Using acupuncture to increase your odds (from 20% to 40%) of getting pregnant with IVF.
I often get calls from women who are in the midst of an IVF cycle, asking “I’m doing IVF and I heard that acupuncture can increase my odds of getting pregnant, is that true?” The short answer is, yes, it is possible for acupuncture to improve your odds of success with IVF (read about the 2002 German study). The long answer is that you are a unique individual, with a unique reproductive and gynecological history, and whether or not acupuncture can help you is dependent on several factors including your age, gynecological and overall health, your lifestyle, your diet and your genetic makeup. A lot depends on egg donation that is typically involved in IVF, with the eggs being fertilized in the laboratory; or, unfertilized eggs may be kept at frozen egg bank and stored for later use.
Typically, I advise women to begin treatment a few weeks or months before the current/next IVF cycle begins. I believe this allows enough time for acupuncture, Chinese herbs and other treatment modalities (Mayan abdominal massage, chiropractic, etc.) to regulate the menstrual cycle, resolve lingering gynecological disorders that may be blocking conception and address imbalances that may be contributing to recurrent miscarriage.
Most women also want to know how acupuncture can help improve their odds with IVF. While treatment is different for each woman, it is believed that acupuncture may be able to help improve ovarian function by increasing blood flow to the ovaries, may help reduce stress and anxiety by triggering the body’s relaxation response and may help reduce the negative side effects of fertility drugs, all improving your odds of becoming pregnant.