An introduction to acupuncture for IVF
There are many steps you can take before and during IVF treatment that may improve your chances of successful pregnancy. These include keeping a positive outlook, investigating your diet, taking fertility supplements and replacing strenuous exercise with more gentle movement. One of the most popular options is to use acupuncture. Some people believe acupuncture improves blood flow, reduces stress and balances your endocrine system.
Throughout your fertility journey, you’ll hear a lot about the endocrine system and how it relates to fertility and IVF. All this information can be overwhelming at first, but it is important and empowering to understand how your hormones can impact your IVF treatment. By understanding your endocrine system, you can properly understand the ways different practices, like acupuncture, may improve your chances of IVF success.
Hormones and the endocrine system
The endocrine system (also known as the hormonal system) is a messenger system made up of all the glands in the body that produce hormones. The endocrine system creates and controls the hormones in your body, sending them to your bloodstream and regulating them.
Hormones control how your body functions. They affect your metabolism, mood, growth, and reproductive and sexual health. The hormones monitored in IVF treatment include Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH). These two hormones stimulate the growth of your follicles and your ovulation. Another hormone, Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is released by your growing follicles. AMH can be used as an indicator of how many eggs you have remaining (also known as your ovarian reserve).
If your body is not producing enough of these hormones, you can experience infrequent ovulation or even no ovulation at all. This can make pregnancy without help very challenging. Several conditions can impact your body’s ability to produce these important hormones. These conditions include Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid issues, and the presence of excessive stress hormones.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an alternative medicine practice. When used as a fertility treatment, acupuncturists believe that it helps balance your endocrine system. During acupuncture, tiny, sterilised needles are inserted into the skin at specific parts of the body. This is thought to stimulate the central nervous system. Acupuncturists believe this promotes healing and blood flow to targeted areas, balancing hormones and reducing stress. In some case, needles may be heated or have a small electrical current run through them. Unlike some other complementary therapies, acupuncture is considered completely risk-free for people trying to conceive. This makes it a safe choice for people undergoing IVF treatment.
What does acupuncture for IVF involve?
Acupuncture for IVF is performed weekly during the three months leading up to an IVF cycle. It can also take place both before and after the embryo transfer stage. Your acupuncturist will ask you detailed questions about your goals, lifestyle and stress levels. They will then place acupuncture needles on various points on your body. These needles are left for around 20 minutes. The procedure is quick, painless and many people find it very relaxing.
Is acupuncture right for me?
We understand that alternative therapies like acupuncture aren’t for everyone. Although the procedure is safe when performed by a certified acupuncturist, it is important to consult your fertility practitioner before you choose to get acupuncture.
If you would like more information on how to get the most out of your IVF treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact Fertility North here.