Acupuncture for IVF Protocols

Acupuncture for IVF Protocols

NCCRM works closely with licensed acupuncturist David Peters of NC Natural Fertility Center  in Cary for patients seeking therapy that compliments their cycle.  Over the last seven years, David has helped hundreds of couples achieve pregnancy through his collaborative acupuncture treatments.  Click here to read more about David Peters, L.Ac., LMBT, MSOM.

How does acupuncture help with fertility treatments?  Please see the articles below.

Acupuncture increases Blood Flow to the Ovaries and Uterus to Increase Fertility Potential with IVF

Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Stener-Victorin E, etal Human Reproduction 1996; 11:1314-1317.  This study showed that blood flow to the uterine arteries was significantly increased not only during the time of treatments, but for up to 14 days after!
This study shows that acupuncture can be particularly useful to women that have known blood flow issues to the uterus and ovaries, but it can help all women going through IVF. A series of acupuncture treatments are given preceding the IVF cycle 6-12 weeks prior to increase blood flow, balance hormones and reduce stress hormones that can have a negative impact on fertility rates during IVF. These treatments can assist in creating a thicker uterine lining and increased follicular maturation leading up to and during an IVF cycle. When women are injecting the Follicle Stimulating Hormone medications like (Gonal-F, Menopur, Bravelle, Follistim,etc.), the increased blood flow can increase the efficacy of these drugs and decrease the cost associated with these expensive medications during an IVF cycle. I regularly see a significant increase in rising Estrogen levels and follicle size the day after my patients have an acupuncture treatment. On days when they have not had an acupuncture treatment, the Estrogen levels and follicle size still increase, but to a lesser degree.
I also commonly see my patients yielding an increase in mature follicles, higher fertilization rates and more embryos to freeze when they undergo a series of acupuncture treatments before and during an IVF cycle. Especially if they have had one or more failed IVF cycles.
Acupuncture increases the blood flow to the ovaries to nourish the developing follicles and create better egg quality and stronger embryos. It normalizes the function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis to regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production which in turn improves ovarian function and egg quality. Acupuncture relaxes the body and reduces stress levels (elevated stress can prohibit conception by blocking blood flow to the reproductive organs and causing an imbalance in hormonal production, thus resulting in irregular menstrual cycles, lack of ovulation, high FSH levels, poor ovarian production, and diminished egg quality).

Acupuncture can also do the following:

Increase the quantity and quality of follicles during maturation
Increase blood flow tot he uterus to increase uterine lining thickness and improve implantation
Improve blood flow to the reproductive organs and prevent uterus contractions after embryo transfer
Help to prevent OHS(Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome) and reduce side-effects
Diminish or eliminate side-effects of pharmaceuticals associated with Fertility
Decrease the chances of miscarriage by improving blood flow and relaxing the uterus
Strengthen the immune system
Ease emotional fluctuations and reduce stress associated with Infertility
Improve Male issues such as Sperm Count, Motility and Morphology

Acupuncture for IVF Embryo Transfer

There have been several studies showing the benefit of acupuncture treatment with a specific protocol before and after an embryo transfer during an IVF cycle. There are 14 research studies published in the peer reviewed journal Fertility and Sterility. This journal is highly regarded internationally as one of the best sources for Reproductive Endocrinology research studies. These studies have indicated that acupuncture performed before and after IVF embryo transfer has increased the rates of pregnancy by as much as 35-50%. That is a large increase when you add up all the time, money, effort, emotion, etc. it takes to go through an IVF cycle. Both you and your doctor wants you to succeed with conception. Why not add acupuncture?
In the meta-analysis done on all of these studies, it appears that the population that has the most increase in pregnancy rates while having a pre and post acupuncture treatment at the time of embryo transfer is the women who have a less than 50% chance of conceiving with IVF. This is great news for Reproductive Endocrinologists and patients. While women that have more than a 50% chance of conceiving with IVF also get benefit from acupuncture, the less than 50% population actually receives more benefit. The women who benefit most tend to be in the category of increased age (36 and older) and women who have had failed IVF cycles.
Acupuncture can help with IVF cycles in many other ways as well. By receiving acupuncture 3 to 6 months prior to doing an IVF cycle, a women can prime her body in order to perform better with follicular maturation, blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, reducing inflammation, reducing stress hormones that can throw of your cycle. Being educated about lifestyle and nutritional habits that can improve your Fertility potential as well if you implement changes that will balance and harmonize your system. The IVF process can be a bit stressful, so going into it with more tools for emotional and mental well being can not only make it a more comfortable journey, but lowering stress levels can also improve your results.

To learn more or schedule a consultation:
Call (919) 233-1680 or

Acupuncture Research Studies in Fertility & Sterility that show Acupuncture to have a significant benefit on Pregnancy Rates for Women having an IVF transfer

Youran, D. et al, 2008 Volume 90, Sup. 1, p.S24
Teshima, D. et al, 2007 Volume 88, Sup. 1, p.S330
Udoff, L. et al, 2007 Volume 86, Sup. 1, p.S145
Benson, M. et al, 2006 Volume 86, Sup. 1, p.S135
Dietrle, S. et al, 2006 Volume 85, p. 1347-51
Westergaard, L. et al, 2006 Volume 85, p. 1341-46
Smith, C. et al, 2006 Volume 85, p.1352-58
Quintero, R. et al, 2004 Volume 81, Sup. 3, p.S11-12
Magarelli, P. et al, 2004 Volume 81, Sup. 3, p.S20
Paulus, W. et al, 2002 Volume 77, p. 721-24

To find out more about how acupuncture can assist you with your Fertility Potential, please visit NC Natural Fertility Center.


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