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Acupuncture Increases The Success Rates Of IVF And ICSI

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.

References

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Balk, et al. (2010) The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: A pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 16, 154–157.

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.

Cheong et al. (2008) Acupuncture and assisted conception. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD006920.

Dieterle, et al. (2006) Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Fertility and Sterility Vol. 85, No. 5.

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Jo, et al. (2017). Effectiveness of acupuncture in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome undergoing in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med.

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Magarelli, et al. (2004) Acupuncture & IVF Poor Responders: A Cure? Fertility & Sterility, Vol. 81, Suppl. 3, S20.

Magarelli, et al. (2005) 12th World Congress on Human Reproduction, Venice Italy. OB/Gyn News.

Magarelli, et al. (2008) Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertil Steril; 92(6): 1870-9.

Magarelli et al. (2009) Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertil Steril; 92:1870–9.

Manheimer et al. (2008) Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ; 336 (7643): 545-9.

Paulus, et al. (2002) Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertility and Sterility; Vol. 77, No. 4.

Quintero et al. (2004) A Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blind, Cross-Over Study Evaluating Acupuncture as an Adjunct to IVF. Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) and the Eastern Center for Complementary Medicine. Fertility & Sterility; Vol. 81, Suppl. 3.

Sela et al. (2011) Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for women undergoing intrauterine insemination. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 2, e77–e81.

Smith, et al. (2006) Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Fertil Steril; 85 (5): 1352-8.

Teshima, et al. (2007) The effect of acupuncture in assisted reproduction techniques. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 88, S329–S330.

Udoff, et at (2014) The effect of acupuncture on pregnancy outcomes in in-vitro fertilization (IVF): a randomized controlled trial. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 102, Issue 3, e333.

Westergaard, et al. (2006) Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Fertil Steril; 85: 1341-6.

Xu et al. (2015) Effect of traditional Chinese comprehensive therapy on gestation in patients with previously failed in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. J Tradit Chin Med; 35(4): 428-433.

Youran et al. (2008) Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 90, S240–S241.

Yu, et al. (2007) A Pilot Study Evaluating the Combination of Acupuncture with Sildenafilon Endometrial Thickness. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 87, Issue 4, Supplement 2, Page S23.

Zheng et al. (2012) Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysisFertility and Sterility; Vol. 97, No. 3.

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.

Zhang et al. (2013) Analgesic effect of acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4) on transvaginal oocyte retrieval with ultrasonography. J Tradit Chin Med; 33(3): 294-297.

Zhou, et al. (2016) Effects of "menstrual cycle-based acupuncture therapy" on IVF-ET in patients with decline in ovarian reserve. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu, 36 (1): 25-8.

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