Acupuncture Support During IVF

Traditional Chinese medicine has been used as a successful adjunct to IVF, GIFT, IUI, ICSI, ART procedures to increase pregnancy outcomes. The success rates for in-vitro or other medically assisted fertility treatments remain disheartening, yet when used in conjunction with Chinese Medicine increases the likelihood of conception.

There are different approaches to acupuncture support of IVF and other assisted reproductive procedures.

A Basic Approach – Pre And Post Embryo Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture treatment should occur within 24hrs before and after embryo transfer.

For the treatment prior to transfer, acupuncture is thought to increase the arterial blood flow to the uterus to nourish and support the endometrium, move Qi (energy flow) and blood, as well as create physical and mental relaxation for the woman prior to the transfer.

For the treatment after transfer, acupuncture treatment is used to create a calm environment in the uterus and minimise any discomfort or cramping from the transfer procedure. Acupuncture points are selected that will support healthy implantation of the embryo and also improve the health of the blood flow and tissue of endometrium to support a pregnancy.

Beyond the Basic Approach – Continual Acupuncture After Embryo Transfer

We recommend Acupuncture treatment 4 days after transfer to further assist implantation, then weekly until 12 weeks’ gestation. By continuing to stimulate blood flow to the blastocyst, acupuncture helps to maintain the health and strength of the blastocyst-corpus-luteum relationship, thereby maintaining the proper level of progesterone. Then, after 10 weeks pregnancy, your placenta takes over the role of secreting progesterone. Acupuncture stimulates blood flow to the placenta helping it to do its job of protecting and nourishing your growing baby. One major reason for miscarriage is in appropriated blood flow to the placenta.

A meta-analysis of seven clinical trials in which acupuncture was used to support embryo transfer during IVF has concluded that it improves rates of pregnancy and live birth. Dutch and American researchers analysed results from seven clinical trials (selected as eligible from a total of 108), all published since 2002 and carried out in four Western countries. They included data on 1366 women and compared acupuncture given within one day of embryo transfer, with sham acupuncture, or no additional treatment. All except one used a similar acupuncture protocol (based on Paulus et al). The analysis showed that combining real acupuncture with embryo transfer was associated with significant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy rate. Women who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer procedure and 91% more likely to have a live birth (1).

  1. Xie ZY, Peng ZH, Yao B, Chen L, Mu YY, Cheng J, Li Q, Luo X, Yang PY, Xia YB. The effects of acupuncture on pregnancy outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2019 Dec 1;19(1):131.