Preparing to conceive – immune factors

Implantation of the embryo in the uterus is a vital and pivotal event which determines the success of an ongoing pregnancy after conception, or after transfer of an embryo in an IVF cycle.
The crucial role that the immune system plays in the process of implantation and the development of the placenta is gradually being elucidated though there is much we still don’t know. A positive finding of immune factors like anti-cardiolipin antibodies, anti- thyroid antibodies, anti-nuclear antibodies or an excess of some types of NK cells can indicate that there may be subtle imbalances in the immune environment of the uterus which are not conducive to establishing a healthy pregnancy.

Most women diagnosed with immune factors affecting fertility will be prescribed drugs to dampen the immune system and/or to reduce blood clotting. Although we are awaiting research to elucidate mechanisms, some patients will choose to have acupuncture as an adjunct therapy. We know that acupuncture is effective at increasing endorphins and other neurotransmitters, and it is thought that acupuncture may modulate immune function through this action. While we don’t yet know the mechanism, the increase in implantation rates in some of the acupuncture studies on IVF patients has been suggested to possibly be related to a regulation of intra-uterine immune factors.

 

Schedule; acupuncture once a week, twice a week at time of ovulation, or on the day of embryo transfer. Read More