It seems that many couples are having harder times conceiving. Could it be the years of birth control that many women have been taking? Maybe, but none the less many couples are ending up in the fertility clinic for procedures such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
These treatments are often expensive and couples turn to acupuncture in conjunction with these fertility treatments to increase clinical outcomes.
So how can acupuncture help?
There have been various studies preformed on how acupuncture can help with assisted reproductive therapies. In one study 160 patients where divided into two groups, one that received acupuncture before and after embryo transfer and one that had no acupuncture.
The clinical outcomes documented 34 out of the 80 (42.5%) patients in the acupuncture group became pregnant verses the 21 out of 80 (26.3%) of patients in the non acupuncture group. With the conclusion that acupuncture is a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates after assisted reproductive therapies.
Often acupuncture is administered leading up to the procedures including on the day of the IUI or embryo transfer.
These acupuncture treatments can increase the blood flow to the uterus, reduce stress during the ART procedures, increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries to maximize the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the follicles while they are developing, encourage endometrial growth and improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs.
One of the most important things a couple can do during this time is to minimize stress. Reduced stress has shown to result in higher implantation rates.
Paulus W, et al. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertility and Sterility April 2002;77(4):721-4.
Lyttleton, J. (2013). Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine. (2nd edition). Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.