Using acupuncture alongside IVF is becoming quite common, and there has been a great deal of research on this topic in the past few years which indicates that acupuncture increases the chances of a successful IVF cycle by 40-50%.
Beginning before the IVF cycle and continuing through to childbirth where necessary, acupuncture improvement ovarian function, leading to larger numbers of better quality eggs, regulates the hormonal system, nourishes the uterus and foetus to help prevent miscarriage, and reduces stress and anxiety.
The treatment works in two ways – by following along with the IVF process to enhance each stage of the procedure, and also by helping you to deal with any side effects of the drugs, and by reducing stress and helping with any other health problems that occurs along the way.
So, as well as the increased chance of a successful IVF cycle and consequent birth, women who have acupuncture treatment also feel happier, more positive and more relaxed during the process. In my practice, women tell me that they have greatly enjoyed the acupuncture, and found that it has really helped them through what is normally a very stressful time.
There are many different ways to work with acupuncture and IVF, and each acupuncturist will have a slightly different approach. Normally, acupuncture treatment should be weekly through the IVF process, and ideally should start slowly before you start the IVF.
The acupuncture needles may be placed in points anywhere in the body. Typically, you may have a few in your lower legs or feet, and a couple in your lower abdomen. Points on the arm or the back may also be used, depending on your individual history and overall health, and the acupuncturists approach. The treatment is not painful, and is actually normally quite relaxing.
For women who are needle-phobic it is also possible to use acupressure and tui na massage techniques during IVF in a similar way to acupuncture, although finding a tui na practitioner who can do this for you may prove more difficult than finding an acupuncturist!