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Couples having difficulties in conceiving through traditional methods often turn to other techniques to assist them in conceiving. One of the most popular reproduction therapies currently being used is in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
IVF is the process of harvesting a woman’s eggs and then fertilizing them with sperm via a laboratory. Some studies have shown that pregnancy rates increase by as much as 40 percent for women undergoing acupuncture treatment in addition to IVF.
Acupuncture is probably the first therapy that patients think of when they consider seeking Traditional Chinese Medical (TMC) healing.
As one of the most common and certainly one of the oldest types of Chinese medical therapies, acupuncture has gained international recognition in recent decades as western scientific research increasingly corroborates what TCM practitioners have known for millennia – acupuncture is a technique that has provable therapeutic benefits.
Acupuncture encompasses a range of procedures all of which involve stimulating anatomical points or meridians on the body using different techniques. The most common and well-known technique involves delicately piercing the skin with fine, metal needles by hand.
That said, acupuncture can also include electro-acupuncture in which the needles are stimulated by electrical current, ear acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion, in which the mugwort herb is burned at the end of the acupuncture needles.
According to FertilityIQ.com, when it comes to fertility, one of the first orders of business in supporting reproduction is to ensure your reproductive organs are receiving adequate nourishment.
Stress and/or aging can lead to a decline in blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.
Acupuncture can increase blood flow and the release of nutrient-dense blood to the ovaries and uterus. Increased ovarian blood flow may help with the response to fertility medications and in-vitro fertilisation treatments. Increased uterine blood flow ensures a thick uterine lining and sets up an ideal environment for implantation.
In a 2002 study, 80 women underwent IVF treatment and at the same time received acupuncture. Of these, 34 women (42.5%) became pregnant. There is further evidence that acupuncture can aid in the success of IVF. According to a preliminary study by the British Medical Journal “evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation.”
A more recent study found that 51% of 114 women who received both IVF and acupuncture treatment became pregnant, compared with only 36% of the women who received only the IVF treatment.
Even more interesting, the rate of miscarriage for women who received both IVF and acupuncture was 8% whereas the rate for those who received only IVF was 20%. Furthermore, women who received acupuncture also had lower rates of ectopic pregnancies.
Many women who have had problems with high follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels or who have had a miscarriage are being advised that fertility acupuncture has good potential as a solution to their problems.
There are several reasons why acupuncture appears to increase the chances of success in IVF treatments. Studies show that manual acupuncture has a positive effect on pituitary and ovarian hormone levels and that electro-acupuncture treatments stimulate and improve blood flow in the uterine arteries of infertile women.
Research suggests that women who choose to combine IVF and acupuncture treatments have more chances of a positive outcome if they undergo their acupuncture treatment in the afternoon before the transfer of their embryos, as well as on the day after the transfer.