Acupuncture has gained global recognition due to its proven effect on improving IVF outcomes significantly. This ancient healing technique can be a powerful adjunct to modern fertility treatments, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). This article will shed light on five key benefits of integrating acupuncture into your IVF journey, that can enhance your chances of successful conception and promoting overall well-being throughout the process.
What we will cover in this article:
- Understanding how acupuncture complements IVF treatment
- Diving the scientific rationale for acupuncture’s role in improving IVF outcomes
- Analyzing success rates when acupuncture is used with IVF
How Much Does Acupuncture Improve IVF Success Rates?
Acupuncture can improve IVF success rates by 60%.
There’s a boatload of high quality research showing that if you get around 12 acupuncture treatments before IVF that you can really make impact on your success rates.
Below is a summary of two recent research articles. I’ll also link to a page I keep with updated summaries of research fertility acupuncture research if you’re a nerd like me and what to know the nitty gritty details about how this stuff works.
Key Fertility Acupuncture Research Summaries
A large systematic review of past studies found that acupuncture increased the odds of clinical pregnancy by 65% compared with the control groups (PMID: 18258932
In another study, 1231 IVF patient records were assessed and outcomes were compared. They compared IVF with no treatment, IVF with just acupuncture, and IVF with Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine (WS-TCM). (WS-TCM is what is practiced by Dr. Hanson in Tampa, FL, and is an intervention of 12 acupuncture sessions before IVF, herbal medicine, diet, and lifestyle recommendations). The primary outcome was live birth. WS-TCM was associated with greater odds of live birth at 61%, compared with IVF alone (48%), or embryo transfer with acupuncture only (51%). WS-TCM was associated with increased live births compared with all groups, in donor and non-donor cycles. (PMID: 25911598)
The 5 Benefits of Acupuncture That Help Improve IVF Success Rates?
Acupuncture works to improve IVF outcomes by:
- Improve blood flow
- Balance hormones
- Boost egg quality
- Improve sperm quality / motility
- Reduce stress / anxiety
How does acupuncture work to improve IVF outcomes?
Acupuncture can potentially improve fertility through several mechanisms rooted in biomedicine. Here are some ways in which acupuncture may support fertility:
- Hormonal Regulation:
- Acupuncture may help regulate hormonal balance by influencing the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis, which is crucial for ovulation and menstrual cycle regulation.
- Improved Blood Flow:
- Acupuncture can enhance blood circulation to the reproductive organs, providing better oxygenation, nutrient supply, and hormone delivery to the ovaries and uterus, which may support egg quality and endometrial lining.
- Stress Reduction:
- Acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress by modulating the body’s stress response system. Chronic stress can negatively affect fertility by altering hormone levels necessary for ovulation, implantation, and pregnancy maintenance.
- Anti-inflammatory Effects:
- By promoting an anti-inflammatory response, acupuncture may help manage conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which are associated with chronic inflammation and may impede fertility.
- Improved Uterine Receptivity:
- By promoting a healthier endometrial lining and potentially reducing uterine contractions post embryo transfer in assisted reproductive techniques, acupuncture may enhance uterine receptivity to implantation.
- Improved Sperm Quality:
- In men, acupuncture may benefit sperm parameters such as count, motility, and morphology, possibly improving male fertility.
- Enhanced Success Rates of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART):
- Some studies have shown that acupuncture, when used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproductive techniques, may improve success rates.
- Modulation of Immune Function:
- Acupuncture can modulate immune function, potentially creating a more favorable environment for embryo implantation and pregnancy maintenance.
The research shows 12 treatments is the number of acupuncture treatments needed to improve IVF success rates.
Ideally we begin this before your first stim cycle to help improve egg quality.
The egg growth cycle is around 300 days, with the last 90-120 days being the most important in their recruitment and development.
So now you have an idea of what acupuncture is doing behind the scenes. Think of each acupuncture treatment is like a nice gentle nudge. We need to constantly stimulate your body at various times to help it along the way. One nudge won’t do much.
Research shows we need around 12 treatments to hit our target numbers. Anything is better than nothing, but the closer we get to 12, the more ideal we are.
Remember we are trying to improve blood flow, oxygenation, and cellular functioning during the growth cycles of your eggs, uterine lining and in the testes to improve sperm.
Growth Cycles in The Body & Their Timelines
- Egg growth cycle – 90-120 days that we can influence.
- Uterine Lining Growth cycle – 2 weeks
- Sperm growth cycle – 90 days
When should I start Acupuncture for IVF?
- Female: It’s best to start acupuncture as early as you can before you begin your egg retrieval phase so we can help to improve the quality and quantity of your eggs.
- Male: If you’re a male, then around 90 days before the procedure to improve sperm quality.
Acupuncture treatment is generally done 1 to 3 times a week to achieve our target # of treatments before your retrieval and implantation procedure occurs.
Where to find Acupuncture for IVF in Tampa, FL?
Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM at Hanson Complete Wellness located at 1202 W. Linebaugh Ave, Tampa, FL 33612 has worked with hundreds of women and couples throughout the IVF process. Dr. Hanson has studied extensively with the leaders in the field of integrative Reproductive Medicine. You can call the clinic directly at 813-534-0311 to schedule a visit and begin the process.