There have been a variety of studies conducted reviewing the implications for acupuncture and fertility. A recent review of acupuncture’s effect on IVF treatment in the British Medical Journal stated that acupuncture could increase a woman’s chance of pregnancy by 65%. At the same time, IVF & ICSI acupuncture is safe and no adverse effects were reported.
From our TCM theory, acupuncture could improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs as well as boost blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining to help embryo implantation.
However, from the western medicine, the reasons acupuncture can increase success rates aren’t fully understood. Ultrasounds have shown that acupuncture can improve uterine blood flow, which may create a more hospitable environment for implantation. One thing most doctors and scientists seem to agree on is that acupuncture at the very least can have a calming effect on patients, which definitely benefit IVF or ICSI a lot.
If you are hoping to receive the full benefits of treatments, it is better to get acupuncture treatments through the whole fresh or FET cycle (1 or 2 times a week), including one session of acupuncture before embryo transfer and one after transfer on the day of transfer. When looking for a practitioner, try to seek out someone who are very experienced with fertility and IVF support, as they are familiar with the process of IVF and have a greater understanding of the points which should be manipulated.
Remember that acupuncture is not a guarantee that your IVF cycle will work, but it can be a natural way to improve your chances of success. Enjoy the relaxation benefits that acupuncture can provide, and sit back envisioning your healthy embryo accomplishing a smooth implantation into your uterus.