IVF and Acupuncture

Why I Always Recommend Acupuncture Alongside IVF

Starting IVF without Acupuncture is like competing in a triathlon without training. It’s going to be really tough, and your not giving yourself the best chance possible.

IVF (in vitro fertilisation) is a revolutionary science that has led to the birth of 270,000 babies in Australia and over 7 million worldwide.

IVF involves extracting a woman’s eggs from her ovaries, fertilising the eggs in a lab, growing embryos for 3-6 days, and then transferring an embryo back into the woman’s uterus.

IVF is often a last resort and generally presumed to be the golden ticket to a baby.

But many soon realise that isn’t necessarily the case and once on the IVF train, it can be a hard one to jump off.

There is never a guarantee a single round of IVF will lead to a baby, or even an embryo transfer. This is because during each step of the IVF process (egg collection, fertilisation, embryo maturation) eggs will be lost along the way. This is completely normal and known as the IVF Attrition rate.

Every person is different, but let’s just say you have 10 eggs collected. Approximately 80% of the eggs collected will be suitable to progress to the next stage – fertilisation. (This now leaves you with 8 eggs)

Out of the fertilisation process, we expect roughly 80% of the eggs to survive. This leaves you with 6 eggs.

Out of these 6 eggs (now embryos) only 30-50% will survive and make it to transfer day. This means you will have approximately 1-3 embryos suitable for transfer out of the original 10 eggs.

If you are under 35 there is a 32% chance that a single embryo transfer will result in a baby. (Typically IVF companies only transfer one embryo at a time.)

This number steadily decreases with age, giving someone aged between 39-42 a 15.5% chance per embryo transfer.

Given these rates you can understand why some people can spend years (and thousands and thousands of dollars) on IVF and sadly sometimes still not take home a baby.

So why do I always recommend Acupuncture with IVF?

Because acupuncture alongside IVF increases the success rates, giving you a greater chance of taking home a baby, sooner!

Promising research has shown that acupuncture:

  1. Increases the number of eggs collected: As you now know, IVF is a numbers game so the higher number of eggs you start with, the more embryos you are likely to have available to transfer. This may be due to acupunctures ability to balance the reproductive hormones.
  2. Increases the number of high quality embryo’s:  A higher quality embryo is more likely to result in a pregnancy, and given that the success rate per embryo transfer is between 15.5 % – 32%, we want to do everything we can to improve that chance!
  3. Increases the fertilisation & implantation rates: Statistically speaking, the more eggs that fertilise, the more embryos that will be available for transfer. Acupuncture supports implantation by increasing the blood flow to the ovaries and uterus which helps the embryo to implant.
  4. Improves pregnancy rate and reduces cancelled cycle rates: IVF can be extremely stressful and stress has a negative impact on fertility, so on top of regulating hormones and increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, acupuncture can be a great stress reliever and ultimately improve fertility.

So when should you start acupuncture?

Just like you wouldn’t start training for a triathlon the week before the race, acupuncture treatments should start well before you start your IVF injections.

Regular acupuncture treatments commencing 3 months before egg collection are recommended for optimal results.
IVF is a miraculous baby-making treatment which gives many people the opportunity to make the family they always dreamed of, acupuncture can help make this dream a reality a little sooner.

Sources:

https://www.rbmojournal.com/article/S1472-6483(15)00092-9/pdf
https://europepmc.org/article/med/26946729

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