Many women seek out acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy when undergoing assisted reproductive treatments, such as IVF or ICSI. They seek it out because they are told it increases efficacy and are willing to give it a whirl because when there is so much at stake, anything to help increase the odds of a positive outcome is a welcome addition. But when should one start the acupuncture? What is a course of treatment like? How does acupuncture works?
Each case is different, of course, because us women are all so different! However a general rule of thumb is that a course of treatment prior to a transfer should be 3 months. This will allow your body to clear out any toxins you’re holding on to and as I like to say, really “prime” your body for what it’s about to go through. As assisted reproductive technologies are often grueling ordeals, that drain you both physically and emotionally. The more support you can get, earlier on, the better your outcome will be. During a course of treatment, patients are encouraged to come at least once per week and then before and after on the day of the transfer. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, acupuncture is a “safe, low cost, adjuvant treatment to improve success rates [and] would benefit patients and reduce costs… [With] current evidence from methodologically sound trials showing an odds ratio of more than 1.6 for clinical pregnancy after in vitro fertilisation with adjuvant acupuncture”
A course of treatment will entail not only acupuncture treatments, but also lifestyle, dietary suggestions, and sometimes a Chinese herbal prescription. What you put into your body at this time is so important to how you ultimately feel, which is incredibly important to a successful outcome. If we are what we eat, we need to eat clean, clean, clean! The lower the amount of toxins in the body, the easier it will be for your body to assimilate whatever hormonal protocol you are on.
Lastly how does acupuncture work. Well it works by encouraging blood flow, particularly to the uterus and ovaries, by reducing stress which is incredibly important for a positive outcome, and by balancing hormones.
The bottom line is that nothing is guaranteed, but with Western doctors across the board recognizing the efficacy of acupuncture, as a low risk way to push the odds into your favor. It’s certainly worth considering.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Manheimer, E., Zhang, G., Udoff, L., Haramati, A., Langenberg, P., Berman, B.M., & Bouter, L.M. (2008) Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: Systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal. https://doi.org.10.1136/bmj.39471.430451.BE