Acupuncture in the Treatment of Infertility
Acupuncture for Fertility Treatment
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat infertility. There are a multitude of studies that suggest a positive effect of acupuncture for treatment of ovarian dysfunction, male infertility, and for its impact on the embryo transfer during IVF. With the advent of modern technology and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures, old and new are married together to create a more successful outcome.
What does acupuncture do for fertility?
There are many reasons to pair acupuncture with IVF. Acupuncture increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, modulates hormone levels, decreases stress levels, decreases side effects of medications, relaxes the uterus for embryo transfer and therefore, helps to increase the success rates of pregnancy.
In addition to the physical benefits, acupuncture can work on an emotional level as well. Those of you who have experienced the emotional trials of infertility will appreciate this. Chinese Medicine does not separate body and mind. It is believed that correction of emotional imbalance will improve physical body functions. In this way, acupuncture can create balance by easing anxiety, tension, depression and insomnia.
When to do acupuncture during IVF
The most benefit can be seen when treated at least 3 to 6 months prior to IVF to get the body in an optimal state. However, if time is short, even a few treatments during the “stim cycle” (ovarian stimulation) and around the time of embryo transfer can still be helpful. During treatment, hair-like needles are placed in different areas of the body in order to give “instructions” for healing. Most patients feel very relaxed during and after the session.
Talk to your doctor about a referral to a certified, knowledgeable acupuncturist. This can be an incredibly beneficial adjunct to your infertility treatment.