During normal insemination, the sperm meet the egg in the woman's fallopian tube. In IVF, the sperm meet several eggs in a petri dish.
If you are thinking of going down the assisted route for your fertility treatment, you should look to prep your body for at least 3 months before starting your IVF cycle. Research has shown that a combination of acupuncture and herbs taken for 3 months prior to starting an IVF cycle significantly increases the pregnancy rate. You may conceive naturally before starting your IVF cycle as acupuncture is very relaxing and can help you fall pregnant naturally.
If you cannot get access to Chinese herbs and only acupuncture, research has shown that acupuncture for fertility can increase the success rates of IVF treatment. You should have at least 9 sessions of acupuncture before the embryo transfer.
Certain acupuncture points have been shown to improve male fertility and improves the chances of the IVF cycle being successful. Research has shown that acupuncture can improve the success rates of assisted conception, donor egg cycles and sperm counts.
How often do I need to have acupuncture during IVF?
During a long IVF cycle, it's recommended to have acupuncture weekly whilst downregulating until you start the stimulating drugs. It's then important to have acupuncture treatment twice a week during follicle stimulation when the eggs are growing. In a short IVF cycle, you should have acupuncture treatment twice a week when you start the ovary stimulating drugs.
On the day of the embryo transfer, when the fertilized embryos are put back in, research has shown its ideal to have acupuncture treatment directly before and straight after the transfer. That often means twice in one day, or late the previous night if the IVF clinic has booked the embryo transfer first thing in the morning. Once the embryo transfer is done, acupuncture treatment should be continued until the day of the pregnancy test.
Research has shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the uterus, prevent uterus contractions and aid implantation of the embryo into the uterus wall.
Do I need to have acupuncture after embryo transfer?
Its recommended to have acupuncture at least twice during the 2 week wait until you take the pregnancy test.
Do I still need to have treatment once pregnant?
If the pregnancy is via IVF or the couple have had repeated miscarriages after falling pregnant naturally, I recommend having acupuncture treatment until at least 20 weeks. Again, this is the minimum length I would recommend. Having acupuncture throughout the whole pregnancy is ideal. Treatment at my acupuncture clinic can then be restarted at 35 weeks to help prepare the mother for labour.
If the couple experienced repeated IVF failures and have finally fallen pregnant using IVF, or have a low AMH, used a donor embryo or the woman is over the age of 40, I would recommend having acupuncture throughout the whole pregnancy. The woman will be often be weaker and the pregnancy precious, so every effort needs to be utilised to maintain the pregnancy.
Watch my animated video below which explains how IVF acupuncture treatment can help increase the success rates of you having a baby.