Step to step guide: Acupuncture for IVF/ICSI

How can acupuncture help you through your IVF/ICSI treatment?

Most patients consider undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment to be a major life event. A deeply personal experience that can be filled with a lot of stress, worry and uncertainty.

With this in mind; I has compiled a step by step guide explaining how acupuncture can support you through the IVF/ICSI process and flexible evening and weekend appointments to accommodate you through an already demanding time.

The Acupuncture Loft's protocol for using acupuncture during IVF/ICSI involves using published research on clinical trials such as the well known  'Paulus et al'  randomised control trial with an achieved pregnancy rate of 42.5% with the use of acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer in comparison to a pregnancy rate of 26.3% of women who did not use acupuncture. The Paulus protocol is a popular choice for acupuncture clinics, even with the Zita West clinic. 

It has been my greatest pleasure to have witnessed many a  positive outcome for for a lot of fertility clients with the use of acupuncture and this protocol.

You are encouraged to attend regular acupuncture treatments for at least two months prior to your IVF/ICSI treatment for optimal results. However, if you are just about to start IVF/ICSI there still so many positive benefits when using acupuncture alongside your IVF/ICSI treatments. Acupuncture supports getting pregnant, staying pregnant and IVF, IUI, and ICSI treatments.

Step one

SUPPRESSING YOUR NATURAL MONTHLY CYCLE

At the beginning of your IVF treatment you will be given a medication to suppress your monthly cycle. For approximately two weeks you will administer a daily injection or a nasal spray of the drug provided. Acupuncture can help relieve drug side affects such as hot flushes, excessive thirst, sweating, anxiety, irritability and disturbed sleep.

Step two

BOOSTING YOUR EGG SUPPLY

With your natural cycle suppressed, your next stage of treatment will be to administer daily FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) injections for roughly 10-12 days. FSH stimulates the ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible for collection and fertilisation. Acupuncture can help increase blood flow to the ovaries and endometrium & increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the follicles while also improving the egg's capacity to make energy to pass onto the embryo after fertilization. Eggs that consume more oxygen (ATP) before fertilization - form better quality embryos.

Step three

CHECKING IN

During this stage, you will have a scan to check in on how your ovaries are doing and possible blood tests. You will also receive a final hormone injection to help your eggs mature.

 

What an egg needs while maturing -

 

1. The right nutrients - please ask me for your individual nutrition plan according to the principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine during your first appointment.

2. Good blood & oxygen supplyAcupuncture can help increase both oxygen & blood flow.

3. The right hormone signals

4. Needs the capacity to supply enough energy to the embryo - this has a big significance when your AMH (egg count) may be considered a bit low - Successful implantation depends more on the egg having more energy.  Acupuncture has been shown to help improve the egg's ability to make energy.

Step four

EGG COLLECTION & FERTILISATION

Acupuncture at the time of egg collection is recommended to reduce anxiety & stress sometimes caused by this waiting period before your transfer. While also helping your body heal faster after your procedure. We also recommend that if you have a partner, he also receives acupuncture treatments prior to egg collect to improve sperm quality and quantity.

Step Five

EMBRYO TRANSFER

Based on protocol two acupuncture treatments are needed on the day of your transfer: one prior and one just after. Flexible early morning, evening and weekend appointments are available during the day of your transfer.

Step six

POST TRANSFER

A gentle relaxing treatment is recommended during the next two weeks of waiting for your results.