Acupuncture increases the success rates of IVF and ICSI cycles Most couples are advised to try in vitro fertilisation (IVF). IVF was originally designed for women with absent, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes. However, today it is used for a variety of other fertility problems. The success rates of IVF are below 50%, depending on the age of the woman. This is because the underlying gynaecological problems haven’t been treated before an IVF cycle is started. Therefore, treating the underlying problems before starting an IVF cycle increases the success rates and reduces the risk of complications later on, for example miscarriages or foetal growth rate problems. IVF is essential a numbers game. Ideally, an IVF cycle will want to produce around a dozen good quality eggs at retrieval. Some of my patients retrieved more eggs than this, but it's not a good thing. More than a dozen will dilute the quality of the eggs, as there is only so much energy and blood to go around, like spreading butter thinly on a large piece of toast. Also more than a dozen eggs could lead to hyperstimulation (OHSS), which is a serious problem. Less than a dozen collected generally means a physical deficiency of some type, i.e. blood, yin, jing or qi. The day an egg is put back in can affect the success of the IVF cycle. Generally a fertilised egg is put back in from 1-5 days. Around 30% of eggs on day 3 on't live to day 5, so transferring a day 5 fertilised embryo, a blastocyst, greatly improves success rates, as it's stronger and more likely to implant. Having 9 sessions of acupuncture before IVF and then on the day of the transfer has been shown to increase the success rates of IVF by up to 50%! Acupuncture has also been shown to improve male fertility by improving sperm quality, thereby benefiting IVF when intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used. 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