IVF and Oriental Medicine
In Oriental Medicine, we consider infertility (like many other physical ailments) to be caused by an imbalance in one or more of the 12 meridians that conduct energy throughout the body. By helping to remove blockages to an individual’s energy channels and to restore balance, acupuncture offers an efficient treatment for infertility.The specific causes of infertility vary from patient to patient, so the treatment will also vary by individual. Some patients may benefit from acupuncture treatments alone; some patients should focus on stress reduction first; some need to work on their gynecological problems first, and others may benefit from using Chinese herbal medicine or other nutritional supplements with the acupuncture treatments. RE searching website called “Fertility IQ” has listed acupuncture as the one of modality to improve the chances of getting pregnant.
My fertility treatments incorporate fertility awareness and practical tips with Oriental medicine. I will help you identify your individual fertility signals and the peak times each month that you should try to get pregnant. I will educate you on how to incorporate changes to your diet, exercise regimen, and lifestyle to improve your fertility. I will also guide you on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. More and more infertility patients are aware of the benefit of combining Western and Oriental Medicine to achieve their goal. Patients can combine acupuncture treatments with treatments such as intra-uterine insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to enhance the success of fertility. I recommend that IVF patients start their acupuncture treatments at least one month before their scheduled IVF cycle.
I work as a team with my patients and their partners to achieve the goals of fertility and healthy births. While I cannot guarantee pregnancy for any individual, a large portion of my practice is devoted to fertility. This part of my practice has grown as a result of word-of-mouth referrals from patients who have successfully become pregnant and achieved healthy births with the help of acupuncture treatments. One of my patients had tried IUI six times and IVF twice before she sought help from Oriental Medicine. After she had started her acupuncture treatments with me, she reported that the number of follicles, as well as their size and health, improved, and she is now pregnant. Another patient had also tried IUI six times and IVF twice; in addition to her own gynecological issues, her husband’s sperm count was very low. I treated both this woman and her husband once a week for three months before their third IVF treatment, and they are now the very proud and happy parents of twins. Especially, if you are diagnosed as “unexplained infertility” or you have very healthy follicle growth and good numbers of high-grade embryos, yet your IUI / IVF failed, I highly suggest getting acupuncture treatment
with IUI /IVF.
What an ultrasound shows before and after the acupuncture treatment is remarkable!
The color of women’s ovaries changes from cloudy to bright and clear.
The follicles usually double in number.
The lining of the uterus become thicker.
The number of embryos increases significantly.
How Oriental Medicine Can Help Patients Improve IUI/IVF
How Does Acupuncture Work for Infertility?
Traditional acupuncture involves inserting thin stainless-steel disposable needles into points on the surface of the skin, causing an exchange of electrons within the body, similar to the flow of electricity. This transfer sets in motion an elegant interplay of the body’s own energies. According to Western scientific research, acupuncture’s effects on the body cn be explained by a number of theories. Robert Becker is a researcher in electrophysiology, the study of the relationship of electrical fields to the human body. He was one of the first to use microcurrents to help heal bone fractures. Becker theorized that acupuncture meridians were paths of electrical energy running throughout the body. For electrical energy to flow smoothly, however, there would have to be “amplifiers” along the lines of current.
Another theory addresses the neurological effects of acupuncture. Neural theory holds that inserting needles at acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system, releasing chemicals to either alleriate pain or affect the body’s internal regulation system. Acupuncture needles also stimulate specific nerve fibers to carry electrical impulses back to the brain, increasing beta-endorphin concentrations. Higher beta-endorphin concentrations reduce the sympathetic “fight or flight” response in the body and produce a feeling of relaxation and euphoria similar to runner’s high. This is one of the reasons people often feel more relaxed after an acupuncture treatment.
Different acupuncture points have different effects. Some will decrease the sympathetic nervous system response which becomes important for women who are trying to conceive and are stressed about it. Some points actually cause changes within the cells. Some effect alterations in the brain’s chemicals; others can effect chemical changes within the uterine lining. Some improve circulation, and others have mainly local effects.
Points work via feedback. The body is a system of reactions and feedback: something happens with a nerve, which causes something to happen in the brain, which signals neurochemical changes, hormone level changes, or a million other responses. It is like a chain reaction – for example, when you stimulate a specific acupuncture point, it invigorate the blood, sending the whole body a message specific to that point and producing blood-thinning chemical reactions. When you stimulate different combinations of points, you can create even greater results and see those results more quickly. But each specific point, as well as each meridian, has a different function, and the art is in orchestrating a combination that achieves the desired effect.
(Randine Lewis, Ph.D., The Infertility Cure, chapter 7, page 102-103, published in January 2004)
Would you like to learn more about the history of acupuncture – click here !
How Does Acupuncture Integrate with IVF?
Research has shown tremendous benefit in using Acupuncture to increase the success rates of IVF. The research began with a German study in April, 2002 that was published in Fertility & Sterility, a well respected infertility journal, that included over 160 women undergoing IVF. The study showed conclusively that the use of Acupuncture with IVF had a significantly higher success rate (42.5% success rate) than a normal transfer without acupuncture (26.3% success rate). In the year since that study, similar ones have been performed in Denmark, U.S. (Colorado), and China and all have shown not only this approximate 15-20% boost in pregnancy rates, but also that the benefits last all the way through the pregnancy. Other research has shown that leading up to the transfer, Acupuncture produces a greater number of follicles in poor responders, greater blood flow to the uterus, which improves the endometrial lining, and reduced stress and tension. Put all of these benefits together and Acupuncture can change a long shot procedure into a likely success. It means more hope, fewer cycles, and a shorter wait for what you most desire. All forms of ART are physically and emotionally draining. Acupuncture is not magic, but with Acupuncture, your odds of success will go up greatly.
The following is the sample of questions I will ask you on the first visit whether you are planning to get pregnant naturally or through IUI / IVF:
Jane Lyttleton’s Approach
Jane Lyttleton is renowned, inspirational, and very well known fertility acupuncturist practicing in Australia. I will list her approach as follows:
- Preparing To Conceive
- Improve Egg Quality
- Stress Management
- Immune Factor
- Healthy Diet
- Weight Loss
- Sleep Quality
- Your Embryo Transfer
- Male Factor Infertility
- Improve Sperm Count
Acupuncture & IVF Research and Articles (and more on fertility resources page)
- Acupuncture: A Cure for Infertility?– FOXNews.com
- Acupuncture Treatment for women over 40
- WebMD article about acupuncture & IVF
- Acupuncture may Improve Success Rate of Test – Tube Pregnancies – acupuncturetoday.com
- Acupuncture ‘increases IVF success‘ -Chinesemedicinenews.com
- Acupuncture And Success Of IVF– Medicalnewstoday.com
- Acupuncture and IVF– IVF1.com
- Acupuncture improves the success rate of IVF treatment
- Study: Acupuncture improves IVF Success
- Acupuncture might help you by acupuncture’s anti-inflammatory / immunosuppressive action
- Research Articles – American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine– Acupuncture to treat infertility
- The influence of acupuncture treatments on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy
- Ground-breaking Infertility Study Confirms Laser Acupuncture Improves IVF Pregnancy Rates