Acupuncture is often offered as a supportive option during IVF. How can acupuncture help with the symptoms associated with IVF, or even increase the chance of a successful pregnancy?
Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between acupuncture and IVF.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilisation, or IVF, is a method used to assist with conception of a baby. This may be due to low fertility in one or both partners, or other factors such as same-sex couples wishing to conceive.
Mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilised by sperm in a lab. The embryo is allowed to grow, then transferred into the uterus.
Can acupuncture help with IVF?
Every IVF journey is unique to the couple – it depends on the causes of reduced fertility and the overall well being of the prospective parents. So unfortunately, we can’t say everyone undergoing IVF can benefit from acupuncture!
However, there is some evidence that suggests acupuncture could be supportive during IVF treatment.
One review of 20 trials found that acupuncture may be effective compared to no treatment for increasing clinical pregnancies. However, they did find that the effect was similar with sham acupuncture. This may be because sham acupuncture has a mild effect on stimulating the same nerves.
Another review found that acupuncture may be beneficial for improving clinical pregnancy, implantation and live birth rate for those undertaking IVF.
One potential benefit of acupuncture may be around reducing symptoms of anxiety. One study found that women receiving acupuncture reported reduced anxiety and had a significant improvement in quality of life following embryo transfer.
One of the most extensive research reviews of acupuncture is The Acupuncture Evidence Project. This study looked at 122 conditions and whether there was evidence to support acupuncture as effective for these conditions.
Overall, the researchers found weak positive evidence for assisted conception in Assisted Reproductive Technology, which includes IVF. This means that further research is required to confirm the link between acupuncture treatment and IVF.
Is acupuncture a safe and effective treatment for IVF?
The research is still in early stages when it comes to IVF and acupuncture. It may be used to manage symptoms that often arise during IVF such as pain, fatigue and stress.
Acupuncture is generally considered to be safe, but as with all health treatments, adverse reactions may occur in some individuals. Studies of acupuncture and IVF have found symptoms such as bruising, and discomfort usually range from mild to moderate.
If you’re unsure whether acupuncture is appropriate for your symptoms or concerns, contact us directly to have a chat.
Our approach to support IVF and fertility
At Burnett House, we take an integrative approach to fertility and assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF.
Jamie offers acupuncture to help with pain, fatigue and stress, as well as pre and post IVF transfer acupuncture sessions.
Trish can offer herbs, supplements, diet and lifestyle advice to support a good balance of hormones.
If you’re looking for support throughout your IVF journey, we’re here to help. To book an appointment with Jamie or Trish at our Bundaberg clinic, call us on (07) 41522372