After my last article (Why I always recommend Acupuncture alongside IVF), I received lots of questions regarding how to time your acupuncture treatments in relation to an IVF cycle.
So here it is:
- We generally recommend weekly Acupuncture treatments 3-6 months prior to egg collection. Treatments are aimed at impacting follicular development, influencing the health of the eggs well before they are collected and balancing reproductive hormones. We modify the treatments weekly in accordance with the changing phases of the menstrual cycle.
- As Acupuncturists, we focus on your mind, body and emotions to find the underlying cause of your infertility and work to correct any disharmonies/deficiencies within the body during these treatments too.
Ovarian Stimulation Phase
- Acupuncture treatments continue once you start your IVF injections. Our treatments at this time are aimed at improving your ovaries response to the IVF stimulation as well as positively influencing endometrial development.
If we have prescribed you herbal supplements, typically they will stop at this point.
Final Egg Maturation Phase
- Ideally we aim to treat you on either the day of the “trigger” or the day after. The treatment is aimed at improving blood flow to the uterus and ovaries to increase blood supply, hormone and nutrient delivery to the follicles to assist with the final maturation of the eggs.
Egg Retrieval Phase
- An Acupuncture treatment after egg retrieval is recommended if you are feeling stressed or anxious (which many are at this stage as IVF can be a difficult, overwhelming process.)
- Acupuncture treatment during this phase is also suggested for women who are showing signs of OHSS (ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome.)
- On the day of your transfer, where logistically possible it is best to have 2 Acupuncture treatments – one before the transfer and one after. If not possible, we aim to have two treatments within 24 hours of the transfer. These treatments are aimed at relaxing the uterus, reducing uterine contractions and increasing endometrial receptivity to help with implantation.
Two Week Wait Treatment
- The “two week wait” can be an anxiety ridden time and Acupuncture is useful to reduce stress levels and settle the nerves. It has also been found Acupuncture during this time may help to improve implantation and pregnancy rates.
Juggling life, work, finances, IVF and Acupuncture treatments can be overwhelming. We want to reduce your stress, not add to it. Work with your Acupuncturist to figure out what is logistically realistic for you.