One of the most important implementations of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) during an IVF treatment is what is commonly referred to as Pre- and Post- Transfer Treatments. The chances of conception increase when reproductive specific acupuncture is administered prior to and shortly after the embryo is transferred to the uterus during an IVF treatment.
Recent scientific studies with IVF and acupuncture for infertility, have demonstrated that acupuncture immediately prior to and after embryo transfer assists fertility outcomes by improving uterine artery blood flow, decreasing uterine contractions, supporting endometrial lining and implantation and increasing pregnancy rates.
I looked back at 5 years of outcomes of women who did IVF alone and compare them with women who added acupuncture on the day embryo transfer and women who had acupuncture during their IVF cycles, around 13 to 15 sessions. The women who added more acupuncture were associated with a significant increase in the likelihood of having a baby. They were twice as likely to have a baby than women who did IVF alone, and 60% more likely when compared with women who just had two acupuncture treatments on the day of embryo transfer. Acupuncture helped their IVF outcomes. The key difference was that patients received more treatment.
If you are interested in adding acupuncture to your IVF cycle, ask your doctor for a referral. If your doctor doesn’t have a referral or you have your own, ask your acupuncturist about their level of training and experience in treating fertility patients. They should be able to describe their cases and successes with you, and if they have not established a relationship with your doctor, they should be willing to do so.
Some acupuncturists who specialize in treating fertility patients are Fellows of the American Board of Oriental Medicine, which requires its Fellows to pass an exam and receive continuing medical education.
At your initial acupuncture consultation, you can expect a review of your medical history including your bloodwork and tests, gynecological history, review of your partner’s sperm analysis, an interview including a thorough review of systems, and physical exams that include observing the tongue and palpating the wrist pulses. Chinese medicine practitioners will evaluate you based on the system of Chinese medicine and a treatment plan will be made.