Acupuncture to prepare for frozen embryo transfer

Many IVF clinics like to transfer embryos into a natural environment. Embryos that have been frozen and successfully thawed are transferred back into a uterus in its natural state at exactly the right time for implantation. Using electro-stimulation on acupuncture points on the abdomen in the months and weeks before the transfer, has been shown in one study to improve the structure of the uterine lining, and significantly enhance the implantation and pregnancy rate.

 

Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF

Acupuncture applied during the stimulation phase of the IVF cycle may address any symptoms you may be experiencing, and also incorporates specific points from clinical trials which demonstrate increased blood supply to the uterus and a regulation of hormones which may be important to follicle development and implantation. Recent analyses of the benefit of IVF patients receiving acupuncture have shown that patients who have treatment before and during the stimulation and implantation phases benefit more than those that have acupuncture only on the day of embryo transfer (reference)
However until more large scale, well designed studies are done it’s premature to make statements as to the effect of acupuncture on the live birth rate.

Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (including frozen embryo transfer)

These treatments are based on protocols used in clinical trials which showed that an increase in pregnancy rates in some groups of women (those for whom the expected pregnancy rate is 30% or less). (You can find the references for these trials here)
Not all trials or and only some meta-analyses have shown a benefit of receiving acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer.

Acupuncture at any phase of the IVF cycle

Acupuncture may be useful in managing any side effects experienced during an IVF cycle. Reduced fatigue, stress, moodiness, abdomen swelling and discomfort and other side effects are reported by many women using acupuncture during their IVF cycle. In addition women report greater relaxation and control of anxiety (reference), and overall greater resilience. The acupuncture treatment will be different for each patient and depends on symptoms.

Acupuncture after egg collection

Some IVF patients feel a benefit from having an acupuncture treatment the day or two after egg collection, to help reduce any discomfort from local tissue trauma or bleeding, and help prepare them for embryo transfer.

 

 

Acupuncture on day of sperm donation

 

Sometimes the pressure to produce a sperm sample on the day of egg collection can be significant enough to cause a problem. Acupuncture reduces anxiety and may increase blood flow to the genital area.

Acupuncture before the pregnancy test

Many IVF patients find the “two week wait” the hardest part (even when its only 10 days!). Acupuncture may be used during this time to keep the mind calm and the stress hormones low.