Fertility Support with IVF and Acupuncture
In modern life, fertility has decreased due to significant changes in lifestyle and environment. Accordingly, infertility as a specialty has been established to solve more reproductive diseases and genetic problems. With this development, there are more technologies and medical treatments to help solve the corresponding problems.
What is IVF?
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a technique to help infertility or related genetic problems. It is a complex series of procedures to assist with the conception of a child. Under the ultrasound, the mature eggs are collected from ovaries, fertilized with sperm, and cultured for the formation of embryos in a laboratory. Depending on personal situation, the embryos can be transferred into the uterus or be frozen until a proper time for implantation.
Generally, the probability of natural pregnancy is 25% per month. With the assistance of IVF, the success rate of pregnancy rises to 40-50%. These statistics are based on the premise that the patient is under 35 and without reproductive system problems or diseases.
What affects fertility?
This is the most important and main factor. As age increases, the ovaries’ function is reduced which causes low egg count and poorer quality eggs. For every 5 years of age, the chance of conception decreases by 5-10%.
- Ovarian reserve
This can be evaluated by blood test and ultrasound, and it varies by individual. So, most treatment plans for IVF are based on the results of these tests.
- Uterus circumstance
Endometrial thickness, uterus diseases and inflammation in the uterus or pelvis can affect implantation. The treatment of diseases is a priority in a fertility treatment plan.
- Lifestyle and mental state
Unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as smoking and drinking or excessive tension and anxiety can affect fertility. These are details that should not be neglected when assessing and helping patients.
Increasing Success Rates with Additional Therapies
Despite pregnancy rates showing remarkable improvement with IVF techniques, a significant number of infertile couples still fail to conceive. The inability to achieve success after repeated attempts is an especially desperate situation for some couples and a huge challenge for doctors. The resulting stress also makes achieving results harder.
As the challenges increase, adjunct therapies may be proposed to meet corresponding difficulties. The common adjunct therapies are used in ovarian response, sperm, endometrium, embryos, and implantation, such as DHEA and testosterone, preimplantation genetic screening / preimplantation genetic, estrogen, aspirin, etc. Additionally, alternative therapies may be useful, such as acupuncture. These adjunct therapies are recommended and used in clinical practice to “add on” to the success rate. Importantly, the therapies and procedures offer effectiveness and safety when used under monitoring by doctors and lab examination.
The benefits of acupuncture have been demonstrated in procedures of IVF cycles and adjunct therapies. It is highly recommended and used to add to the success rate and reduce the side effects of other therapies.
How does acupuncture help?
- Improves the body’s environment: blood flow
Fluent blood flow is vital support to ensure the proper functioning of reproductive organs. Abundant nutrition of blood can improve the ovaries’ response to medication and the thickness of the uterine lining, egg quality, and implantation.
- Releases stress
Stress leads to hormonal disorder and slow blood flow. Acupuncture regulates the central sympathetic nervous system to release endorphins to calm your mind, slow your breathing and relax your body, which decreases cramps and contractions in the uterus. The regulation affects vasodilatation to increase circulation.
- Restores balance
Acupuncture improves the digestive and immune systems by correcting imbalance and reducing inflammation. Acupuncture is not only a pre-treatment for adding onto the success rate of IVF but also supports health during the pregnancy and successful birth.
When to schedule acupuncture
- Natural conception: the treatment will follow your cycles; you can start the sessions when you and your partner plan to have a baby.
- IVF support: it is appropriate to incorporate acupuncture during IVF cycles, so meet with your acupuncturist for a treatment plan before starting IVF.
- Childbirth: 1-2 months before the expected date of childbirth.
Viviane offers TCM evaluation and treatments in the Downtown (Xintiandi) clinic. She has extensive experience to treating in TCM and works closely with members for holistic solutions. Body & Soul offers a full range of TCM treatments. Click here to make an appointment.