IVF Acupuncture & Treatments

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Your 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 – assisting the body in being 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 Improve IVF results?

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.”

Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) may be interested in this piece of research which concludes: “Acupuncture may increase the CPR (clinical pregnancy rate) and OPR (ongoing pregnancy rate) and decrease the risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation) in women with PCOS undergoing IVF or ICSI.”

 

During 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.

 

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.

 

Transfer Day

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.

 

During “The Wait” After Transfer

Once again, acupuncture during this period helps keep you on an even keel – stress down, energy up!

 

References

ANXIETY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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.

Smith CA, Armour M, Zhu X, Li X, Lu ZY, Song J. Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007854.

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.

IVF ACUPUNCTURE

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

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

Domar A et al. The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertil Steril 2009 Vol 91 Issue 3 pg 723-6

Magarelli P,Cridennda D. Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure? Fertil Steril,2004;81 Suppl 3 S20

Moy I et al Fertil Steril 2011 Vol 95 pg 583-587

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

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

Smith C et al. Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1352-1358

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

Youran D et al. Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates. Fertil Steril 2008 Vol. 90, Suppl 1, pg S240

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

References:

Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates
Youran D et al Fertil Steril 2008 Vol. 90, Suppl 1, pg S240

Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial
Westergaard L et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1341-1346

Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy
Paulus W et al, Fertil Steril 2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724

The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome
Domar A et al Fertil Steril 2009 Vol 91 Issue 3 pg 723-6

A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF
Quintero R et al, Fertil Steril 2004 Vol 81 Suppl 3, pg S11-12

Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure?
Magarelli P,Cridennda D, Fertil Steril,2004;81 Suppl 3 S20

Impact of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization cycles: A prospective single blind randomized study
Benson M. R. et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 86, Issue 3, pg S135

 

Other acupuncture/IVF related research which may interest you

Influence of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation when embryo implantation has failed: a prospective randomised controlled clinical trial
di Villahermosa DIM, dos Santos LG, Nogueira MB, et al

Effect of acupuncture on assisted reproduction treatment outcomes Acupuncture in Medicine
Madaschi C, Braga DPAF, Figueira RDCS, et al

The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology
Cui Hong Zheng, Ming Min Zhang, Guang Ying Huang, and Wei Wang

The Role Of Acupuncture In Patients At Unfavourable Reproductive Prognosis In IVF: A Prospective Randomised Study
M. Arnoldi; D. Diaferia; M.G. Corbucci; L. De Lauretis