If I do need IVF, how can acupuncture help?
For those who do need the extra support from Western medicine, a combination of acupuncture and fertility advice can help to prepare a couple for an IVF cycle and provide support throughout the process to reduce stress and help maximise chances of success.
acupuncture is always carried out in conjunction with mainstream Western medicine to ensure the best possible level of reproductive health.
Ideally women due to have IVF or ICSI and men having ICSI would benefit from 3 months of regular acupuncture prior to commencing IVF. This allows time for the acupuncture to balance any irregularities in the body and to prepare you for the work ahead. This is particularly recommended if you have had numerous fertility interventions e.g. clomid, stimulated IUI or repeated cycles of IVF or have a history of miscarriage. I recommend women have a break of three months between IVF cycles and unsuccessful pregnancies to allow the body and mind to replenish. Acupuncture can assist you in this healing process.
Treatment pre and post IVF
Many people do not think about having acupuncture three months prior to IVF and often contact me as their cycle is due to start. Do not despair. It is not too late. There is still plenty of support that acupuncture can offer. During down-regulation acupuncture seeks to keep you relaxed and we beleive that it may balance out any side effects you may be experiencing from your medication. During stimulation I tend to increase the regularity of treatments, working in partnership with your medication to increase blood supply to the uterus and ripen the ovaries. It is recommended that you have acupuncture before and after embryo transfer and this has been particularly well researched (e.g. Paulus). If you do nothing else, consider having this treatment. You will then be offered treatment in the week after your embryo transfer and this helps to keep you relaxed and positive during your ‘two week wait’ for your result.
Treatment during early pregnancy
When you learn that you have been successful and are now pregnant I then recommend weekly acupuncture until 8- 12 weeks. IVF pregnancies are extra special and acupuncture may help to support your wellbeing and keep you calm preventing early miscarriage.
The woman from Nardo's
Leonie is a qualified acupuncturist and member of the British Acupuncture Council (MBAcC). She graduated in Five Element acupuncture from The College of Traditional Acupuncture in Warwick and has worked for the Kite clinic in London, one of the UK's leading acupuncture practices. She specialises in fertility and works with GyneHealth on all aspects of women’s health.