IVF Support Program
Spring Acupuncture’s IVF Support Program uses a carefully selected and applied combination of acupuncture, gentle herbs, supplementation and dietary advice to increase the effectiveness of IVF.
At Spring Acupuncture we understand that undergoing IVF treatment can be a very stressful experience. There can be a number of factors that exacerbate stress levels during an IVF cycle, and this stress can create unforeseen consequences that many render expensive IVF treatments ineffective.
Our IVF Support Program follows the latest in research data that suggests acupuncture in conjunction with IVF can significantly improve clinical pregnancy and live birth rates in women undergoing IVF treatment (1),(6),(8). Our program works by reducing stress, improving egg quality and promoting an optimal environment for implantation, resulting in significantly improved chances of pregnancy and live birth rates.
What is the IVF Support Program? Is there research behind it?Our IVF Support Program uses acupuncture, gentle herbs, supplementation and dietary advice to promote an ideal environment for optimal follicular development, sperm quality, endometrial lining, embryo attachment and early stage pregnancy. Our treatments are integrated into your IVF schedule and provide support for the ‘critical’ IVF procedures, before and after egg collection and embryo transfer.
Research: Improving IVF with Acupuncture
Acupuncture for stress associated with IVF:
A study conducted by researchers at the University IVF clinic in Pittsburgh found that with the use of acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer, participants in the acupuncture group not only had a higher pregnancy rate (55.6% in acupuncture group vs 35.5% in the control group/non acupuncture group), they also had low stress scores at both the before and after embryo transfer stress level testing (2).
This suggests that stress can play a significant role in IVF pregnancy rates (2). In fact, a previous study on stress and IVF Implantation rates highlighted the fact that a prolonged state of stress is associated with high blood levels of activated T-cells, which can lead to a reduction in implantation rates (3).
Furthermore, in 2009 the Fertility and Sterility Journal included an article that concluded the use of acupuncture during the medication phase on an IVF cycle is beneficial in lowering stress hormones leading to a more normal fertile cycle dynamic. (4)
How does our IVF Success Program enhance fertility?
Our IVF Support program uses acupuncture and Chinese medicine combined with The Fertile Life Method™ and neurolinguistic programming to support each phase of the woman’s cycle as she prepares for and undergoes IVF treatment. Ideally treatment would begin 3 months prior to the commencement of IVF to prepare the body and address a women’s whole health and any underlying complex issues that may impact the success of their IVF. Our treatment will focus on balancing hormones, cycle regulation, improving and supporting the development of healthy eggs and endometrial lining, as well as reducing stress and the side effects of IVF medications.
For optimal IVF support during an IVF cycle the following is recommended:
Part One: During the follicular phase (Pre egg collection)
- Days 1-3 of cycle:
During this active period phase, acupuncture is used to promote healthy shedding of the endometrium. One treatment is recommended in this time, however if you suffer severe pain during this phase it may be recommended to have a follow-up treatment within 48 hours to assist with pain management and proper shedding.
- Days 4-10 of cycle:
This is key follicular development time and is a highly important stage of treatment for women who have been diagnosed with poor egg quality. Acupuncture treatments during this phase will focus on establishing an optimal environment for follicular growth and development by increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. This will ensure proper nourishment and energy is available to the follicle during this key period of growth. Two-Three treatments are recommended in this phase.
- Day of Egg Collection:
It is recommended to have acupuncture immediately before and after egg collection to assist with stress reduction as well as prepare and maintain an internal environment that in conducive with the next stage off your IVF treatment, embryo transfer.
Women can sometimes feel extremely anxious and excessively worry about this collection procedure which can lead to a disruption of hormones that is not favorable for conception. Acupuncture at this time is especially helpful for these women and can play an important role for those having this procedure at clinics that do not use an anaesthetic, as it will help to relax and prepare both the body and mind.
The post-collection acupuncture treatment will promote fast healing of any trauma caused by the procedure, reduce any bleeding and promote blood flow to the uterus to maintain a healthy endometrial lining.
Part Two: During the Luteal Phase (Post egg collection)
- The days in between collection and transfer:
This is highly stressful time for most couples as they wait to see if their follicles and sperm develop into healthy embryos. Acupuncture during this phase with assist with blood flow to the uterus for healthy development and maintenance of the endometrial lining, as well as reduce stress hormone levels. This treatment is especially important for women who have been told their endometrial lining has not reached the desired thickness for implantation.
1 treatment 2-3 days post collection is recommended during this phase.
- Day of Transfer:
Research shows that acupuncture on the day of transfer can significantly improve your chances of a successful pregnancy. IVF alone has a 12-32% clinical pregnancy rate (6), however, when combed with acupuncture treatments immediately before and after embryo transfer, your chances of pregnancy can increase to 44.6% (8).
Around 4-5 days after you transfer, implantation of the embryo into your uterine lining should be occurring. An acupuncture treatment at this stage may assist with proper implantation.
1 treatment 4-5 days post transfer is recommended during this phase.
- The week after transfer:
This too can be a highly stressful time as couples wait for their results. Any amount of stress during this stage can have a significant impact on embryo implantation. Acupuncture during this phase promotes embryo attachment as well as reduces stress factors that are not conducive to a healthy early stage pregnancy.
1 treatment is recommended during this phase.
(Please note that this is only a guide to our IVF Support Program as each program will be individualized to your specific needs and requirements)
If you’re thinking about using IVF or are currently undergoing an IVF cycle, consider the proven positive effects of acupuncture on the success rate of your conception. Our easy online booking system makes it simple to book all your follow-up treatments and our staff are always happy to answer any of your questions via our contact form.
Research: Acupuncture Increases Pregnancy Rates
Chart data was obtained from the following sources; 1. Macaldowie A, Wang YA, Chughtai AA & Chambers GM 2014. Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2012. Sydney: National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, the University of New South Wales 2. Dalton-Brewer N et al, Hum Fert 2010 Vol 12 No 4 212 – 255.
Research: Acupuncture Increases Live Birth Rates
Research: Use of Acupuncture before and after embryo transfer
Human Fertility Journal Abstract (8)
(abstracts from UK Fertility Societies Conference 2009)
All IVF cases in which acupuncture was administered before and after embryo transfer at a large private infertility centre were reviewed for a 2 year period. All patients were treated by the same practitioner (NDB) using Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA). Patients received acupuncture to the protocol developed by Paulus, W.E., Zhang, M., Strehler, E., El-Danasouri, I., & Sterzik, K. (2002). Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertility & Sterility, 77, 721–724: Liver 3, Spleen 8, Stomach 29, Pericardium 6, GV 20 were manually stimulated five times over a 40-min period, at Bridge, approximately 10–20 minutes prior to embryo transfer. Embryo transfer was carried out under ultrasound guidance as per routine at Bridge. Ten minutes following embryo transfer acupoints Spleen 6, Stomach 36, Spleen 10, Large Intestine 4 were manually stimulated five times over a 40-min period before discharging the patient. Ear points 34, 55 and 58 were used in both treatments and not stimulated.
A total of 71 patients underwent 74 cycles involving acupuncture before and after embryo transfer.
Overall, positive pregnancy rates/ET were 44.6% comparing favourably with the non-acupuncture historic control group.
When analysed by maternal age at time of treatment, biochemical pregnancy results for acupuncture treated women were as follows: <35 years−52%; 35–39 years – 45%; 40–45 years – 35%.
Results for women aged 35–39 years and those over 40 years were markedly better than controls suggesting that acupuncture intervention of this type may be more effective in older women. No side effects or complications were experienced by women receiving acupuncture. Acupuncture is a safe, adjunct therapy in IVF and in other randomised clinical trials has been shown to significantly improve outcomes when used at the IVF centre before and after embryo transfer. Our preliminary data are encouraging and suggest that a trial involving older women may be effective.
Nick Dalton-Brewer, David Gillott, Nataly Atalla, Mohamed Menabawey, Pauline Wright, & Alan Thornhill
The London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre, London, UK
Research: IVF Cycle-specific Live Birth Success Rates in Australia and New Zealand
The follow excerpt has been taken from the Australia and New Zealand Assisted Reproductive Database (ANZARD) 2012 statistical report;
‘Since 2009, ANZARD has included data items that make it possible to follow a woman’s successive ART treatment cycles. A cohort of 16,565 women was followed from the start of their first autologous fresh cycle during 2009, through subsequent fresh and thaw cycles until December 2012, or until they achieved a live delivery. The cycle-specific live delivery rate for all women was 21.1% in their first cycle, and apart from an initial drop from cycle one to cycle two, the live delivery rate remained stable at around 14–17% for the next seven cycles. One quarter of women did not proceed with a subsequent treatment cycle when they did not achieve a live birth.’ (6)
These less than desirable statistics of IVF success in Australia highlights the importance of acupuncture during your IVF cycle to significantly improve your chances of conception.
Acupuncture Is Also Highly Effective In Improving Male Fertility
At Spring Acupuncture we focus on female and male infertility. Studies have shown the electro acupuncture on lower abdominal points increase testicular blood flow therefore improving sperm quality (5). As sperm is regenerated every 120 days, male factor infertility can be easily improved with acupuncture, herbs and supplementation.
Ideally a 3 month period of treatment prior to IVF is best, though just the one treatment can help reduce the internal oxidative environmental factors that are not conducive with healthy sperm quality and motility.
When should you start the IVF Support Program?
It is ideal to start our IVF support program 3 months prior to starting IVF to allow time to implement any lifestyle changes, reduce internal and external toxic environmental factors and improve any fertility health issues that may impede a healthy cycle (PCOS, Endometriosis, poor sperm quality etc.).
However, we understand that many couples do not have this amount of preparation time so it is important to understand that any treatment is better than none at all. No matter what stage of your IVF journey you are at, we will develop a treatment plan that is best suited to your needs.
If you’re thinking about using IVF or are currently undergoing an IVF cycle, consider the proven positive effects of acupuncture on the success rate of your conception. Our easy online booking system makes it simple to book all your follou-up treatments and our staff are always happy to answer any of your questions via our contact form.
Research References On This Page
- Cui Hong Zheng, C.H., Huang, G.Y., Zhang, M.M., & Wang, W., Effects of Acupuncture on pregnancy rates in Women undergoing In-vitro fertilization: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Fertility and Sterility. 1-11-2012 (Link to research)
- Balk J et al, The relationship between perceived stress, Acupuncture, and Pregnancy Rates Among IVF patients: Pilot Study, Compl Therapies in Clinical Practice 2010, 16, 154-157, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (Link to research)
- Ebbesen S. et al, Article; Stressful Life Events are Associated with a Poor In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) Outcome: A Prospetive Study.. Hum Reprod 2009;24(9):2173-2182. Human Reproduction (Link to research)
- Cohen, M., et al.,Changes in Serum Cortisol and Prolactin Associated with Acupuncture During IVF, Magarelli, PC, D Cridennda,. Fertil Steril 2009 in press fertility and Sterility (Link to research)
- Cakmak Y et al, Point- and Frequency-specific Response of the Testicular Artery to Abdominal Electroacupuncture in Humans., Fertil Steril 2008;90:1732-8, Fertility and Sterility (Link to research)
- Macaldowie A, Wang YA, Chughtai AA & Chambers GM 2014. Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2012. Sydney: National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, the University of New South Wales (Link to research)
- Westergaard, L. G., et al. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial, 2006 American Society for Reproductive Medicine;85:1341– 6. (Link to research)
- Dalton-Brewer N et al, Hum Fert 2010 Vol 12 No 4 212 – 255 Human Fertility (abstracts from UK Fertility Societies Conference 2009)
- Manheimer Eric, Zhang Grant, Udoff Laurence, Haramati Aviad, Langenberg Patricia, Berman Brian M et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2008; 336 :545 (Link to research)