Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF
This treatment schedule is based on protocols used in clinical trials which demonstrate increased blood supply to uterus and ovaries (reference) and a beneficial regulation of hormones which may be important to follicle development and implantation (reference). A significant increase in pregnancy rates was reported in these trials also.
Schedule: 2 treatments per week for 4 weeks (optimal) plus treatment at time of embryo transfer.
Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (including frozen embryo transfer)
These treatments are based on protocols used in clinical trials which showed that an increase in pregnancy rates in some groups of women (those for whom the expected pregnancy rate is 30% or less). (You can find the references for these trials here)
a – before or after transfer …… one treatment b – before and after transfer …… two treatments
Acupuncture at any phase of the IVF cycle
Acupuncture can be used to manage any side effects you might experience and reduce anxiety. These treatment protocols are based on the clinical experience of many acupuncturists and their patients. Reduced fatigue, moodiness, abdomen swelling and discomfort and other side effects are reported by many women using acupuncture during their IVF cycle. In addition women report greater relaxation and control of anxiety (reference). The acupuncture treatment will be different for each patient and depends on your symptoms. These treatments can be combined with Schedule 2 above.
Schedule: 1-2 treatments per week as needed.
Acupuncture after egg collection
IVF patients are recommended to have an acupuncture treatment in the days after egg collection, to reduce any local tissue trauma or bleeding, and help prepare a calm environment for the arrival of an embryo. This treatment can be combined with Schedule 2 or 3 above. Schedule: 1 treatment within the 2-3 days following egg collection.
Acupuncture before the pregnancy test
Many IVF patients find the “two week wait” the hardest part (even when its only 10 days!). Acupuncture is used during this time to keep the mind calm and the stress hormones low.
Schedule: 1 or 2 treatments between the time of embryo transfer and the pregnancy test.
Acupuncture to prepare for frozen embryo transfer
Many IVF clinics like to transfer embryos into a natural environment. Embryos that have been frozen and successfully thawed are transferred back into a uterus in its natural state at exactly the right time for implantation. Using electro-stimulation on acupuncture points on the abdomen in the 2 or 3 menstrual cycles before the transfer, has been shown to improve the structure of the uterine lining, the implantation rate and the pregnancy rate.
Schedule: 1-2 treatments per week in the 2-3 cycles before frozen embryo transfer.