Should I have acupuncture before or after my embryo transfer, or both?
Most of the clinical trials that demonstrated a significantly increased chance of pregnancy administered 2 acupuncture treatments, one before and one after the embryo transfer. However one of the trials did only one treatment and still showed a positive effect on pregnancy rates. If it is convenient for you to attend the acupuncture clinic both before and after the embryo transfer then that is advisable. However if time or scheduling pressures prevent that then one treatment close to the time of transfer should suffice.
What if my embryo transfer is at 7am ?
The acupuncture IVF support clinic opens at 7.30am (when the building’s security system opens the front doors). So you would come for an acupuncture treatment straight after the transfer. If you have been having acupuncture throughout your IVF cycle it is likely you will have a treatment scheduled the day before transfer as well. If you have not had acupuncture throughout your IVF cycle, you might like to schedule a treatment the day before if your transfer is very early in the morning.
Why is it important to have the acupuncture treatments close to the time and place of embryo transfer?
We don’t yet know what exactly is the mechanism behind the observed increase in pregnancy rates of some of the research trials, so it is important at this stage to replicate the trial conditions. In the clinical trials which showed a beneficial effect of acupuncture on embryo transfer day, the treatment was given just before and just after the transfer.
In the only trial to show a negative effect of acupuncture (ie the pregnancy rate of the women who had acupuncture was lower than that of the women who did not) the patients had to drive across town from the IVF clinic to the acupuncture clinic (reference).
If I have more than one embryo transferred and I have acupuncture before and after the transfer, am I more likely to have a multiple pregnancy?
No, in fact in the United States, where it is common for more than one embryo to be transferred, researchers noticed that while the pregnancy rate increased, the percentage of multiples was lower in acupuncture groups than in control groups (reference). We are not sure how to explain this observation, but since the human uterus is designed to gestate one infant at a time acupuncture seemed to support what nature intended.
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