Both IVF and ICSI can be overwhelming and bring about their fair share of stress. More and more IVF specialists are recommending acupuncture to increase the chances of a positive pregnancy and birth.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE HELP?
There are several ways acupuncture can have a positive impact on your fertility treatment, especially when it comes to the stress associated with IVF and ICSI.
Acupuncture helps increase the blood flow to your uterus and ovaries, leading to a better response to fertility drugs and a thicker uterine lining, which makes an ideal implantation site for the embryo.
Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture can promote the importance of a regular menstrual cycle without pain or clots, balancing your follicular and luteal phases, and making sure you’re ovulating and trying to conceive at the right times.
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WHEN CAN I GET ACUPUNCTURE?
Those thinking about or currently going through an IVF cycle are very familiar with the overwhelming emotions that come with it.
IVF clinics may recommend that you see an acupuncturist when going through these phases of an IVF cycle:
- Stimulated phase – During this phase your IVF specialist will put you on drugs and a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) to stimulate the ovaries to produce a high number of eggs. We usually recommend 2 acupuncture sessions a week before egg collection.
- Egg collection – After egg collection, patients sometimes report feeling bloated and swollen with cramping and breast soreness due to their hormone levels being so high. There can also be local tissue trauma, and some women can develop ovarian hyperstimulation during this time. We recommend having 1–2 acupuncture sessions after egg collection and before IVF transfer.
- In ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), a single sperm is selected and injected into each egg. This is used in cases where male infertility is severe. This is why it’s so important for men to come in for acupuncture treatment as well as women.
- Embryo transfer – This usually takes place 5 days after egg collection, sometimes earlier. During this time, the embryo is transferred into the uterus. We usually recommend having one acupuncture session before transfer and one acupuncture session after your transfer.
The time following embryo transfer before receiving results can be an extremely stressful period. We recommend our patients have 2 acupuncture treatments before discove ring their IVF results to help calm the mind.
Your IVF specialist may also recommend acupuncture for the following:
- Poor egg quality
- Poor sperm quality
- Thin endometrial lining
- To support the development of follicles
- Numerous failed embryo transfers