“Acupuncture helps reduce stress, imparting greater emotional balance and well-being during this challenging time to help improve your chances. Lower perceived stress at the time of embryo transfer may play a role in an improved pregnancy rate.”
At Breathe Acupuncture we work with a broad range of women & couples at various stages on their fertility journey. We endeavour to provide professional and evidence-based support based on the best of our clinical experience. Please feel free to contact us with any queries not satisfied below.
One of the earlier prominent pieces of IVF acupuncture research was by Wolfgang Paulus (et al) in 2002. The results show that clinical pregnancies were documented n 34 out of 80 patients in the acupuncture group, whereas the pregnancy rate was only 21 out of 80 patients in the control group. The protocols used in this research are still very much in common use today.
Although earlier systematic reviews found that evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture used to support IVF or other assisted reproductive technology was considered “unclear” by scientific community, a more recent systematic review by Qian et al found that “Based on an analysis of the studies, acupuncture improves the CPR (clinical pregnancy rate) among women undergoing IVF”.
Another piece of research in 2015 came to the (rather clumsily worded) conclusion that “(our) study showed that acupuncture did not significantly improve the IVF clinical pregnancy rate when performed only at the time of ET (embryo transfer), while (we) found pooled benefit of acupuncture for IVF when performed at follicle phase and 25 min before and after ET, as well as 30 min after ET and implantation phase.”
Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) may be interested in this piece of research which concludes: “Acupuncture may increase the CPR (clinical pregnancy rate) and OPR (ongoing pregnancy rate) and decrease the risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation) in women with PCOS undergoing IVF or ICSI.”
How Can Acupuncture Help You?
Acupuncture can help to support you through the various stages of your IVF Cycle, along side the care you may also be receiving from your Fertility Specialist/Gynecologist/GP/prescribed medication.
Prior to Starting Your IVF Cycle
Some women choose to work with us prior to beginning an IVF cycle. These treatments are often aimed at regulating the menstrual cycle. Chinese medicine gynecologists have taught us throughout history (and still do today) that a regular non-problematic 28 day menstrual cycle with a regular mid-cycle ovulation indicates hormonal balance and a greater chance of healthy ovarian function.
Depending upon your individual circumstances, routinely we might address issues such as period pain, issues such as pain associated with Endometriosis and irregular ovulation. We might assist tweaking your diet and supporting your digestive system, fundamental to overall energy and health. Acupuncture has a well deserved reputation for reducing stress & symptoms of anxiety, stress considered to be a potential factor among couples who have failed to conceive.
Although of course we are unable to magically transform older eggs into younger ones and we must work within the confines of your DNA. But we aim to do what we can to improve the environment surrounding your ovaries and eggs and also their internal environment by helping to enhance mitochondrial activity and ATP production at a cellular level. We may prescribe herbal formulas to this end. These herbs have also been shown to strengthen antioxidant defenses at the cellular level.
During the Stimulation Phase
We often administer acupuncture once or twice a week throughout this phase. Research indicates a pooled benefit of acupuncture for IVF when performed during follicle (stimulation) phase, before & after embryo transfer, as well as during the implantation phase.
On the Day of Embryo Transfer
Again, as above – some research indicates a pooled benefit of acupuncture for IVF when performed not just on embryo transfer (ET) day but during follicle (stimulation) phase, as well as before & after ET, and also during the implantation phase.
Over the years numerous trials have shown increased clinical pregnancy rates when some groupings of women received acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer. Other and more recent trials have come to different conclusions. (references below). We notice many women like to receive acupuncture on the day of their embryo transfer knowing how it helps to calm and centre them.
If you feel you would like to receive acupuncture on this day, we recommend scheduling your ET (& FET) day acupuncture at a time when you know you have ample time to reach us and park without getting stressed.
Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates . Youran D et al Fertil Steril 2008 Vol. 90, Suppl 1, pg S240
Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial . Westergaard L et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1341-1346
Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy . Paulus W et al, Fertil Steril 2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724
The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome. Domar A et al Fertil Steril 2009 Vol 91 Issue 3 pg 723-6
A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF . Quintero R et al, Fertil Steril 2004 Vol 81 Suppl 3, pg S11-12
Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure? Magarelli P,Cridennda D, Fertil Steril,2004;81 Suppl 3 S20
Impact of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization cycles: A prospective single blind randomized study . Benson M. R. et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 86, Issue 3, pg S135
Treatment After Egg Collection
Acupuncture During “The Wait” After Transfer
Once again, acupuncture during this period helps keep you on an even keel – stress down, energy up!
Other Acupuncture/IVF Related Research Which May Interest You
Influence of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation when embryo implantation has failed: a prospective randomised controlled clinical trial . di Villahermosa DIM, dos Santos LG, Nogueira MB, et al
Effect of acupuncture on assisted reproduction treatment outcomes Acupuncture in Medicine . Madaschi C, Braga DPAF, Figueira RDCS, et al
The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Cui Hong Zheng, Ming Min Zhang, Guang Ying Huang, and Wei Wang
The Role Of Acupuncture In Patients At Unfavourable Reproductive Prognosis In IVF: A Prospective Randomised Study. M. Arnoldi; D. Diaferia; M.G. Corbucci; L. De Lauretis
Au, D. W., Tsang, H. W., Ling, P. P., Leung, C. H., Ip, P. K., & Cheung, W. M. (2015). Effects of acupressure on anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med, 33(5), 353-359. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010720
Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S. M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C., & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 31, 31-37. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008
Bazzan, A. J., Zabrecky, G., Monti, D. A., & Newberg, A. B. (2014). Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Rev Neurother, 14(4), 411-423. doi:10.1586/14737175.2014.892420
Fleckenstein, J., Kruger, P., & Ittner, K. P. (2018). Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT. PLoS One, 13(8), e0202659. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202659
Goyata, S. L., Avelino, C. C., Santos, S. V., Souza Junior, D. I., Gurgel, M. D., & Terra, F. S. (2016). Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm, 69(3), 602-609. doi:10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i
Kwon, C. Y., & Lee, B. (2018). Acupuncture or Acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for Anxiety: A Preliminary Review. Med Acupunct, 30(2), 73-79. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1268
Smith, C. A., de Lacey, S., Chapman, M., Ratcliffe, J., Norman, R. J., Johnson, N. P., & Fahey, P. (2018). The effects of acupuncture on the secondary outcomes of anxiety, and quality of life for women undergoing IVF: a randomised controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. doi:10.1111/aogs.13528
Smith, C. A., Shewamene, Z., Galbally, M., Schmied, V., & Dahlen, H. (2018). The effect of complementary medicines and therapies on maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord, 245, 428-439. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.054
DYSMENORRHEA (Period Pain)
Abaraogu, U. O., & Tabansi-Ochuogu, C. S. (2015). As Acupressure Decreases Pain, Acupuncture May Improve Some Aspects of Quality of Life for Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 8(5), 220-228.
Smith CA, Armour M, Zhu X, Li X, Lu ZY, Song J. Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007854.
Xu, T., Hui, L., Juan, Y. L., Min, S. G., & Hua, W. T. (2014). Effects of moxibustion or acupoint therapy for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a meta-analysis. Altern Ther Health Med, 20(4), 33-42.
Benson M. R. et al, Impact of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization cycles: A prospective single blind randomized study. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 86, Issue 3, pg S135
Cui Hong Zheng, Ming Min Zhang, Guang Ying Huang, and Wei Wang. The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012, Article ID 543924, 15 pages
Domar A et al. The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertil Steril 2009 Vol 91 Issue 3 pg 723-6
Magarelli P,Cridennda D. Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure? Fertil Steril,2004;81 Suppl 3 S20
Moy I et al Fertil Steril 2011 Vol 95 pg 583-587
Paulus W et al. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertil Steril 2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724
Quintero R et al, A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF. Fertil Steril 2004 Vol 81 Suppl 3, pg S11-12
Smith C et al. Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1352-1358
Westergaard L et al. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1341-1346
Youran D et al. Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates. Fertil Steril 2008 Vol. 90, Suppl 1, pg S240
Zhang R et al, ACUPUNCTURE AND EMBRYO TRANSFER; Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study. Fertil Steril 2011, 96, 4 Pg 912-916
See also Natural Fertility Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine
“Pioneer” Introductory Package
Curious to try out some acupuncture and cost-effectively? Our “Pioneer” Introductory Package is currently available. You get an initial consultation & two follow ups treatments for $207 (a saving of $38). And if you’re in a health fund with ‘Extras’ cover you can claim back more of this cost on top of the savings as well.
VisitHealing Room, 199 Deep Creek Rd,
By appointment only
Ngaio Richards on +61 0414 692 901