Recent clinical research has demonstrated a 50% increase in IUI/IVF treatment success rate when performed in conjunction with acupuncture. While acupuncture can be beneficial at any stage in the process, for optimal results acupuncture, Chinese herbs and dietary and lifestyle therapy should be used before, during, and after IVF treatment. To optimize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby, you should prepare your body for a minimum of three to six months. Because the egg recruitment process begins about 150 days prior to their release, and because sperm renewal takes 90 days, acupuncture treatments for fertility support should ideally begin at least three months prior to trying to conceive, whether naturally or with medical assistance.
This period is a window of opportunity for you and your partner to nourish and prepare your body, enhancing your chances of success by creating the right conditions for conception. Regular acupuncture treatments during this period can improve ovarian function in terms of egg maturation and quality of ovarian reserve, balancing hormones, boosting quantity and quality of sperm, strengthening and regulating the immune system, and dramatically easing the stress and anxiety levels often associated with IUI and IVF cycles. This is also a good time to make nutrition and lifestyle changes if necessary, since overall health prior to conception plays a key role.
Acupuncture improves the success rates of the ART interventions by increasing responsiveness to fertility medications, stimulating blood flow to the uterus and ovaries during the stimulation phase of IVF or a medicated IUI cycle, improving endometrial lining and quality of the follicles, and enhancing the effectiveness of fertility drugs while mitigating some of the side effects. It can also help relax the uterus and ease cramping in the aftermath of embryo transfer or IUI, reduce stress, and alleviate nausea and headaches associated with anesthesia. For women with PCOS, acupuncture can also help adjust the fluid balance in the low abdomen, and avoid potential symptoms of hyperstimulation.
One of the most important implementations of acupuncture as a supporting modality to IVF cycle are pre- and post- transfer acupuncture treatments involving reproductive-specific protocols administered prior to and shortly after the embryo is transferred to the uterus which have clinically demonstrated to significantly increase implantation and live birth rates. Given the financial and emotional investment of an IVF treatment, you owe it to yourself to explore this option before your next transfer.
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