle. Depending upon your individual circumstances, routinely we might address issues such as period pain (references below) for example. Period pain is viewed as an expression of internal imbalance in Chinese Medicine. We need to assess what is happening for you individually. During this time we might discuss tweaking your diet thus supporting your digestive system. Your digestion is viewed as absolutely, intrinsically and fundamentally vital to overall energy and health. Acupuncture has an excellent reputation for reducing stress & symptoms of anxiety (research reveals moderate evidence – see below), and we know that stress and reproduction are interrelated.
During the Stimulation Phase
We may administer acupuncture once or twice a week throughout this phase. Research indicates a pooled benefit of acupuncture for IVF when performed not just on transfer day but during follicle (stimulation) phase, as well as before & after embryo transfer, and also during the implantation phase.
Treatment After Egg Collection?
Should you be experiencing any discomfort as a result of your collection, an acupuncture treatment that afternoon or the next day may help to ease bleeding or localised tissue damage. We want your body feeling strong and resilient in preparation for receiving your embryo.
On the Day of Embryo Transfer
Again, as above – some research indicates a pooled benefit of acupuncture for IVF when performed not just on embryo transfer (ET) day but during follicle (stimulation) phase, as well as before & after ET, and also during the implantation phase.
Over the years numerous trials have shown increased clinical pregnancy rates when some groupings of women received acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer. Other and more recent trials have come to different conclusions. (references below). We notice many women like to receive acupuncture on the day of their embryo transfer knowing how it helps to calm and centre them. If you feel you would like to receive acupuncture on this day, we recommend scheduling your ET (& FET) day acupuncture at a time when you know you have ample time to reach us and park without getting stressed.
Acupuncture During “The Wait” After Transfer
Once again, acupuncture during this period helps keep you on an even keel – stress down, energy up!
1) Au, D. W., Tsang, H. W., Ling, P. P., Leung, C. H., Ip, P. K., & Cheung, W. M. (2015). Effects of acupressure on anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med, 33(5), 353-359. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010720.
2) Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S. M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C., & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 31, 31-37. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008.
3) Bazzan, A. J., Zabrecky, G., Monti, D. A., & Newberg, A. B. (2014). Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Rev Neurother, 14(4), 411-423. doi:10.1586/14737175.2014.892420.
4) Fleckenstein, J., Kruger, P., & Ittner, K. P. (2018). Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT. PLoS One, 13(8), e0202659. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202659.
5) Goyata, S. L., Avelino, C. C., Santos, S. V., Souza Junior, D. I., Gurgel, M. D., & Terra, F. S. (2016). Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm, 69(3), 602-609. doi:10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i.
6) Kwon, C. Y., & Lee, B. (2018). Acupuncture or Acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for Anxiety: A Preliminary Review. Med Acupunct, 30(2), 73-79. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1268.
7) Smith, C. A., de Lacey, S., Chapman, M., Ratcliffe, J., Norman, R. J., Johnson, N. P., & Fahey, P. (2018). The effects of acupuncture on the secondary outcomes of anxiety, and quality of life for women undergoing IVF: a randomised controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. doi:10.1111/aogs.13528.
8) Smith, C. A., Shewamene, Z., Galbally, M., Schmied, V., & Dahlen, H. (2018). The effect of complementary medicines and therapies on maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord, 245, 428-439. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.054.
Dysmenorrhea (Period Pain)
1) Abaraogu, U. O., & Tabansi-Ochuogu, C. S. (2015). As Acupressure Decreases Pain, Acupuncture May Improve Some Aspects of Quality of Life for Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 8(5), 220-228.
2) Smith CA, Armour M, Zhu X, Li X, Lu ZY, Song J. Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007854.
3) Xu, T., Hui, L., Juan, Y. L., Min, S. G., & Hua, W. T. (2014). Effects of moxibustion or acupoint therapy for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a meta-analysis. Altern Ther Health Med, 20(4), 33-42.
1) Benson M. R. et al, Impact of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization cycles: A prospective single blind randomized study. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 86, Issue 3, pg S135.
2) Cui Hong Zheng, Ming Min Zhang, Guang Ying Huang, and Wei Wang. The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012, Article ID 543924, 15 pages.
3) Domar A et al. The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertil Steril 2009 Vol 91 Issue 3 pg 723-6.
4) Magarelli P,Cridennda D. Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure? Fertil Steril,2004;81 Suppl 3 S20.
5) Moy I et al Fertil Steril 2011 Vol 95 pg 583-587.
6) Paulus W et al. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertil Steril 2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724.
7) Quintero R et al, A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF. Fertil Steril 2004 Vol 81 Suppl 3, pg S11-12.
8) Smith C et al. Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1352-1358.
9) Westergaard L et al. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1341-1346.
10) Youran D et al. Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates. Fertil Steril 2008 Vol. 90, Suppl 1, pg S240.
11) Zhang R et al, Acupuncture and Embryo Transfer; Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study. Fertil Steril 2011, 96, 4 Pg 912-916.