Acupuncture improves implantation
During IVF cycles, some fertility clinics will give medication to improve blood flow to the uterus. This helps to thicken the uterus lining making it ready for implantation of the fertilised embryo.
The uterus lining should be more than 8mm thick. If it is too thin, then the fertilised embryo may not be able to implant properly into the uterus, resulting in a failed IVF cycle.
One such drug that's commonly used to increase blood flow to the uterus is sildenafil citrate (Viagra). People think that such drugs only work on men, but they can also have some effect on women too.
Research has found that acupuncture can actually enhance the effects of drugs such as sildenafil citrate.
Acupuncture works in a similar way to sildenafil citrate. Separate research has shown that acupuncture improves blood flow to the uterus. Combining these two together is a powerful way of improving blood flow to the uterus.
Researchers found that the uterus lining was thicker when a combination of sildenafil citrate and acupuncture were used together, thereby thickening the uterus lining, making it ideal for implantation of a fertilised embryo during an IVF cycle.
Benson, et al. (2006) Impact of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization cycles: A prospective single blind randomized study. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 86, Issue 3, S135.
Fu, H, et al. (2011) Acupuncture on the Endometrial Morphology, the Serum Estradiol and Progesterone Levels, and the Expression of Endometrial Leukaemia-inhibitor Factor and Osteopontin in Rats. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011, Article ID 606514.
Isoyama et al. (2013) Influence of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation when embryo implantation has failed: a prospective randomised controlled clinical trial. Acupunct Med; 31:157–161.
Zhang, et al. (2011) Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study. Fertility and Sterility Volume 96, Issue 4, 912-916.