Increase IVF & IUI Success with Fertility Acupuncture
The field of fertility acupuncture exploded after the 2002 publication of a landmark study published in Fertility and Sterility by Paulus et al. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) by comparing a group of women receiving acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer with a control group receiving no acupuncture. The results of the study showed pregnancies in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas the pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.
Moreover, in another published study, researchers found that when combining IUI with acupuncture treatments, 65.5% of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4% of the control group, who received no acupuncture therapy.
Using acupuncture in conjunction with IVF cycles can increase the success rate of IVF significantly as seen below by comparing Zen Fertility Center's pregnancy rates across 5 age groups to the national average.
How does Acupuncture Work?
How can acupuncture have such a profound effect on the most technologically advanced fertility treatment available?
Insemination and IVF success rates can be optimized by:
- increasing the blood flow to the ovaries to nourish the developing follicles and create better egg quality and stronger embryos.
- increasing blood flow to the testicles for improved sperm quality to optimize the male’s contribution to embryo quality. (Note: this is particularly important in couples who experience repeated chemical pregnancies with IVF + ICSI.)
- regulating the body’s natural hormonal production which in turn improves ovarian function, egg quality, and proper progesterone levels.
- relaxing the body and reducing stress levels to improve reproductive function
Acupuncture can accomplish all this by very simply increasing blood
circulation. The blood carries the nutrients, hormones, and other
healing factors needed for the reproductive organs such as the ovaries,
uterus, testicles, and brain to function optimally. Just as your body
can heal itself from minor injuries by automatically increasing blood
flow to the affected area with healing agents, the insertion of
acupuncture needles stimulates blood flow to the areas where the
acupuncture needles are inserted.
Cost Effectiveness of Using Acupuncture with IUI and IVF
Consider that the cost of an IVF cycle averages $15,000 per cycle, and, according to a March 2011 study, patients need an average of 3.6 medicated fertility treatment cycles to have success with an overall success rate in 30% of patients. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control 2008 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report, only 30% of ART cycles using fresh nondonor egg or embryos resulted in a live birth.
Thus starting acupuncture as soon as possible to prepare for your cycle will result in the best success. Because the effects of acupuncture are cumulative, the more treatment you are able to receive before the actual cycle, the better the likelihood of success. Your treatment is adjusted to wherever you are in your cycle so if you haven’t started medications yet, acupuncture will help prepare you by regulating ovarian function for optimal egg quality. If you have started your injections, acupuncture will assist in improving ovarian function to produce more eggs in response to the medication. Preparing the uterine lining with acupuncture at this stage is also critical for implantation of the embryo. Stress is an important factor that can determine how successful a cycle is so managing it with acupuncture may be vital.
Recommendations to Prepare for Your Next Cycle
- Reduce your stress with conscious deep abdominal breathing throughout the day.
- If the cost of your IVF is particularly stressful for you, have your partner take care of paying all the bills so you can focus on the medical treatment.
- Practice positive affirmations to change your negative thought patterns about your body or your fertility. An example is: “My healthy womb nourishes my baby”.
- Eat healthier, less processed foods that are nutrient dense without added sugars and chemicals (i.e. preservatives, food coloring, etc.).
- Ask your doctor about the success rate of your treatment so you have a realistic expectation.
- Call us today to start acupuncture.
IVF Success Stories
"I came to Zen Fertility this summer looking for hope and help in starting a family, and they’ve given me just that. Heidi was there for me when I was in tears and hanging on to my last positive threads of hope. It was so nice to have that support and know that I was doing something good for my body and soul. Eric and Julie have also been wonderful and with me every step of the way to ensure my IVF went well. Thanks for all the knowledge and hope you’ve given me over this journey!! Will send baby photos in less than 9 months" - Stefanie H., San Diego, CA
"I saw numerous studies that showed that acupuncture had been used successfully with IVF to combat infertility, so I decided to give it a shot. I've had a very positive experience with Heidi and have been really impressed with how she customizes each weekly appointment based on what's going on in my life. I started seeing her in March, underwent IVF in April, and am happy to say that I'm now well into my second trimester of pregnancy. I continued to get treatments from Heidi during the first trimester of my pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage and now to help with development and delivery preparation. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, professional, dedicated and personable acupuncturist, I highly recommend her." - Katie S.
"Our struggle with infertility has ended and it was all thanks to everyone at Zen Fertility Center. After 6 failed IUI’s we decided to try IVF. After reading about the benefits of acupuncture, I decided to also begin treatment. Before acupuncture the most I ever produced was 1-3 follicles. The last IUI was more successful with 8 follicles; however, this last cycle was also accompanied by excruciating ovary pain caused by over stimulation and of course a negative pregnancy test. So I began going to Zen Fertility Center and the results were astonishing. Side effects diminished, my stress levels also lowered. Instead of increasing the dose of my medications like before, they were lowered dramatically, and the most incredible result of all, I produced 16 follicles! Both my retrieval and transfer were successful and I am now expecting my first child. There are no words to describe how grateful I am not only for the positive experience and results, but also for always being accommodating with scheduling appointments and for always answering all my questions, and for truly paying attention to my special needs. I look forward to continuing treatment throughout my pregnancy and after delivery to do what is needed to have a natural pregnancy and childbirth!" - Luz B., San Diego, CA
"My husband and I tried to get pregnant for some time. We tried IVF and it was not successful for us at the first time. Our doctor recommended to us acupuncture. I went to Zen Fertility Center. I had acupuncture before the embryo transfer and continued to have acupuncture. My acupuncturist asked me some important questions at my first visit and she knew exactly what I needed. After some time we had the positive pregnancy test! After that I continued acupuncture once a week. It helped me to relax and helped my nausea a lot. After the sessions I get a lot of energy and feel really good. I would recommend it to everyone! It works like magic!" - N. Windle, San Diego, CA