Fertility complications are becoming more and more prevalent with an increasing number of women turning to IVF for help (Smith et al., 2012). With the difficulties conceiving, comes the anxiety and frustration of having to go through multiple cycles of IVF, not always having answers or reasons for a negative result (Nandi et al, 2014). Consequently more and more women are seeking other supportive means, like Acupuncture for fertility and Chinese Medicine to support their fertility journey (Smith et al., 2012).
Why include Acupuncture in your fertility journey?
Acupuncture is widely used as an adjunct to ART and IVF with indications it may assist in reducing the time of conception and increasing live birth rates. In a retrospective study conducted by Hullender Ruben et al. (2015), 1231 patient records were reviewed and found that when IVF was combined with whole systems, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, there were greater odds in the result of live births**. The timing of acupuncture in the study included around egg collection as well as before and after egg transfers (Hullender Ruben et al., 2015).
A systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by Zheng et al. (2012), assessing 24 studies with a total of 5807 participants found that acupuncture has the potential to improve the clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates in women undergoing IVF**. There was significance in the timing of the acupuncture, with the study suggesting that live birth rates were greater when acupuncture was performed around the time of egg collection**.
Going through the process of IVF can be emotionally taxing, with women believed to experience reduced emotional wellbeing up to three months following their IVF cycles (Smith et al., 2019). This highlights the ongoing and unmet psycho-social needs women are faced with while on the fertility journey (Smith et al., 2019). A study by Smith et al. (2019) looking at the effects of acupuncture on anxiety and quality of life in women undergoing IVF found that receiving acupuncture may reduce anxiety experienced by women around embryo transfers**.
When should I start IVF Acupuncture?
Fertility is about having a thriving reproductive system that is happy and healthy - no matter what age, stage or phase of life you are currently in. The health and quality of an egg is determined by how healthy the body is in the 3 months prior to the egg being released during ovulation (McGee & Hsueh, 2000). This is because it takes 90-120 days for a single dominant follicle to develop to the point of ovulation (McGee & Hsueh, 2000). Therefore, a minimum of 3 to 6 months preparation to start is recommended, as it takes time to create a shift in the body.
**Note: As acupuncture research is still developing, more studies with better study designs would always be recommended to reinforce results.
Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health - Book an Appointment
Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health is a Jindalee acupuncture clinic located in the Centenary suburbs of Brisbane. We have clients that come from all over Brisbane, including Kenmore, Indooroopilly, Graceville, Sherwood, Oxley, Mount Ommaney, Ipswich, Annerley, Chapel Hill, Jamboree Heights, Sinnamon Park etc.
Hullender Rubin, L.E., Opsahl, M.S., Wiemer, K., Mist, S. D., & Caughey, A. B. (2015). Impact of Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine on Vitro Fertilisation Outcomes. Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 30(6), 602-612. https://doi.org.10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.02.005.
McGee, E.A. & Hsueh, A. J. W. (2000). Initial and Cyclic Recruitment of Ovarian Follicles. Endocrine Reviews, 21(2), 200-214. https://doi.org/10.1210/edrv.21.2.0394
Nandi, A., Shah, A., Homburg, G. & Homburg, R. (2014). Acupuncture in IVF: A review of current literature. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 34(7), 555-561. https://doi.org/10.3109/01443615.2014.919997.
Smith, C. A., Grant, S., Lyttleton, J., & Cochrane, S (2012). Using a Delphi consensus process to develop and acupuncture treatment protocol by consensus for women undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment. Biomed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12(88), 1-9. Retrieved from www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/12/88.
Smith, C. A., Lacey, S. D., Chapman. M., Ratcliffe, J., Norman. R. J., Johnson, N. P., & Fahey, P. (2019). The effects of acupuncture on the secondary outcomes of anxiety and quality of life for women undergoing IVF: A randomised controlled trial. Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2019(98), 460-469. https://doi.org.10.1111/aogs.13528.
Zheng, C.H., Huang, G. Y., Zhang, M. M., Wang, W. (2012). Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertility and Sterility, 97(3), 599-611. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.12.007.