Those trying IVF, may be looking for anything and everything they can be doing to get the most out of each IVF cycle. Depending on if you’ve used Google or word of mouth as your resource when looking into what else can help your cause, you may have come across Acupuncture and those that say yay or nay to it. In this post we discuss a big question on people’s minds when doing IVF. “Can Acupuncture hurt IVF?
One OR the other?
There’s no doubt that Acupuncture works from all the available research on it and the things it can help. It has a positive reputation in the area of Women’s health in bringing relief and change to stubborn symptoms regarding hormones. When Trying to Conceive (TTC), some think you can only go one of two ways – Natural conception or IVF conception. This simply isn’t the case.
Acupuncture isn’t just for those wanting to TTC Naturally. Acupuncture is a great help to the IVF conception process by way of stimulating specific responses in the body.
Does Acupuncture override IVF?
No. IVF & Acupuncture seem to work synergistically around the Embryo Transfer time according to the research. Especially for women whose current chance of success is at 35% or lower, Acupuncture with their IVF can increase their chances. Acupuncture at other times in the IVF cycle can help support women mentally, emotionally and regulate their stress.
Despite Acupuncture helping the IVF process, Hormone replacement/therapy is strong and Acupuncture cannot go against what the IVF is doing. This may answer your thought of Can Acupuncture hurt IVF?
How to take the headache out of Fertility Drug side effects
Acupuncture’s philosophy is to work WITH the body’s natural processes. Whereas, IVF & fertility drugs have a bit more control in telling the body to do what and when.
You may experience side effects of the IVF drugs such as bloating, sluggishness, tiredness, emotional ups and downs. You don’t have to suffer in silence. It’s worth using your Acupuncture sessions to address these side effects and try getting you to a more comfortable place.
Try thinking of it this way, Fertility drugs manage the hormone “big picture” and Acupuncture helps manage the “details” of the side effects and symptoms.
When is Acupuncture helpful within an IVF cycle?
- Preparation leading up to your first IVF cycle
- Prep for any subsequent cycles
- Leading up to Embryo Transfer
- To manage any side effects
- To manage your stress levels, emotions and mood.
Increase your chances of IVF success in those early days
There is some differing opinions about whether protocols of Acupuncture before or Acupuncture after or both before AND after Embryo Transfer is best practice.
Debra Betts, the author of “Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth” suggests from her reviews of clinical research papers Acupuncture before ET is best practice. The research suggests Acupuncture on Day 3 of the Embryo development is the time that shows most benefit.
Acupuncture within 1 hour of ET also has positive results – this may be difficult as IVF clinics may not offer this service and require a registered Acupuncturist onsite. You may not have the convenience of your Independent Acupuncturist being within an hour’s drive of where you’re getting IVF.
Using Acupuncture to your advantage
There is positive evidence suggesting Acupuncture after ET to manage stress, promote sleep, manage inflammation and support immunity is beneficial over the Post ET protocol known by many Acupuncturists. This is because these factors of Stress, Inflammation & Immune responses when out of control are a threat to good implantation.
That implantation window is a sensitive time around days 6-9 after egg collection. Using Acupuncture to support this window is a sensible approach.
There are research studies even promoting laughter and massage as positive ways to support implantation after Embryo Transfer. So managing stress is paramount!
The resounding evidence shows Acupuncture to be safe and supportive of IVF and prior to Embryo Transfer. The semantics come into it about acupoint selection and at specific times in the IVF cycle. My recommendations to you are:
- To prepare for an upcoming IVF cycle using Acupuncture
- To manage any side effects throughout your fertility drug phase
- To get Acupuncture on day 3 after egg collection (prior to ET) then get your ET done.
- To get Acupuncture on day 5 after egg collection (after ET)
- To get any support Acupuncture between days 6-9
- To get any support acupuncture for stress moderation during the “watchful waiting” time
Why wouldn’t you consider it?
Doing anything and everything you can to support a positive result is a natural feeling. Wanting to get the most out of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART’s) and the financial investment is also natural considerations. I whole-heartedly encourage clients to use Acupuncture leading up to their Embryo Transfer so the couple feel they have done everything in their power to help themselves. Considering Acupuncture to support IVF is practical, wise and conducive to the success you’re looking for.
To ask questions, connect and share your concerns, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To ready yourself for Embryo Transfer Acupuncture, you can pre-purchase your treatment by clicking here.
References: Medical Clowning Post ET – Freidler, S. et al Fertil Steril 2011: 95(6) pp 2127-30
Massage Pre ET – Okhowat, J. et al Alternative Therapeutic Health Medicine, 2015, 21(2):16-22
Westergaard et al 2006 – Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomised trial. Fertility & Sterility, Vol 85, pp1341-46.