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When to have fertility acupuncture, and why

Originally published over at The Ribbon Box

How can fertility acupuncture support conception?

Did you know that combining IVF with regular fertility acupuncture treatments significantly increases success rates?

Studies show that acupuncture can help to:

  • build the uterine lining by increasing blood flow to the area
  • improve hormonal balance 
  • have more regular and effective ovulation
  • lower anxiety levels 

Can fertility acupuncture benefit men?

Acupuncture can benefit anyone looking to improve their fertility. To increase the chance of conception, it is best to see both partners (if you have one) for an acupuncture consultation, to boost and maximise fertility.

This can give you a better chance of getting pregnant, especially if there is suspected male infertility. Studies show that in cases of male infertility, acupuncture for fertility can increase the chances of getting pregnant.

What are the benefits of acupuncture for men?

Research on the effects of acupuncture on sperm shows a wide range of benefits, including boosts to:

  • sperm quality
  • sperm motility
  • sperm morphology
  • fertilisation rates during IVF
Fertility Acupuncture for men and women

When to have fertility acupuncture

Acupuncture provides natural support for your fertility by elevating implantation rates, balancing hormones, and supporting a healthy pregnancy.

The best time to see a practitioner is three period cycles before your planned conception, to prepare your body and give it the best possible foundation for success. It can take over a year for follicles to develop (from their primordial follicle state to dominant (Graafian) follicles), and be ready for fertilisation. In the five-month period before this, follicles will grow blood vessels, so nutrients and hormones in the blood supply can affect follicular development. Having treatments during this period helps to improve blood flow and ensure optimal nutrition across your ovarian and follicle development, as well as hormonal balance.

Women who are addressing diminished ovarian reserve, or who have other specific conditions may need to build in more acupuncture treatment – usually across three to six menstrual cycles.

Preparation during IVF and IUI cycles

If this is your first IVF or IUI treatment, when to have fertility acupuncture depends on your menstrual cycle. The recommendation is to start acupuncture for fertility eight to twelve weeks before your cycle.

If you have a history of failed IVF cycles, like poor ovarian reserve, it is recommended that you have acupuncture treatments for a longer period of approximately three to six months for optimum fertility.

Acupuncture can improve IUI or IVF success rates by increasing blood flow to the ovaries during IVF or IUI treatment. It also helps relax the uterus and reduce uterine spasms after the IVF transfer, so that it is more receptive to the treatment.

In addition, acupuncture reduces stress hormones, leaving you feeling relaxed and restored in your mind and body by increasing oxytocin and endorphins. It also helps with side effects from the medication, such as hot flashes, anxiety, and insomnia.

How stress impacts the body and fertility

Stress is one of the most underestimated factors affecting your health. It causes insomnia and tension in the shoulders, as well as digestive and fertility issues; even more so if it turns into a chronic problem.

It’s a well-known fact that zoo animals have a hard time conceiving. Similarly, it happens in humans if we are constantly in flight or fight mode and feel “unsafe”. Our reproductive area shuts down, with our body telling us it’s not safe to get pregnant and preparing us for “danger”. That “danger” can be any stressful situation like financial issues, relationship problems, traffic jams… and we know that the last two years have been particularly stressful for many people. All of this will trigger your fight and flight responses in the body.

All of this may also impact when to have fertility acupuncture; support could be useful during a particularly stressful period, for example, to help you regain balance.

Treatment during the egg stimulation phase

Regular treatment twice a week during the egg stimulation phase is usually needed to increase the response to stimulation medication.

Good blood flow is very important during this phase, particularly in older women. Research has shown that a lack of good blood flow will result in more damaged eggs and, conversely, that good blood flow produces better quality eggs.

The Two-Week wait and pregnancy support

During the two-week wait, it may be a good idea to come for acupuncture between Day 6 and Day 10 after the egg collection.

The 2WW is normally a mental roller-coaster. It can be emotionally draining, and this time could be perfect to have fertility acupuncture to minimise stress and alleviate anxiety.

IVF transfer day and implantation

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment on the day of and after an IVF transfer can significantly increase IVF success rates, sometimes almost by twice as much.

Acupuncture sessions should be scheduled before and after the IVF transfer day, one session before and one after, to facilitate the body’s response to the treatment, to relax the uterus, and to reduce uterine contractions that might be triggered by the transfer process.

IVF implantation will happen one to two days after the blastocyst transfer. Embryo implantation failures can happen because of compromised uterine receptivity, strong uterine contractions, genetically abnormal embryos, high stress levels, and abnormalities in the immune response.

Acupuncture for fertility and Chinese medicine

Both acupuncture and Chinese medicine create a perfect blend for healthy egg development by gently balancing hormones and increasing blood flow. In addition to acupuncture treatments, Chinese medicine herbs can improve your fertility.

Most pregnancies are without complications; however, IVF pregnancies have a higher risk of failure and miscarriage. After conceiving, it is recommended to continue with treatments to help with the development of the foetus.

Continuing fertility acupuncture on a weekly basis until 12 weeks, when the placenta takes over and the chances of miscarriage greatly decrease, will help by:

  • improving your health
  • decreasing pregnancy complaints
  • helping to prevent miscarriages
  • minimising morning sickness

If you would like to see more about the services we provide to improve your fertility, contact me or if you’re ready to book an appointment, click the button below.

The team at The Ribbon Box know that family building, pregnancy, and parenthood aren’t always straightforward. Join their community to stay up-to-date, and get practical support, discounts, and handy tips just like these delivered straight to your inbox.

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