Chinese medicine has been improving fertility naturally for thousands of years, and today is safely used to support Western fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). A course of acupuncture and herbal medicine is recommended in the months before commencing an IVF cycle to regulate the menstrual cycle and balance hormone levels. By treating the root causes of infertility, patients may conceive during this preparation time, while the chance of a successful IVF cycle is increased.
Many studies have found that acupuncture can significantly improve the success rates of IVF by up to 65 percent.
Clinical experience suggests that acupuncture helps in the following ways:
- increases blood flow to uterus and thickens lining
- improves ovarian function and egg quality
- regulates hormone levels for improved follicular response
- relaxes the body to decrease stress and anxiety
- reduces side effects of drugs used in IVF
- lessens the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation in women with PCOS
- decreases chances of miscarriage
Initial studies showed that success rates of IVF almost doubled when acupuncture was incorporated on the day of embryo transfer. More recently it has been found that acupuncture in the weeks before egg collection and transfer has a beneficial effect on stress hormone levels, as well as a higher pregnancy and live birth rate.